A How to Guide on the Principles of the #elearningmanifesto: 3. Tie Learning to Performance Goals

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“We will couple the skills we are developing to the goals of organizations, individuals, or both.”

This principle is an important requirement when building eLearning courses.  If learning doesn’t support  the goals of the organization, what is its value  from a business perspective? Now the question is how to do it?

Get integrated into the business
In the first two posts I wrote about the importance learning integrating with  the business and day-to-day business processes, which is the best way to live up to this principle. In the short term,  I  imagine  this goal is beyond your reach. However,  this should  be your main goal for the next few years. To help you in achieving this, I’ll recommend again reading Tara Elkeles’ book: The Chief Learning Officer: Driving Value within a Changing Organization through Learning and Development.

How to connect to the business: Cathy More – Action Mapping
One way to  connect learning to business goals, is to familiarize yourself with Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping. Basically there are four steps in her approach, see her presentation and blog.


The four steps are:

  1. Identify the business goal
  2. Identify what people need to do (instead of need to know), translate them into actions
  3. Design a (real world) activity for each action that help people practice each behavior
  4. Identify what people really (really?) need to know, add that information

I really like this approach. It connects learning to business goals and it helps create eLearning based on real situations. It puts the learning experience before the knowledge transfer.

The third principle also talks about connecting learning to learners’ performance goals. I think this can be accomplished with learning objectives. If you combine action mapping with learning objective development, the following steps guide your development

  1. Identify business goals
    Identify the business goals and determine what needs to change ( behaviorally) in order to reach them.
  2. Create learning objectives based on identified business goals (in terms of what people need to do)
    First, you need to complete a baseline needs assessment to determine the gap between what people are required and expected to do (that is, identify individual performance expectations) and what they actually can do. This will help determine the types of learning interventions and activities to include in the eLearning course. Then, based on the business goals and gap analysis, you can define the learning objectives. They will describe what people need to be able to do (differently) in order to achieve business goals by successfully meeting personal performance goals.
  3. Translate the learning objectives into activities
    A specific learning experience typically d has targeted learning objectives, and translating them into activities can be challenging. What will help you to develop these, is to understand the needs of the business. Also, working with subject matter experts who are embedded in the business process will help you in creating realistic situations.
  4. Define learning activities around these activities
    You have to come up with learning activities (or interventions) that will help the learner to reach his objectives. Please note it says ‘Learning activities’ so it can be any form of learning (including eLearning).
  5. Measure progress based on questions; ; keep the knowledge to a minimum
    Come up with questions or an assessment that will measure the learners progress. Only add the knowledge (information)  the learner really needs!
    It is important learning objectives are visible to the learner in an eLearning course.
  6. Report on the learning objectives.
    If your LMS is not capable to report on the learning objectives, check out TinCan it can do that and much more!
  7. Evaluate the learning objectives in relation to the business goals
    It is time to evaluate and come up with improvement for the next round. It is crucial that you are able to do this with the people from the business side that are responsible for achieving the business goals.

It is obvious the quality of learning objectives will determine the quality of your learning. If you need some tips on the basics of how to create learning objectives, you can read an article  I recently wrote.

How to convince your boss/client
As we discussed in the previous post on the first two principles, the first step is to start the conversation. I’m confident the business side or your client will be very interested in this conversation, because ultimately this is what it is all about for them.

Jay Cross and the internet time alliance
Jay Cross, is one of the oldest and most respected thought leaders in our industry, who is credited with being the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. Now however, he has completely moved away from the term, using instead “Working smarter’. He does this together with a formidable group called the Internet Time alliance: Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings and again Clark Quinn. They have published ‘The working Smarter fieldbook’ in 2009 It covers Working smarter, Informal learning, social learning, a whole bunch of consequences for instructional design and examples. But in this context most relevant is the chapter on “The business case”. It covers over 50 pages, so it is hard to make a resume you should read the book, although it is mostly about informal learning there are enough lessons to be learned for all of us.

See the overview article for other published posts of this series.

A How to Guide on the Principles of the #elearningmanifesto: # 2 Do Not Assume that eLearning is the Answer

150x150xSerious-eLearning-Signatory-line5-150x150.png.pagespeed.ic.DXeP5kemTe (1)This is the second post in the series of 22, that will form a how to guide to the principles of the eLearning manifesto. This is about Principle #2: “Do not assume eLearning is the Answer”. The principle sounds simple; however I think it needs additional groundwork to be able to give an appropriate answer. In order to make it more constructive I want to turn it around and change it into: “Only apply eLearning when it is the most effective option”.

