Why the words we use matter

I will tell you right now, I’m aggravated.

This morning, I read stuff like this:
“As more learning occurs online….”
“What features of an online learning environment lead to better learning?”

I also read some BS article on “Performance Support” that had me all worked up. (leaving out the link to avoid unnecessary conflict)

At the source of my aggravation lies the industry’s acceptance of the rhetoric and our arrival at a place where our collective wisdom actually feels as though we understand “better learning”. We read those words and at first glance they don’t stand out as anything special and we understand. So let me ask you, do you understand what “better learning” is? What is it? What is “better learning”? And are you cool with the idea that “learning occurs online”? If so, what does that mean?

I argue and I argue about how we use the word “learning” because behind our use of it lies perhaps the thing that kills our profession. Behind our use of the word is the premise that we control “learning” itself. Everytime I talk about this someone will tell me that we control the elements that lead to learning, which I’m sorta ok with, but thats different than controlling learning. When we say “alot of learning occurs online” we’re bridging a gap between content and what an individual does with the content that we have no control over. When we say “better learning” we are controlling “learning” itself as though there was a product called “learning” that we can deliver. Can we? Can we make “learning” better? If so how and what is the measurement that we can all refer to to know if our learning is better?

There are some very smart people who have chimed in on this topic, all of whom I respect, and not everyone agrees with me. This of course is a mistake on their part 😉 When online B2B marketers engage their audience with content, its an experiment, not THE solution. They don’t call their campaigns “buying experiences”. They tend to do things like “A/B Testing” which is a process for seeing what resonates with their target audience more. In other words they separate what it is they do from what it is their target audience does and their language reflects it. When our industry uses the word “learning” it too is a reflection of our mental models which do not separate what we do from what our target audience does.

This affects how we design content. Rather than designing around set behavioural patterns that reflect a desired outcome (Example: Engagement)`, we design ‘learning’. This is a BIG mistake. It shows that we inherently don’t trust our target audience to ‘learn’ themselves so we must somehow build the learning into the content itself. Well, if we worked to design content that “engaged” our audience, they would do the learning themselves. #TRUTH This goes back to my post about ‘meaning’ and making things meaningful for people. Yes we control some of the elements that can help someone learn (never all of them) but we don’t need to make them learn. We need to trust and let people control the learning process for themselves because there is no bizarro world where thats not how learning occurs. There is no ‘online learning’. There is ‘online content’.

Words matter. They reflect thinking. If you believe that you can make ‘better learning’ just stay away from me and my kids and knock yourself out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What Instructional Designers Need to Know About “Funnels”

For the last 3-4 months I have been deeply engaged in learning, researching and playing with web analytics well beyond what I had been doing before. In my book ‘Learning on Demand‘ I address analytics, I have written for ASTD’s T&D Magazine on Analytics and I have blogged about analytics on several occasions. Let me go on record again by saying that instructional designers and those in L&D know far too little about the topic. Even recent discussion threads on the Tin Can Api vs SCORM reveal a shocking lack of depth in our understanding about ‘data models’ and what the new xAPI specification is about. So, in earnest, I want to help by sharing some thoughts on ‘Funnels’ to help those who are interested in the topic of learning analytics start to think a little bit differently. This ties directly into a topic I’ve been discussing lately on Designing for Data.

So what are ‘Funnels’? Funnels are the paths that users travel in navigating through web content. They provide key insights into what ‘experiences’ you provide for your users vs what target experiences you’ve setup. I recently presented at an event and argued that designers ought to stop trying to design solutions and need to start designing experiments. The difference is one presupposes an answer and one sets out a hypothesis against which metrics will help validate that hypothesis. What funnels help web content designers/developers do is to focus on the behaviours expected of a target end user as they interact with a piece of content. Some content is meant to initiate behaviour, other content is meant to engage and steer behaviour in one or more directions and some content is the target behaviour. This of course is a spectrum and content takes the shape and size of what the intent is. A funnel describes the user behaviour as they move and engage with the various pieces of content which hopefully lets a designer/developer know whether the various pieces of content are doing what they set out to do.

