A Reflection on Eight Years of Moodling

I’ve been more engaged in corporate e-learning as of late and away from the academic side of e-Learning. But recently I have been exploring options for blended learning activities, more specifically a hybrid mix of instructor-led online programs. It got me going back to one of my previous areas of expertise: Moodle.

I logged into Moodle this morning to finally get acquainted with Moodle 2.0 and I realized my profile has been active for 7 years 345 days. How time flies! My first experience with Moodle was in graduate school, developing a group project in 2003 for a Human Performance Technology course. I remember the awe on everyone’s face when they saw the application. I also recall them not understanding completely when I told them that I had not hand coded the whole site but rather was using an open-source system.

And how Moodle has evolved over the last 8 years. The interface is flexible and robust, the modules and plug-ins are extensive and cover all the bases. The new Moodle 2.0 has integrated many of the strong user generated plug-ins such as the feedback module, which I always found lacked in the standard Moodle installation. And I have only just begun rediscovering it and all the possibilities it offers. Moodle most certainly is a strong argument for community developed systems and how the strength of many practionners advance a concept or a system.

Discover LinkedIn and Discover the Power of your Network

MindTools has written what I consider to be the best summary and short user guide to LinkedIn. Not only does it provides a practical definition of LinkedIn, but also defines useful terms and outlines strategic individual and organizational uses. It also includes an extremely important write up on LinkedIn Netiquette.

My personal experience with LinkedIn dates back to 2004 and I’ve found it to be a great way to stay in touch with professional contacts and follow their professional and career development. Moreover, I have been kept abreast of professional development opportunities in my field (conferences, publications, job opportunities). In addition, it has been a great resource for the promotion of my book.

From an organizational perspective, in the past two years, LinkedIn has been a great support in my current position by enabling me to grow our customer base through the promotion our organization’s services. I’ve been able to attract candidates for our company’s professional development programmes through groups and events. I’ve also been able to locate specialized resources to help us out on projects. Furthermore, I have been approached by other organizations inviting our company to collaborate or bid on projects.

I personally consider it to be an essential tool for talent and opportunity management in organizations today. If you’ve been hesitating to get started, hopefully this tutorial will give you the boost you need.

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This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Online Learning and Development Strategy for Organizational Survival

One of the greatest challenges many of my clients share is convincing their organization’s decision makers and purse holders to invest in Learning and Development, and even more challenging—yes even now in 2011—is the argument for online learning and development.

Bob Lee comes up with some pretty convincing arguments and ties them directly to the bottom line in his latest blog post entitled Learning and the State of Business in 2011. In fact, he explains something that all of us in learning and development have known for a while: an efficient and effective learning and development strategy is necessary for organizational survival.

He first explains how globalization will increase the numbers of remote workers and virtual collaboration in the next decade, which will undeniably impact organizational culture. This directly impacts face-to-face training which is on the decline and audio and Web conferencing which is on the rise. The increase of remote access from just about anywhere is also a huge benefit to online learning.

The bottom line according to Lee is that online learning and development not only reduces the cost but also increases the efficiency and speed at which information is communicated and accessed.

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This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

2011 Resolution Reality Check

As I gleaned my Google Reader for interesting things to report to the Workplace Learning Today readers, I noticed a few predictable patterns in early January posts. I found could classify about 50% of the blog posts I surveyed into 3 categories: the past year in review, predictions for the new year and of course, new year resolutions. The latter category was the one that really caught my attention, as it seems to be the one area where I see many people, myself included, shooting themselves in the foot.

The following are a sampling of the well intentioned personal and professional improvement 2011 resolutions posts that I found:

There are even smart phone apps that claim to help reinforce new year resolutions. But I couldn’t help wonder if making resolutions is such a wise thing to do. So I kept searching.

I came across a post by corporate consultant Stephen Shapiro who discovered in his research that New Year’s Resolutions just don’t work.

According to our study, only 8% of Americans say they always achieve their New Year’s resolutions. The way it seems to work now, setting a New Year’s Resolution is a recipe for defeat.

He goes on to write that people eventually put an end to the misery of trying to keep up the resolution and call the whole thing off. One of the core issues, according to Shapiro’s research, is that when making a resolution, people focus on where they want to be rather than enjoying where they are right now.

We sacrifice today in the hope that a better future will emerge — only to discover that achievement rarely leads to true joy.

Now Shapiro isn’t against self-improvement, but rather provides detailed guidelines for making more sustainable resolutions. The headlines are:

  1. Choose a broad theme rather than specific measurable goal.
  2. Choose an expansive and empowering theme.
  3. Reflect on the previous year.
  4. Develop your theme jointly.
  5. Remind yourself of your theme.
  6. Remain open to new possibilities and to changes in direction at any point in the future.

Personal growth blogger Tina Su echoes this type of resolution in posting how she will approach and envision her 2011 year:

The commitment I will make today is to relinquish an idealistic definition of perfection that has bubbled up empty goals, with only a façade of meaning. I can, then, wholeheartedly make room to embrace true commitments that honestly serve who I am; even in all of its imperfection.

These are truly phenomenal tips for steering resolutions down a more successful path. In addition, I’d add the following bit of advice from Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself.

I guess that I already broke that rule once, stating that one of my resolutions was to blog more.

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Rules and Incentives are not a Substitute for Practical Wisdom

In a recently posted Talk on Ted, Barry Schwartz shares his reflections and finding on the power of virtue, or what Aristotle called practical wisdom, and how it is the key element required for real change and the betterment of our society.

Through poignant examples, he demonstrates how in today’s society, the change agents must work against the current system managed by a script which is tightly controlled by rules and incentives. He also claims that this way of making small, incremental change is not only slow but that it isn’t sustainable in the long run.

Let’s see if some of Schwartz’s wisdom might rub off on all of us in 2011.

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