First: What are we talking about? Is e-Learning a formal course or is everything you learn digitally eLearning? Wikipedia says: “E-learning is the use of electronic media and information and communication technologies.” This is much more than a course. In this definition eLearning can be either formal or informal. In this post I want to provide some rules of when to apply a formal course, when to apply a different form of eLearning or even when to apply something other than elearning. In order to do this we need a better understanding of the context and the type of learning you want to apply.

General indications
When you surf the internet you will find some indications when to use eLearning (mostly directed at a formal course):

  • When there is a significant amount of learning to do.
  • When self-study is an option; this requires motivated learners!
  • When there are many participants
  • When the participants are geographical dispersed
  • When the infrastructure is in place (connectivity)
  • When it needs to be more than a onetime event with additional learning opportunities available over time (a hit and run approach with one formal training and no follow up is something you shouldn’t do at all. It is not effective as you will read further on.)
  • When it is cost effective
  • And many more….

The challenge with these kind of rules is that they are very general (and there are so many), that they are quite hard to apply if they are only help you have.

In response to my first post Clark Quinn commented the following:

“Many courses are built when it’s not the best solution. I’d recommend looking at performance consulting, where you only create learning when it’s a skill gap: a knowledge gap suggests performance support, lack of motivation might mean a change of incentives or culture, etc. Courses, done well and right, are kinda expensive, so they should be reserved for when it’s the needed solution, not as the only tool in our toolbox!”

I want to explore this a bit further and will try to put some context around it. Specifically, let’s explore how we learn, and how we transfer what we learn to on-the-job performance. This will help us to recognize when learning is needed versus performance support as Clark Quinn identified. After that we can determine which forms of learning can be used in specific situations.

Different phases and learning needs
We need a model to capture (some of) the context. I like the model of Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson:


Their model has the following dimensions:

  1. Time to competency with the phases:
    1. Train
    2. Transfer
    3. Sustain
  2. Three types of learning:
    1. Concept & mastery
    2. On the job competence
    3. Innovation and continuous improvements

In this phase you acquire a completely new skill or knowledge. It is the phase where formal learning occurs most often. Alternatives are self-study, or an apprenticeship. But in the world of 70:20:10 (70%-learning by experience, 20%-from others and 10%-formal learning), this falls into the 10% of formal learning category.

If you choose a form of formal learning you have the choice between classroom / instructor led training (ILT) or an eLearning program. You can apply the general indications from above to help you make the decision. Please note that you still have to apply the other 20 principles of the manifesto  to create effective eLearning.

The transfer phase makes the connection between the initial learning and being completely competent. It is the phase where you need repetition of the knowledge you have gained and practice (also repetition) to apply it and further develop your skills. Will Thalheimer (one of the initiators of the manifesto) did a lot of research in this field. To learn more, check out his website Will at work.

The green dropping line in the image represents the ‘forgetting curve’. If you don’t use or repeat the things you have learned, you will forget 80% of it in no time. This means we need to identify mediums and deliveries that will bring what is learned to the top of the mind of the learner again, in order to reach the blue curve of full competency. A complete formal course is not an option here, however you can create a number of eLearning interventions that are effective in this phase:

  • Learning nuggets, small learning pieces that are pushed to the learner with repetition of what is learned. It should do more than repeat the content of the formal course; it should focus on application.
  • Repetitive questions.There are tools that push questions with regular intervals to the learner, via email or an app. By answering questions on the topic covered in the course retention will improve a lot.
  • Small games and quizzes. There are many creative interventions that you can create, such as, a competition, a game, quizzes, or meetings on the topic.

In this phase, eLearning can play a huge role in activating the long term memory. Don’t use formal courses, but small attractive interactions.

When you have acquired competency you are able to apply it in your work, but that is not the end. The goal is to maintain your competency and to adapt to innovation as you begin the phase of ‘continuous improvement’. The world is changing so rapidly that you have to constantly acquire new knowledge and skills. As an example: think of all the skills and knowledge you had to learn to be competent on your smartphone or tablet in order use them effectively in your work.

Workplace learning
Is there room for eLearning in this phase? Let’s investigate. Bob and Conrad are there (again) to help us on our way. They teach us that there are 5 moments of learning needs in this phase:

  1.  When you need to learn something new
  2. When you need to know more
  3. When things change
  4. And when you have to solve something
  5. And last but not least, when you have to apply all this

This is interesting and very true. These are learning moments, but the question for this post is are they also eLearning moments?

