E-Learning 2.0 and Employee Access to Social Network Sites

September 26, 2008

Peter Kim offers an interesting observation on the way social networking relates to the qualities of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon and the insight offered by Michel Foucault that Bentham’s design served as an exemplar for organizational discipline in the industrial age. Peter notes that Bentham’s design made prisoners uncertain whether the prison guards were watching their behavior at any particular moment. He also points out that the design of modern cube farms in offices not only foster collaboration but also afford observation by managers and peers.

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Social Software, Community, and Organization: Where Practice Meets Process

September 18, 2008

Ross Mayfield of SocialText recently pointed to a longstanding issue involving the relationship of organizational practices and organizational processes. He offered a discussion of distributed collaboration and community, specifically on the question of which organizational stakeholder is the most effective leader of community (internal and external) initiatives. Ross suggests that even though we may see the emergence of a Chief Community Officer to align and coordinate internal and external communities, communities are more likely to arise around organizational processes as 360 degree process communities.

In my view, approaching distributed collaboration from the standpoint of community alone, especially communities internal to the enterprise, is overly restrictive. Collective understanding and collaborative understanding, as Thomas Vander Wahl makes clear, are different parts of what he refers to as the social sofware stack. Without getting overly picky, let me agree with Ross’ point that the development of internal communities in enterprises will most likely occur around the way process owners manage routine work and its exceptions. Nevertheless, the distinction Ross makes, following Mike Gotta, about the difference between processes (how work is supposed to get done) and practices (how work actually gets done) really indicates a need to keep in focus the range of connections and interactions that social software enables.

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Call them Visual Tags (v-Tags), not 2D Barcodes

August 13, 2008

A vTag for Skilful Minds generated with Google Chart API

For those who think discussions of semantic value and meaning are pointless, with no relationship to technology adoption, you may want to skip this post. 

We first discussed visual tags in 2006. Many people today refer to them as 2d barcodes. However, a crucial difference exists between what things are like and what they in fact are. Calling visual tags (v-Tags) 2d barcodes is like calling YouTube a video database, Flickr a photo database, or Del.icio.us a favorites list.  Literally, the description is accurate. Functionally, it is meaningless. Read the rest of this entry »


Mobile Learning and Visual Tags

August 4, 2008
eLearning Guild QR Visual Tag

eLearning Guild QR Visual Tag

We first discussed visual tags a couple of years ago as Web 2.0 technology initially emerged in mobile devices such as cell phones. Referring to two visual tagging techniques available at the time, we noted:

Shotcode and Semacode make mobile information seeking over the web work like scanning a bar code to determine the price of an item. They make offline media interactive. It is pure pull, unless you consider the offline advertising “pushy”. The metadata necessary for accessing relevant information is largely in the context, the embodied situation of the user.

Take a look at the following video for an overview of how visual tagging works, in this example it is for advertising services.

So, how does this relate to mobile learning, or m-Learning as the eLearning Guild refers to the practice? Read the rest of this entry »


Flowgrams: A New Way to Screencast

July 8, 2008

Screencasts are effective ways to share ideas, images, concepts, experiences, and a range of information for a variety of purposes including eLearning, collaborative problem solving, or just fun. I just ran across a new technique for doing screencasts called a Flowgram.  Eric Schonfeld over at TechCrunch describes it as,

…a full-screen player with what appears to be a screencast with a voiceover. Except that you can control the pages by scrolling up and down, watching any videos that might be on the page, or clicking on the live links (which takes you out of the Flowgram to that Website, but if you hit the back button it picks up where it left off). You can also add comments and share the Flowgram via a widget…It’s an interactive screencast, a way to synthesize the Web by pulling different pieces together The voiceover acts as the glue. It can be used for slide shows, travel guides, tutorials, sales pitches, or just to explain something to a friend.

I’ve signed up for the private beta access program so I can build a few Flowgrams of my own to get a better sense of how this tool compares to applications like Captivate or Camtasia. After briefly interacting with several of the Flowgrams available it looks quite promising. I like the ability to scroll pages as well as play videos embedded in pages presented in the Flowgram. I’m not sure why the developers decided to navigate out of the Flowgram when you click on a link that takes you to a page outside the Flowgram, rather than opening a window to view it, but when you click the back arrow the flow of the Flowgram seems to pick back up where you left it. Take a look at Flowgram for an overview.

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E-Learning 2.0 and Learning Management Systems (LMS)

May 19, 2008

Back in the late 1980s, I worked in the telecommunications industry as a methods analyst, a euphemism for a technical communication staff member who primarily analyzes business processes. One of my assignments involved work on the design team for a records management system. The company served a regulated industry with regular audits from both federal and state agencies. It, therefore, needed to make sure it retained all paper records only as long as regulations required, and no longer. In other words, records management was essentially a risk management function. Well, you may ask, how does this relate to e-Learning 2.0 and LMS?

Before getting to that discussion, we need to clarify the terminology used here. The term e-Learning 2.0 refers to implementations of Web 2.0/social networking technologies to complement traditional learning processes managed by the training or human resource functions in organizations. Blogs, wikis, and other social software are useful in nurturing e-Learning communities of practice and enabling knowledge sharing in new ways. The eLearning Guild’s recent 360˚ Report on Learning Management Systems 2008 offers a few unique insights into the relationship between e-Learning 2.0 and LMS. Read the rest of this entry »


Leading the Business-Centered Learning Experience

April 13, 2008

Claire Schooley of Forrester authored a report this month, Learning Director: Are You Ready for your New Role?, that merits attention by everyone interested in how to manage the learning experience in any organization, but especially in corporate organizations selling products and services. Schooley’s major point leverages a key issue in the measurement of the learning experience’s effectiveness in organizations. She contends that the most significant challenge to current learning leadership in organizations is for the learning executive to take a holistic approach to employee training, rather than a course-centric approach. Read the rest of this entry »


Engagement and Curiosity

March 21, 2008

Johnnie Moore offers an interesting insight into the way curiosity and playfulness lead to engagement and learning. The insight comes from a story told by Donald Winnicott on how mothers and babies relate.

He [Winnicott] noticed that if a mother placed a spatula near the child, and waited, it was very likely the child would become curious about this new object and play with it. If, however, the mother tried to get the child to play with the spatula, the child was likely either to reluctantly play along, developing a passive kind of engagement. Alternatively, the child would react against this intrusion and become healthily defensive. …For myself, I’d like to experiment a lot more with the careful placing of spatulas than shoving them in people’s faces and expecting them to play.