As an example, at SlideJar we recently benchmarked some key behaviours we wanted out of our end users that engage with our social content.

funnels

This represents one of the funnels we have set out and which drives our messaging to our end users. It is a visualization of behaviours and the design of our campaigns target these behaviours in addition to the content within our pages that target the behaviour.

If your an instructional designer you are probably hearing lots of banter around the idea of ‘designing experiences’. Well, designing an experience and funnels are pretty well tied at the hip. Funnels are your key to tracking end user experiences and understanding whether your designs are delivering what you intend them to deliver. Funnels are not measurements. You cant measure a funnel. What you can measure are the percentages of end users who engage in your ‘experience’ that walk through the funnels you’ve designed. Its equally important to understand users who do not follow the funnel and what paths they end of travelling other than the ones you’ve anticipated.

How do you setup funnels? Exactly as I did. Diagram them out. Use these models as your basis for all messaging, graphic design and interaction design. Then find yourself someone who can implement tracking code like ‘xAPI’ or Google Analytics and go to town. If you think its too early to adopt the xAPI specification (a theme I’ve read and heard to my disgust) then you should know your actually far too late. L&D professionals have been negligent in steering away from understanding web content strategies and the xAPI has catalyzed some folks into digging their heels in which is great, but understanding the technology can come later. I hope this helps. I intend to write a few more posts talking about some basic concepts of web analytics that L&D professionals can begin to work with.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I have successfully failed many times

I have successfully failed many times.

I’m not one of those people who want to tell you how much you learn in failure. I think success does wonders for the soul (not to be taken in any religious context at all) and I like to think of ‘learning’ as that deep transformative experience that literally makes me think and act differently. Success does that.

Failing to succeed is not the same as succeeding to fail. At least I don’t think so. My latest venture SlideJar has failed to succeed commercially but it has gone through some very successful failures that have changed how I think and act. Let me stop the head scratching. From the beginning SlideJar has been an experiment and remains to this day an experiment. SlideJar began as Anancloud, an app to help people find efficiencies in searching through their archives of PowerPoint presentation. Anancloud to this day is still up and continues to get subscribers. We have never really marketed the application but Anancloud went through intense market testing to find its niche (alot of money was well spent in doing this). The tool itself was crafted around the need.

When we took Anancloud to the event industry, we were no longer addressing a need, we instead devised an experiment. The experiment was, would people find the ability to search conference proceedings at a slide level useful, and would that drive event organizers to pay for their attendees to have that tool? We answered the first part of that equation early on – yes, attendees found it useful and liked it. We also partially answered the second part but before we did that, we created a new experiment. Enter SlideJar.

Instead of event organizers paying for the application, would attendees find value in ‘saving’ content from conferences into a digital space that allowed them to go back and review content, share content and reuse content differently than its initial context. Here is where we successfully failed. The answer is actually ‘no’ or so our experiment would suggest. Folks, the data that we have on this experiment is awesome. Its this success in failing that has taught me so much. Some of the things I’ve learned:

a) In a digital media business, the clients are corporate;

b) ‘Better’ is not enough to change behavior;

c) Design needs to have a laser sharp focus on the business model (this includes graphic design, workflows, etc);

d) Running ‘agile’ is easier said than done;

The most important thing I have learned is that there is no ‘perfect’ solution. You need to operate businesses as experiments and continually succeed in failing. SlideJar continues to be operated in this way with our latest experiment centered around our ability to provide great data around the value of content. To some degree we have already succeeded. As our success continues to grow, I hope to continue running experiments and letting those experiments transform who I am.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Manifesto and Me

Ok…didn’t know I was going to do this, but its happening. I think its happening…

I am a ‘trustee’ on the recent eLearning Manifesto put together by four people I deeply respect, along with a list of other trustees that are in my opinion heavy weight thinkers in the eLearning space. It was nice to be asked to play that role for sure. I am a little surprised though that there aren’t more people weighing in and providing constructive criticism to further the efforts of the originating crew that put the manifesto together. I read and loved Donald Clark‘s criticism which legitimately challenged the notion of the manifesto. I also enjoyed reading some of the author responses to the blog post.