Clark Quinn
Clark Quinn (another of the initiators of the manifesto) has a model that I tried to capture in the mind map below. He also look at the moments of learning need. The model he created “looks at learning as part of a larger picture of meeting information needs in the process of people accomplishing goals” (read the complete article here).


This model shows that when you are working you will have a learning need whenever there is a breakdown. You need information to analyze it, then you have to fix it and you have to reflect on it, in order to prevent it from happening again. It is only during the “breakdown” that Quinn mentions courses as one of the potential solutions. His breakdown matches with 3 of the 5 moments of learning need: New, More and Change. The remaining moments, Solve and Apply are in the Repair phase. Based on this I conclude that courses are only applicable when people need to learn something New, something more or something that has Changed.

eLearning in the Sustain phase
You can consider a formal course in this phase only when ‘new’, ‘more’ or ‘change’ applies. Don’t forget to check the general indications to see if an eLearning course or another solution would be your best option.

Some other potential elearning or eperformance interventions are:

  • Social knowledge sharing via tools such as Twitter or Yammer. You can ask questions to other people or just colleagues (in the case of Yammer) with a solution for your breakdown.
  • Online help – Some online help systems give you more than just information on how to use the software, but also procedural information and more to help you get on your way.
  • Frequently Asked Questions – Collect questions and answers (for example via Yammer) and publish them in a searchable list.
  • How to guides – Simple instructions on the steps to take when you need to solve a problem.
  • You tube video’s. If you have a breakdown that is not specific to your company you will have a good chance to find an instruction video on YouTube.
  • Search the web and find a solution.
  • Curated content – Use a filter on a web search to identify a specialist, or bunch of selected materials and links (like this post) that can help you out.
  • Ask a colleague (for the learning department this can be a strategy). Train a limited number of experts and have them help their colleagues.
  • ……..

The list is endless. Be creative and come up with more. There are some simple rules to consider here:

  • It is about the work, so the intervention should be fast so it will have the least disruptive effect on the work.
  • Make it simple.
  • Make it context aware. Location, working in a particular screen of an application, working on a specific task, if you are able to determine the context, you can help in a more effective way.

So where does this bring us?
Formal courses can be applied when you have to bridge a skill or knowledge gap in the Train Phase and the Sustain phase.

  1. In all other cases you have to turn to other forms of eLearning or eperformance.

How to convince your boss/client
I hope this post will help you start a discussion with your boss/client on what kind of learning intervention is most effective (if any is needed –see post one)-.

Now you’ll more background when you are asked to create an eLearning solution for a problem that shouldn’t be fixed with (formal) eLearning (a course). I have one simple tip, as a manager myself. Managers don’t like it when they are told a proposed solution won’t work. Because he will lose a solution and gain a problem. As we know, getting rid of problems is a manager’s job and they love solutions. So instead of arguing against the proposed solution, come up with an alternative (or more) and explain why this is more effective. Works like a charm!

This is the end of post 2, only 20 more to go. Please send me your ideas, suggestions, tips, theories or solutions on this topic and the other 21. If I receive this input before I write a post, I will include it (when I think it adds value). When I receive input on one of the already published principles, I will add it to the post and update it.

See the overview article for other published posts of this series.



Why I love mindmapping in MindNode

I love to mind map It is such an easy way to organize your ideas, but I use it for much more. If I take notes in a meeting, a conversation, a discussion, a presentation, a conference session, I will do that in the form of a mind map. Tony Buzan claims to have invented them. But I’m afraid that his program iMindMap is not the best software around, that title goes to MindNode. I know it because in the past period I have tried lots of them. I used to use MindNode on my Ipad (1) and was very happy with both my Ipad and MindNode. But IOS6 came out (september 2012) and I wasn’t able to upgrade to it with my Ipad. I really hate that. One day when yet an other app would not run anymore I had had  it, and I switched to Android. But MindNode is only available on Iphone, Ipad and Macs, so I started trying out all the alternatives (Paid and free). None of them came close to MindNode.


After a few month I switched back to the Ipad (air), I will explain why some other time in an other post. The first app that I installed on my new Ipad was MindNode, and I fell in love with it all over again, here is why:

  • It has a very intuitive interface. Everything works the way you think it should work.
  • The mind maps it produces look very simple, but are very clear (and that is what you need)
  • Sharing is easy. I can mail them, save them in Dropbox, save them as an image or as a mind-map (mm) file, that I can use in other programs. Perfect.
  • It is the only Mindmapping app I know that works so simple that I can use it on my tablet to make real-time mind maps. I mean capturing a presentation or conversation on the go.

