ePortfolio: Uncovering the Talent in your Organization

I went to beautiful Banff, Alberta to deliver a presentation on ePortfolios at the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) conference’s conversation café.

Presentation Summary

An ePortfolio is an online record of formal and nonformal learning experiences and accomplishments which goes beyond the traditional résumé form. The objective of my presentation is to look at how implementing an ePortfolio development project in an organization can permit HR professionals to have a more holistic and complete picture of the knowledge, skill and abilities of the talent within their organization.

Building the Argument for Changes in Enterprise Learning

Today Jay Cross posted his elevator speech on what he does in his post Enterprise learning:

Most of the businesses and governments live in the last century. They cling to industrial-age beliefs that the world is predictable, management has the answers, and workers are under their control. In the real world, no one has the answers, collective intelligence beats top-down decisions, and management’s task is to inspire people rather than tell them what to do.

Corporations need to replace traditional training, knowledge management, and in-house communications with something more informal, interactive, collaborative, self-service, impromptu, and flexible. Instead of pushing content, they need to be facilitating conversation. I try to help them get there.

So what do you do?

I think when Jay asked “what do you do?” he meant, “how do you define yourself”. I could actually steal Jay’s elevator speech because that it pretty much what I do. Or at least what I’d like to be doing more and more of. But I can’t sell a service that people won’t buy, right? So I’m going to interpret it another way. What I do is try not to get discouraged/feel frustrated by those who cling to the industrial-age beliefs and want me to implement top-down learning systems. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some break-throughs, but I find I face so much resistance.

I know there has been a lot of research on why there is so much resistance to change.

Sometimes I wonder if my argument for change is not solid enough.

Perhaps this might help. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research recently released a report of their research on the use of social media by the Inc 500. I discovered this report via Ross Dawson who writes that “this is one of the first longitudinal studies, showing changes in adoption of social media tools from one year ago”.

In addition, a little over a month ago, Tony Karrer blogged about a Fortune Magazine interview with GE’s CIO who reports that their professional networking site gets 25 million hits per day and is “is becoming sort of a heartbeat of the company”.

There are definitely no lack of arguments for this change.

My concerns are the following:

  • I’ve found I’ve been able to implement change slowly: a little blog here, a little discussion forum there. But is this the most effective way to implement this kind of change?
  • Perhaps eventually they’ll think of a larger scale implementation, but I need to show the results and evaluation is a little trickier in this arena. What are the ways that we can concretely assess success with this type of learning?

I’m curious what kind of arguments and approaches have been successful in helping organizations change. I’d love some feedback.

References:

Dropping the “e” – A Sign of the Times!

My title has recently been changed from Director of eLearning to Director, Blended Learning Strategies. Yesterday I received my new business cards and had the opportunity to hand them out for the first time today. They were well received. Actually, one of the comments was “oh, so you do more then just eLearning then?”, which is exactly the response I was looking for.

I think a few years ago, when there was the second boom of eLearning, it was strategic to have such a title. However, lately I found that it limited me more then anything, and more often then not, I was grouped with the IT people rather then the education, training and performance people. Of course I’m a bit of both, and this new title is more representative.

And perhaps also strategic. Since we can learn just about anywhere, anytime and with a multiplicity of methods, the idea of segregating the “eLearning” for the rest of the learning process is in my opinion quickly becoming outdated. A comprehensive learning strategy will have a blend of various learning solutions.

The Gen Y / Web 2.0 Way of Managing Information – Trend or Efficiency?

T+D Blog posted an entry today entitled There Is Not Much Difference Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y Grads. This slightly misleading title refers to a study which reported that new graduates, regardless of whether they graduated this year or 30 year ago, will make compromises to advance their career and succeed. This was probably in response to reports about Gen Y such as, but not necessarily, CIO.com’s October 2007 articles entitled Management Techniques for Bringing Out the Best in Generation Y and Employers Change Corporate HR Policies to Cater to Generation Y, Survey Finds.

What T+D Blog post does mention the report highlights as a fundamental difference is that:

today’s graduates are more community-oriented than boomers, and are more concerned with ethical behavior of employers and economic security.

Gen Y, Web 2.0 and Communities – a topic that has been in the forefront of my mind for a while now. In September 2006, I delivered a presentation at the Montreal ISPI Chapter conference entitled Designing eLearning Environments for Learning Organizations where I specifically addressed how the Gen Y, alternately referred to as “the Millennials”), have already incorporated social media technologies into their everyday lives and how forward-thinking learning organizations could leverage these spaces to get the communication flowing throughout the entire organization.

After watching this mash-up video on Informal learning & web 2.0 featuring Jay Cross, Donald Clark and Nigel Paine, I’m inclined to think that this wouldn’t be simply a trend brought forward by Gen Y, but rather technology catching up with the optimal and efficient way for professionals/adults to learn.

References:

Designing eLearning Environments for Learning Organizations

My presentation at ISPI-Montreal’s 2006 Conference discussed A Systemic Approach to Designing Fluid eLearning Environments for Learning Organisations.

Presentation Summary

In a learning organization, a shared vision is built by linking individual and organizational performance objectives. The design of this organization’s eLearning environment must reflect this vision, empowering individuals, cultivating communities of practice and encouraging a holistic performance improvement perspective.

This presentation focuses on strategies for designing participative and collaborative eLearning environments. You will identify ways of assessing and implementing a new generation of eLearning tools that have the potential to keep learners curious, engaged, communicating and sharing, ultimately fulfilling a learning organization’s objectives.

At the end of this session, participants should be able to:

  • Recognize the principle requirements when designing eLearning environments for learning organizations;
  • Identify techniques and tools for designing networks that offer both collaborative and self-directed learning;
  • Describe the new generation of eLearning technologies, potential uses, strengths and weaknesses;
  • Select strategies for developing and implementing participative eLearning environments, and
  • Define criteria for success and growth.

Virtual Communities of Practice: Enabling Peer-based Distance Learning

I presented on the subject of Virtual Communities of Practice: Enabling Peer-based Distance Learning at the Canadian Association for Distance Education (CADE) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Presentation Summary

Virtual communities of practice are environments in which individuals with similar interests can learn from one another at a distance. Learners in this case are not limited to their local peers but are able to interact and learn from those who have similar experiences elsewhere. This type of virtual community requires design and planning in order to ensure that communication flows between its participants.

Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002) define a community of practice as “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis”.