I support whole heartedly the idea that he manifesto creates a new ground floor for eLearning practitioners. It does not provide the ceiling and in no way, from my perspective, provides a visionary outlook. I think the manifesto is a curation of ‘training should be this’ heard at most conferences and lays that out in language most of us understand and most of us resonate with. If the manifesto seems revolutionary, then I suggest you get out a little more. I would also like to think that the guys and gal who put this together do not want the manifesto simply accepted and signed onto, rather I would hope that what they want is for people to challenge and raise the ground floor even higher. As Heidegger lays out in his book ‘What is Called Thinking‘, the greatest thank you we can give for our power to think, is to think about thinking. In this case, the greatest respect we can show the manifesto is to be critical and to challenge it.

In my opinion here is where the Manifesto needs more thought and clarity:

1) What is a ‘learning intervention’? Is it any different than an intervention? Why is there an assumption of learning? Is it because we are in L&D that we can create ‘learning interventions’ but all other mortals simply create interventions where leaning is accidental? We need to stop reinforcing the idea that we can create learning.

2) Provide realistic practice – Yes, good one. Except that in eLearning, realistic practice is only available in binary formats. This usually translates into a realistic scenario followed by a decision tree activity where every answer choice is right or wrong. There is no room for chaos, spectrums and the influence of the outside world. It might be good to reinforce that ‘realistic’ doesn’t have to be electronic and that often decision making is NOT based on a set of preordained choices of which some are right and some are wrong.

3) The use of ‘learning experiences’ – see my comment in #1. If we (the industry) want to be relevant, can’t we just say ‘experiences’? Isn’t learning a natural and unavoidable consequence of authentic experience. You see, the problem most designers have to begin with is the impulse to create ‘learning’. Instructional designers believe in magical powers that they uniquely possess that can transform ‘information’ into ‘learning’. When we use terminology like ‘learning experiences’ we reinforce the myth that we’re controlling the learning. The more we try to do that the less authentic the experience and the less ‘learning’ will likely happen.

4) Performance Support – L&D does not own performance support. We need to stop pretending like we do. Making IT systems more usable is performance support. Changing HR policies is performance support. Proper pay structures for employees is performance support. Its not about us. We need to stop trying to silo stuff. We need to go mainstream.

5) “Measure Learning Comprehension” – and the unit of measurement is? Unless there’s an answer here it cant be done. Language is very important and if we are going to raise the ground floor let’s get people to start being crisp in their use of language. I will never forget a philosophy prof of mine reaming out a student on their use of the words ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’. The student was using those words like anybody else would. In the context of the class however, the precision in how the words were used was critical. I kinda feel like the boat was missed in cases like this.

Overall, I’m happy to have participated as a trustee. I respect the posts I’ve read that have come out and protested the Manifesto mostly on the grounds that people feel like this is something they’ve been practicing and preaching forever and that to have created a ‘manifesto’ around it seems a bit much. I do however know first hand the motivation behind the Manifesto and feel like any attempt to raise the bar in our industry is a good attempt. I would also encourage anyone who has signed on as a signatory to think critically about this and point out where the Manifesto is weak. To blindly sign on and feel good about yourself is of no service to anybody. Dialogue, criticism, agreement, disagreement are all necessary elements in scientific inquiry.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