The latest version has some improvements that take away most of the critical points I had. I only have two wishes left:

  • Change the title. The central text will be automatically the title of the mind map, which is fine. But when you change that text, the title doesn’t change with it.
  • It has a smart Lay-out feature, that works fine, except it doesn’t use the bottom and top of the mind map. All nodes are placed on the left or right. I don’t like that.

These are the only two things I can come up with. The cool thing is that MindNode is build by a 1 person company, Markus Müller-Simhofer is the company. I read that he recently hired his first employee. On his website he says his goal is ‘designing intuitive and consumer friendly software’. Well he did. As a software vendor and product owner I know how difficult it is to built really good software, so my compliments to Markus. Anyway, if you want to mind map on a Apple device, there is in my mind no other option than MindNode.

The how to guide on the principles of the #elearningmanifesto: 1 Do Not Assume that Learning is the Solution

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This first principle might be the easiest and most difficult of all 22 principles. Before planning or developing any training or learning solution, you must first ask yourself – what is the issue and what do we have to fix? If learning or training is able to fix the issue then that’s the right solution, but it isn’t always. That’s because learning is not the goal, performance improvement is. So only when learning is the best way to reach that goal, should it be considered.

How to: “not assume that learning is the solution”
Here are a few examples to consider: I worked in the online help industry (EPSS) for many years. What I found however, was that I was creating fixes for bad software when I thought  the solution was ‘better software’ instead of more online help. There is a similar problem with learning.

Michael Allen sent me the following similar example: “Years ago I worked on a major project with American Airlines. Their flight reservation system used the most ridiculous, arcane interface. Instead of all the thousands and thousands of training hours necessary for agents to be able to use the system, I thought they could spend far less by just redesigning the system they were all learning to combat. It would have saved them so much not only in training costs but also in all the errors that had to be rectified and in the time necessary to process each transaction. Easy concept. Hard to make happen.”

When there is something wrong with the organization or product: learning is not the solution; improving the organization or product is. So, when your learning intervention is covering something that needs improvement, look at those improvements first and ask yourself if learning is the best solution or if it needs something else such as:  performance support, coaching,  a knowledge management system,  social sharing, or  an apprenticeship program – these are all possibilities if  learning is not the answer.

How to convince your boss/client
The challenge of convincing someone to do something or to recognize what may seem obvious to you is always difficult. So, convincing your boss or client to adept the 22 principles of the manifesto may be the most difficult part of it. Additionally, learning departments are often staff organizations that are not included on the front-end of decisions like this. Usually, something trickles down from the business or C-level in the form of an assignment. There is no room for discussion whether or not learning is the solution or even to have clarity on which business problem needs to be solved.

If we lived in an ideal world, learning would be integrated in the business, working side-by-side with other colleagues to solve business problems and improve performance. But most of us don’t live in an ideal world. That’s why those of us who are in learning departments need to make suggestions and ask questions about how learning can work side-by-side with the business. Such suggestions could result in a culture shift, where the organization begins to recognize the value of learning and makes changes to integrate learning into daily business decisions.

Don’t wait until the organization changes you: change the organization
If you are not in a position to make or influence these kinds of business decisions, show your boss and management that you should be. Sit down with your team and invite others from the business to review business goals and identify ways to reach them. The objective is improved staff performance in order to meet company goals.  You understand this and know the steps and process to reach it. Here is an example from easygenerator.

Easygenerator recently launched a new web-based application. Many individuals checked out the tool and started to build a course. However, many of these new users don’t end up where they should — with a published course. So easygenerator established a clear business goal — at least 75% of all new easygenerator users who sign up for the tool should publish at least one course in the first two weeks of sign up. To define what to do, we use a method called “impact mapping”. You define a goal and focus on a specific type of person – in this case – “A New User”. With this identification you determine the activities they need to do, and create improvements and measures to support this goal.  I created a mind map of this impact map:

Mind Map

As you can see, this map outlines potential reasons or roadblocks as to why a new user may start to build a course but not complete it. As a result of this mapping, easygenerator identified what improvements need to be made to support new users. What’s most interesting is that we have a few user performance solutions (add tips, add examples) and two learning interventions (add an introduction video, add a course on writing learning objectives) but the other improvements aren’t around learning needs (I count performance support as learning).

This exercise demonstrates the value in brainstorming with a broader perspective. It will help you to see other improvements that may be more effective than learning. If you present similar outcomes to your management, they will (or should) be interested to listen to your ideas. This will give you an opportunity to make changes and integrate learning into the business. If they’re not interested, try again, if that don’t work try to replace the C-level or start looking for a new job.

When you are working for external clients, you can follow the same approach.  Sit down and talk about the business goals they want to achieve and show them the value of learning in reaching those goals, putting learning in a broader perspective. You may end up developing fewer courses for them, but you may gain a role as a partner and a consultant.

 So, one down and 21 to go! See the overview article for other published posts of this guide.


Learning objectives and how to create them

When you want to create a really bad learning experience, this is the way to do it:

  1. Don’t think about your learners
  2. Dump a body of information in a course as if it was a PowerPoint
  3. Add a few images (has to look good)
  4. Add a few questions (for scoring)
  5. Upload it into your LMS

Everybody knows (or should know) that learning development starts with defining clear learning objectives. In the new web edition of easygenerator you can’t create any content or questions without creating a learning objective first. The idea is that we help people in this way to create better courses. Easygenerator is the only e-Learning authoring software that works this way. However there is a catch: If you create bad learning objectives, you will get equally bad courses. To solve this problem, easygenerator is developing an eLearning course that will instruct you on how to create great learning objectives. Additionally, easygenerator will build a tool within easygenerator that will support authors to develop proper learning objectives. But as a start I will write a series of post covering the foundation of instructional design. First step is of course Learning objectives and Blooms taxonomy.

Because this is of wider interest than the readers of this blog (or the easygenerator blog) I decided to publish the article in the eLearningindustry.com. Click on the image below to read the complete article.

Objectives post

Help me build a how-to-guide for the #elearningmanifesto principles

150x150xSerious-eLearning-Signatory-line5-150x150.png.pagespeed.ic.DXeP5kemTe (1)Four of our renounced thought leaders (Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn and Will Thalheimer) launched the serious eLearning manifesto at March 13. They believe that we should do a better job with eLearning and that we should create learning experiences that are effective, that improve performance and that live up to the expectations we all (should) have of eLearning. They wrote down 22 principles. If you apply them correctly, your eLearning will be up to standard.

This initiative is well received but when I speak to people about it I get two questions: “Great, but how do I use these principles” and “How do I convince my boss or client that we should apply them.” This sparked the idea to write a post on each of these principles, with my answer to these two questions on each principle. I will write a post each week over the next few months.

I do hope to get support from you. Please sent your ideas, comments, best practices and whatever you can think of to mail@kasperspiro.com or put a comment on this page on at the article. If it adds value I will include them in the posts. If you sent me something on a topic already covered I will update that post. I will publish all post separately at this blog, but this page will act as the main page for all posts. Over the next 22 weeks this list below will get more and more hyperlinks.

The 22 principles of the eLearning manifesto are:

  1. Do Not Assume that Learning is the Solution
  2. Do Not Assume that eLearning is the Answer
  3. Tie Learning to Performance Goals
  4. Target Improved Performance
  5. Provide Realistic Practice
  6. Enlist Authentic Contexts
  7. Provide Guidance and Feedback
  8. Provide Realistic Consequences
  9. Adapt to Learner Needs
  10. Motivate Meaningful Involvement
  11. Aim for Long-term Impact
  12. Use Interactivity to Prompt Deep Engagement
  13. Provide Support for Post-Training Follow-Through
  14. Diagnose Root Causes
  15. Use Performance Support
  16. Measure Effectiveness
  17. Iterate in Design, Development, and Deployment
  18. Support Performance Preparation
  19. Support Learning understanding with conceptual models
  20. Use Rich Examples and Counterexamples
  21. Enable Learners to Learn from Mistakes
  22. Respect Learners


#LSCon review: 70:20:10, agile, mobile, serious, performance and ecosystems vs “my clients want 1990 eLearning”

My recap of the whole conference is summarized in the title. I attended great presentations on 70:20:10, agile development, mobile (TinCan), serious elearning, performance support and learning ecosystems, but the gap with the audience was huge. When we were just talking before the start of a session, someone said: “I get all this and I want to do it, but I’m also getting frustrated because my clients want 1990 eLearning”. That really says it for me. We do have to move away from courses and into performance support, we have to grow ecosystems and the the formal learning that we create must be of a higher quality (applying the 22 rules of the serious eLearning manifesto). But:

  • The clients (both internally and externally) do not get this
  • The tools are not really in place and the IT department is not helping
  • The methods and approaches are complex
  • The learning departments are not integrated and aligned with the business
  • The skills and knowledge of the instructional designers are still focused on formal learning
  • et cetera

My conclusion is clear. The problem is not that we don’t know where to go, but how to convince the business (or clients) that we need to do it differently. And that way getting the budgets to move in this direction. The other how is: how to do this, where to start? There is a lot and especially on a conceptual and technical level it is not easy. So if you get how important TinCan is you need to be able to download and install it, connect it into your learning and working process and then you you still end up with an xml database that doesn’t have any reports.

SKhy-Bus-Is-Carbon-Negative-Transportation-Of-The-Future-1-537x338Illustration of The Skhy bus by designer Alan Monteiro

Let me use a metaphor: I attended sessions where people are telling us about a new way of transportation that solves all current problems like pollution and traffic jams. They are also telling us that we are stupid that we still drive a car and stand in traffic jams everyday. But for me as a car owner and driver I can believe in this promised dreamland but what to do to get there? There are no new roads, improved gas stations, vehicles of the future and other facilities that allow me to make this step. So in fact it is a challenge to all thought leaders and vendors to translate and build this new infrastructure and vehicles and make it accessible and easy to the driver. As a vendor I learned some serious lessons that I can and will apply in our products, making it possible for the “audience’ to make that first step and start making use of this great new world that is emerging.

Other post about LSCON caps of: Day 1, day 2 and Day 3

Kasper Spiro

LSCon Day 3 recap: Free resources, performance support, Quinn and Cathy Davidson

I have attended a number of sessions at day 3 of LSCon, here are my session reports.

Free elearning tools and resources
I attended the morning buzz session of Tracy Parish. She presented (and collected) free elearning resources. Images, tools et cetera. I will not give you an overview. She has an website where everything is listed a must see for everyone who is looking for free stuff. Great work Tracy.

Practical principles for developing an effective performance solution
Presentation by Hillik Harari and Yanay (I love names that are palindromes) Zaguri. Though their solution is limited to performance support (as in online help with applications) they had some interesting notices.

Performance support requires a different mindset than learning. Learning is about behavior change, performance support is about offering the right info at the right time so people can do their job. They presented briefly about a method they call the 360 model:

360 methodIntersting is that Learner, internship and expert has great resemblance with what by Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson presented yesterday. They call it train, transfer and sustain. I also like the very concrete 9 cells of the matrix. Good stuff.

They also explained their 8 principles, here they are:

  1. Do not interfere with performance
  2. Be user sensitive
  3. Have a call for action
  4. Just in time
  5. Content sensitive
  6. Reduce cognitive load
  7. Give user control
  8. Keep it simple

I do think that there are worse rules to live by.

Dragging learning into the 21st century Clark Quinn
Where I found that Clark and his fellows where a bit sour and frustrated when presenting their eLearning manifesto, Clark was at his best today. He painted a picture of where we should go with very concrete steps and overviews. and a ton of cool references to great and interesting books.  You can download his presentation here (if you have access to the elearning guild recourses if not here is a download from my site ls14_906_quinn. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to publish this presentation, but I believe it is a must read for you all.  I will take you through it, see the slides for details.

He started out by asking us how we use our mobile devices to make us more effective and productive. A ton of applications passed by and his conclusion was: “None of them are courses, that is what this presentation is about.”

We used to be able to plan, but that is from the past. The speed of things has increased tremendously. (page 1, slide three). This images shows how we went from a disconnected world, to a connected world and to an integrated world. You need to tap in with the power of the people to keep up. (see his references at page 1 slide 1).

We are not logical beings
Again references to great literature (slide 1 page 2). Then he introduced this model.