We’re all experts – Except we have nothing to really show for it

* This post will have nothing to do with Learning on Demand *

I’ve had a hard time writing lately because I’m trying my best to live and let live but the amount and quality of rhetoric floating around in different spaces that I intersect with has gotten to me. I feel safe with the idea, that most of us, have a much easier time being an expert when we don’t actually have to do anything. Things roll off the tongue without obstacle. I read alot of blogs about business strategy, startup strategy, eLearning and a host of other stuff where folks are saying “Do it like this” and “If you do it like this, then your going to fail” and for the most part its all garbage. How do I know its alot of garbage because the world doesn’t ever operate by linear, clear rules of engagement. There is no mix some of A, add B, remove C and voila – you get D. Even the franchise business which works by being able to repeat a formula is subject to the laws of probability.

If you are going to dole out business advice, then you should atleast try starting and/or running your own business (different from being a lone consultant). If your going to be an mLearning expert, you should at least have designed and developed some outstanding products/programs that don’t fall into the norm. If your going to preach about how large organizations need to adapt to a networked environment, you ought to be running a large organization and doing this work. Its ok to research it and talk about results from your research, but don’t get all preachy and make it seem like a no brainer about doing x, y and z. Jack Welch can preach about reorganizing a large organization but if you played the role of consultant in the reorg, back off on the preaching.

I’m starting to see a trend among some of the people I’ve been interacting with who I consider to be extremely successful. I’m defining success here by folks who are in a position of power within their designated field, who have the ability to influence outcomes at the highest level, who are extremely competent at leading and who clearly enjoy what they are doing. I don’t see them preach alot. I don’t see them running a public campaign about best practices. They are generous with their time, available as mentors but well above the veil of expertise so many of us like to create (I included).

I’ve been re-evaluating my own approach to how and what I present out through this blog, my social networks and my in person conduct. I tend to be outspoken which I don’t see changing and I’ve always wrapped my thoughts as ‘opinions’ and not facts but in the world of business and what makes an impact, an expert I am not. My expertise is so localized and even when my craft is done well, I’m not sure it can have the impact we all profess we have. I’ve seen impact. I know what it looks like to a bottom line and I’ve seen people influence it in ways I never have.

In business, ideas are worth nothing! Execution is everything (This is my new mantra. I’m not sure how to execute ironically but I’m trying)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Can conferences and events service industry better? Yes…they can!

I’ve been a speaker at learning technology events for the last eight years or so. I’ve published a book. I’ve chaired a large learning technology event and got my paws on some planning of the event. I feel like I’ve built enough technology, enough online courses and enough creative online experiences that I’m probably an expert in my field (educational technology). I’ve played a role in my field. Someone who doesn’t accept ‘common sense’ or ‘best practice’ as untouchable, I poke people and ideas to stir up arguments that ultimately help spawn new thinking. I know other people with the same credentials who may play different roles but ultimately this group of people travel from industry conference to industry conference and donate their time to the event management to help them draw thousands of people who want and need the knowledge and skills they possess. I do not say ‘donate’ lightly. At the end of the day, many of them speak with no compensation other than the occasional expenses being paid and if lucky, some stipend for conducting workshops and such.

In the US alone, conferences and events provide education to 10x the amount of students enrolled in universities (250 million compared to 25 million). To some degree conferences have borrowed the same ‘educational model’ as universities with the sage on stage approach. In the modern digital age conferences are bolting on social media components to help attendees engage with conference content and help promote the event to non-attendees. The question I’m asking today though is can conferences service the industry in which they are a part better than what they do? I’m not asking if conferences can be better. Everything can get better.

Not sure everyone would agree but I see conferences as a temporary gathering of a hive mind that can help push an industry forward. The objective of a conference in this light shifts from a summary of whats going on, to how can industry participants make things better for themselves.

If conference organizers, meeting planners, event planners set out to evolve the industry they were a part of, rather than showcase it, would the existing conference model remain the same? Would conference monetization schemes stay the same? I look at at hackathons, birds of a feather session and I see communities of people who pay not to attend a conference but people who pay to BE the conference. It bothers the snot out of me when I hear speakers who feel like they own their ideas and would only share their idea if they felt they could somehow make money. You know why you can’t patent an idea? Because there’s no value in an idea, there’s only value in its execution. So conferences need to stop being a showcase (and here I differentiate an ‘expo’ from a conference) and start being a group of people who want to be a part of change.

Imagine the energy level of thousands of people working to make change. Imagine speakers hired to facilitate that change. Imagine vendors participating along with practitioners. Imagine the value they get! Imagine all that bolt on technology focused on pushing an industry forward rather than looking backward! I believe conferences have tremendous ability to move an industry forward. But like any business, they have to begin with this objective and monetize from there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The digital media business model

—-Make Money—–

ok…seriously, as part of my ongoing documentation on things I’m learning on the way to getting SlideJar off the ground, here’s the latest ‘aha’ that is ultimately shaping SlideJar’s ongoing development.

Although the consumer in the digital media business is the individual, the customers are businesses. Weird eh? I’m sure lots of you are telling yourselves “yes…aaand….you didn’t know that”. No, I didn’t ever have that model in my head forged the way it is now. You see businesses on the net need eyeballs. They need to know the types of eyeballs that are looking at their virtual presence to understand if those eyeballs are potential customers to them. When you have a store and someone walks in, they are a potential customer. However, just because someone looked at your website, does not mean they are a customer at all. So a business who markets and advertises on the web needs information on eyeballs.

Enter digital media. Digital media tries to provide the best experience for a demographically situated audience of individual eyeballs so that it can make money off the businesses that want access to its eyeballs. Digital media strives to attract individuals, grow the largest possible network of users it can, but make money off businesses either through advertising opportunities, sponsorships or data.

How is this fundamentally changing what we’re doing with SlideJar? We are working hard at enabling SlideJar to become a powerful content marketing platform where individuals can access content coming from conferences, events and corporations at a level beyond simple presentations so that we can begin to demonstrate trends and interests and sell that information to businesses who want to understand eyeballs.

The idea of content marketing is something that conferences themselves could benefit from understanding more of. Conferences ultimately sell content. People attend a conference because they believe they will be exposed to important if not critical information for their jobs or personal growth. Conferences that can market the trends that potential attendees will be exposed to, and then continually assess how relevant it actually is will do well in picking speakers and activities that will drive revenue.

Thats my aha for the day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SlideJar’s Pivot

As I muck my way through getting SlideJar off the ground, I am learning so much from a handful of seasoned, smart and savvy entrepreneurs that I can honestly say my entire world view has drastically shifted. I can see things that other people don’t in how businesses market themselves and how ‘value’ is created for consumers, things I would never have seen before. In a room the other day at a P2P (peer to peer) meeting of digital media company owners, the leader of the group and a trusted advisor to my own business said that in the world of Digital Businesses idea is 0% of the business and execution is 100%. Why? Because you put a bunch of smart people in a room, give them an hour and they will generate many great ideas of which the gross majority of them will never surface. A business is execution through and through.

And so, as SlideJar continues to grow (our library grew by about 40% in the last three months) and as we take on more network partners we are getting a better understanding of the value we stand to offer. This has led to a really great ‘pivot’ for our business. This pivot came in the wake of raising venture capital which requires a very clear path to monetization. Our technology will essentially remain the same, but the value we will provide will be directed to content marketing. Let me take you through our pitch:

———

It’s a big problem

SEO experts and web content marketing are all pointing to ‘the long tail’ of content strategies as probably the most effective part of contemporary content marketing strategies. As Google continues to push its technology towards prioritizing content that answers questions, and as other search engines follow suit, getting your content in front of your target market is challenging, let alone finding content to feed your strategy. A website with ‘tagged’ content will no longer suffice. Web content marketers are pining after content that will drive their brand and struggling with the costs for running online campaigns. Finding content and feeding the ‘long tail’ of a content marketing strategy will become a priority for most brands.