LSCON14, Clarck Quinn 1

We we perform a task (action) we will encounter problems (breakdown), you have to come up with a solution (repair) and afterwords reflect on it to make sure you learn your lesson from this breakdown and thing on how you can prevent it from happening again (Reflection). These phases will result in different learning needs: Information need, problem solving and Information update. This three learning needs in detail will give:

LSCON14, Clarck Quinn 2

This is the process we have to support, I believe it will give you some interesting notions if you try to match your learning end performance support to this. Also interesting to compare this model with the one from Mosher and Gottfredson (see my session report). They add training and transfer as phased before sustain, but I do think that if you combine their 5 moments of learning need with this model (Breakdown), you can get even a more detailed and effective model). I will make an attempt, but nor in this post, I have to think and read about it first). Based on the literature list ( see page three), he adds that we need patterns in order to solve problems. He also added a source that is not in the slides: Committee on How People Learn, A Targeted Report for Teachers, Center for Studies on Behavior and Development, National Research Council. I haven’t read it yet, but I will.

So what to do?
I tried to capture his advice:

  1. Stop using classrooms (formal learning) as the only solution
  2. Find more effective ways
    • Use your network, involve more people through the social media
    • Go into performance support
    • Use the least assistance support approach (less is better
  3. Go from elearning to eperformance

Or in his words:

Social first, performance second and formal as a last resort.

Start doing it even when it is just a small thing because “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, so don’t make a plan, just do it. Be aware of the learning (and forgetting curves) page 5, slide 2. Clark also states that we are on our way to Web 3.0. Web 1.0 was about producer generated content, 2.0 about user generated content, 3.0 will be system generated content. Based on patterns, time and additional information the web will start offering you info. Things like Google now, that alerts you for a traffic jam on your route to work, while you are sitting at home eating you breakfast and without asking for it. Don’t forget to check the literature list (page 8 to 10) all of them are a must read.

Now you see it
Keynote by Cathy Davidson. Her subtitle is: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work and learn. She started with the video of Gorilla in the Midst. If you don’t know it first.

The point is that we have selective attention.When you are focused on one thing you will not see other things, she calls this “Attention and change blindness”. Especially in the modern world there are so many things competing for your attention. On top of that we designed our schools and businesses for the last century (the learning needs from the industrial revolution), and not for a world in which technology has reshaped the way we think and learn. I have to say that her analysis came across perfectly, but from her presentation I didn’t got a full picture on what we should do instead let alone how we should achieve that. I did got a bunch of one liners:

  • We need to be more collaborative,
  • problem solving oriented
  • be creative and relevant in our teaching, learning and work
  • Use different perspectives
  • Unlearning (accept that you have to forget and learn new things instead because the world has changed)
  • Use different perspectives
  • Learning is victory (not the setup for failure with exams as we do know, but a chance to ‘earn a belt’)

Probably there is much more, but I guess that I have to read her book in order to get that. Maybe later…

Other posts on LSCon:

My recap of day 2 at #LSCon Big data, tools and the learning eco system

I was not able to attend a lot of the sessions I wanted because I had a lot of one-on-one appointments today.  I have caught a few sessions for you:

Big data demystified

The first session was today’s keynote, by Douglass Merrill. He is the author of “Getting organized in the Google era”. He didn’t do it for me. His main message was that Big data is not real and that you can not trust  the outcome of Big Data queries very often. We collect the wrong data, apply the wrong math and end up with wrong results. He did had a cool story about someone collecting log books on a new trade route because he was wondering why these ships had very different sailing times but took (more or less) the same route. he ended up with discovering the trade wind, based on the data he analyzed. For me that was the highlight of the presentation, although I read on the internet that Columbus discovered them.

When to switch eLearning tools by Joe Ganci.
I love Joe, his knowledge on authoring tools is unique. He knows them all. He started out by saying that it should not be the tool that determines the elearning, but the learner, the context and the goal. Based on that analysis you can design an eLearning solution and then you select the appropriate tool. He went over all the major tools and compared them for us, the pro’s  and con’s and he demonstrated a view of them. He even allowed me to show the coolest of all elearning software: Easygenerator’s new web edition! Thanks Joe, I appreciate this.

Learning performance analysis. Aligning the eco system with the business.
By far the best presentation so far of the whole conference by Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson. You probably have heard of the 70:20:10 (70 experience, 20 Coaching & feedback, 10 formal learning). It has become a sort of a buzzword, but until know I never heard a story that describes a framework and a methodology to implement an environment that supports this in a good way. They have it. They passed on a lot of information, with a lot of images and I could not capture it all. They run a community (www.applysynergies.com) based on their approach. I will give you the highlights. I will research this more in-depth and write about it later in more detail.