If finding inexpensive ways of feeding a content marketing strategy wasn’t difficult already, understanding the content people are looking for and the content people find ‘valuable’ is even more difficult. Knowing that someone has visited your site, or looked at a page doesn’t tell you if they found it valuable. The rise of data collection on the web is now one of the primary sources of information used to make critical business decisions.

The long tail of content

Every business captures and communicates corporate information to its internal stakeholders and its clients through PowerPoint. Subject matter experts, consultants, speakers, students all use PowerPoint as a primary vehicle for delivering information. The amount of presentation slides created every day was estimated at about 300 million slides almost 10 years ago. And where PowerPoint is great at delivering content (when used correctly) it has never been a way to manage the distribution of content.

With all that knowledge captured in PowerPoint already created how can companies and individuals repurpose their content to better market themselves?

What’s the opportunity?

Conferences play an important role in helping companies and individuals market the content already found in PowerPoint to a very targeted market. Conferences bring groups of individuals who are part of the same community into one place and then connect the audience with cutting edge knowledge from vendors and experts in the field.  There are 1.8 Million conferences held annually in the US alone with 250 million unique attendees to those conferences. Most of the knowledge within a conference is captured in PowerPoint

The ability to centralize these presentations into a single searchable database is an important first step for finding and sharing this cutting edge knowledge throughout the Internet. In fact SlideShare (sold to LinkedIn for 119Mil) boasts 60 million unique visitors to its site every month.

However, content strategies must begin to account for both users wanting a more efficient way to find EXACTLY what they are looking , account for web search engines moving away from ‘tags’ as a primary vehicle for indexing information and account for better analytics on ‘value’. A single presentation contains many slides and merely bundling a presentation with tags leaves the user to search and scan for relevant content manually and distorts the data on what users are finding valuable.

Our solution is to allow a vast database of centralized slides to be searched within a slide and using key words that deliver results on a slide level not just the presentation level.

SlideJar.com provides access to anyone with an internet enabled device to upload their Presentation files to our database. Our technology automatically parses and indexes the uploaded files on a slide level. The entire database of files can be searched using the search engine on the Web Site.

Our search engine returns links to individual slides that match the search terms within seconds. Individual slides can be viewed, stored in a private collection, mashed together, shared via social media (or email) or downloaded back to any internet enabled device. As part of this process our system generates unique indexable URLs that all feed and generate a brand’s presence on the internet. Where SlideShare has created a single indexable URL for a presentation of 30 slides, our system potentially generates 30 unique URL’s.

———

This excerpt is what our potential funders see (in draft form). What excites me is our ability to really hone in on the parts of your pitch, your slides and tell you what people are finding valuable because we dig in like no other service. My value to you, is going to be helping you find out whats valuable to others. Its kind of like being able to tell you on a page full of text what draws people’s attention.

Building this business and learning about the difference between an idea and the model to drive value from the idea has been an incredible journey. It has taught me that ideas alone offer very little. Every idea needs application. Innovation isn’t a great idea. Innovation is taking an idea to market.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Brain’s Internet of Things

Somehow, someway, the stuff in my head is connected. They seem like they’re momentarily different things but I know they’re all connected. Lets start with my biggest project and the thing that consumes me day in and day out ‘SlideJar‘. SlideJar was borne out of work I did for the Library of Congress who had a vision of allowing professional development people the freedom to assemble their own curriculum at run time through a portal that contained a library of items that could be patched together and bound in PDF or HTML. The nuance here of course is that the ‘machines’ did the heavy production and development work, but the professional development people did the design. You see, people are self directed beings outside of formal work/school environments. Its almost uncanny how the moment we step outside our work environments and our schools we become self directed beings but as soon as we step into work/school we immediately turn into what others expect of us. The Library of Congress work changed the paradigm and gave control to the professional development people to do what they thought would be best. (By the way – the system was being enhanced by then allowing the students of the professional development people to access their materials and rejig them into usable things for themselves). There were ‘approved’ resources but no one said resources had to be strung together any more, people were free to do as they wish.

SlideJar maintains that paradigm but more importantly it maintains the philosophy of how ‘meaning’ gets created….we create meaning for ourselves through our whole being, all the time, regardless but sometimes in concert with what others would like us to see. Conversations are best when they are ‘yes…and’ type conversations, and the ability to find a meaningful slide and group it with another meaningful slide to generate net new meaning for yourself is a ‘yes….and’ conversation. Recently I had a conversation with someone who felt that taking slides out of context from their original presentation doesn’t make sense because the slide is now no longer meaningful in its context. My question was ‘who cares’. Its about me being able to take that slide out of context and make it relevant to my other work and library of meaningful resources to generate a new ‘yes…and’ conversation. (see my other post on ‘meaningfulness’).

Then there is this thing about ‘memory’ and ‘learning’. People in L&D tend to assume they are one and the same. Here’s an interesting article I found that treats those as separate and also talks about ‘meaningfulness’. L&D is so strange. If we’re an industry helping people pass a test, then we know that spaced repetition and working on ‘memory’ is really all we need to think about. If we’re an industry focused on performance, we need only look out to robotics, bionics, technology type industries to see that our impact on performance is negligible. We’re still in the business of replacing a lost arm with a new arm, instead of thinking about how can we occupy this space with a new thing thats better than an arm. If we really want to get into performance then we need to lose the ‘learning’ thing and start thinking about ‘design’. We need to be having very different conversations than ‘words plus pictures’ help people learn. No, they help memory. I’m not denying a relationship btw – but we learn lots of things that we’re never conscious of nor do we have any memory of and to equate memory with learning is to strip the essence of learning out which is that it needs to be meaningful and personal.

Data – There is no learning data! Learning can not be measured. It can be inferred and plotted along probability lines and translated from data, but it can not be measured.

Experiences – There are no learning experiences. There are just experiences. All experiences teach.

Why is this language thing such a big deal to me? Because when we mistake memory for learning, and talk about learning data and talk about learning experiences, we are embedding false assumptions into our thinking and communicating those assumptions to others.

How are these things connected? My current occupation is ‘entrepreneur’ but I am a philosopher at heart. I am a philosopher that worked in the training and development field and as someone trained in ‘blowing smoke up one’s derriere’ I’ve been trying to expose those elements in the global conscience of training and development people that just don’t make sense. As a professional in T&D, I focused on the idea that learning is chaotic, non compartmentalized and that those things I could influence paled in comparison to creating different environments that changed how people worked. In other words its not about building a course. We will always build a course. How that information gets built, how the course comes together, how the course can be used in different contexts, how the environment is infused with information along with courses is something that I could impact through technology and creative design.

How does this end….like this….

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A world of PDFs

Imagine that instead of the modern search engine, there was simply a directory of PDF’s. Imagine you thought the value of that directory of PDF’s that contain the world’s knowledgebase as high as, and equivalent to the Google. (Btw – you don’t right?) Knowing what we know, imagine a Google sales rep going into a company and saying “Listen, we can help with your directory of information” and them coming back and saying “No thanks, we will distribute PDFs instead”.

Imagine…..

Actually, that goes down all the time! Just happened to me today and I cant wrap my head around that thought process. I can’t see how making people scour through hundreds and thousands of pages is equivalent, nay, better than allowing those pages to be searchable in one foul swoop.

As someone who speaks at and attends conferences all the time, I rarely reference entire presentations. And this concern over loss of context that if I take a slide out of its context it will lose its meaning is bullshit. Cause I’m removing it from its context so that I can give it meaning to ME.

Anyways folks, think about it. Think about it when you build courses. Think about it when you build documents. In the digital world the real question is how do I find and connect to this stuff? How do I get value out if it?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on A world of PDFs