The why?
“It is the only way an organization can enable peak performance at every changing moment”



Image from http://www.applysynergies.com/

This image is one of the key elements of their approach. The first green peak is the formal learning (10%). Than you have the transfer to competence and the continuous improvement after that. The last two phases are the 70 and 20, or in fact the 90 because the will merge very often. During the sustain phase you have the 5 moments of learning needs:

  1. When you need to learn something new
  2. When you need to know more
  3. When things change
  4. And when you have to solve something
  5. And last but not least, when you have to apply all this

They had a lot more on the ecosystem, but I will keep that for later.  I will end this session description with: You have to cultivate dynamic learners that can learn at the speed of change. Love that.

More on this topic later in this blog and more on LSCon tomorrow.

You can also read my recap of day 1 at the LSCon

#LSCon day 1, Leapfrogging serious lean agile innovation performance ecosystems for 90%

Leapfrogging serious lean agile innovation performance ecosystems for 90%

You may wonder what the title of this post is about, well it is my recap of LSCon day 1. I took one word from the title of all the sessions I attended and this is the result. It makes up an interesting sentence and it is in that way a good recap of the first day, an interesting day. It looks like that change is reaching the inhabitants of the world of learning.

I kicked the day and the conference of with a morning buzz session. These sessions are not presentations but an opportunity to talk/discuss/share experiences on a certain topic. We talked about agile development under the guidance of Don Bolen. We had a very good attendance (about 25 people) and had a nice conversation. My best recap is:

  1. All the attendees do see the problems and limitations of the current working methodology (ADDIE or other waterfall models)
  2. They have heard of agile (thanks to Michael Allen)
  3. They know they have to change
  4. And they took their first sniff at agile.

After this we had the formal opening (1500 attendees, 30% up from last year) by David Kelly and the Keynote from Soren Kaplan about Leapfrogging to learning breakthroughs and innovation. The essence of his story is that good breakthrough business ideas always have a form of surprise in them. He had an example of a café in Paris that is regarded the number one place (from 30,000 competitors) to be. He found to his surprise that is was a café, that the owner bought all her beans directly from the farmers. That she had made a whole business of selling these beans and that she had an academy where she was training people from all over the world to learn her concept. Not something you would expect in a café. This sparked the idea of surprise that he investigated more. Other examples are a clothing shop that sells cloth by the pound, a cinema that sells monthly subscriptions et cetera. His conclusion ‘Surprise is essential for all breakthroughs. And you will find that surprise outside your normal comfort zone. He gave a number of nice tips:

  1. Fall in love with problems not solutions
  2. People love innovation but they hate surprises
  3. Rethink your role (what is your added value)
  4. Learn to live with uncertainty
  5. Look outside your own culture
  6. Get your customers inside your processes
  7. What is your business really about?

For more check his presentation, you can download it from his website. Interesting reading and he is an entertaining presenter.

Keynote form Soren Kaplan

for 90%
Next was a presentation from Marty Rosenheck. He jumped the 70:20:10 bandwagon. Core message the formal learning (10) is served by the LMS what do you do with the 90%? He is really big on apprenticeships and has a nice vision of that (learning in the real world without the bog claim on experienced people so you can make it scalable).

He has created a solution (Trek) based on TinCan that supports this kind of learning.

I attended the serious elearning manifesto session. As expected it was a recap of the launch from last week. I really do support this initiative and I do thing that we should do a better job. At the ame time you hear more and more critical sounds: that the initiative brings nothing new to the table. They made it very clear that their goal is the raise the general level of eLearning in order to make it more effective, it is not about innovation, but about applying the stuff we already know (or should know).

This year there is a second conference next to Learning solutions: Ecosystems 2014. It is more on a strategic level. You have to have a special upgrade in order to attend the sessions, build the guild was kind enough to allow me to party crash a session. The session I attended was about ecosystems and  was presented by Lance Dublin. For him the term ecosystem was also new, so he took us on a journey to discover it with him. I got from it that an ecosystem is a living and ever changing thing that enables and facilitates learning. It should contain four elements: Process, people, Technology and content. So it is not an architecture (that is part of the ecosystem) but the whole thing. The reason we have to thing about this is the increasing speed of things, our old ways (LMS learning with courses) do not work anymore. We need something that delivers Performance at the speed of need. He gave s an impressive list of opportunities/changes, developments that should be part of an ecosystem: Mobile, Moocs, Cloud, social learning, serious games, Big data, personalization and much more. He also defined the goal of an ecosystem: Performance. He promised to share his presentation, but is is not available now. I will share it with you when I can.

This was a really nice session although it didn’t bring me what I expected from it. It was presented by Megane Torrance. I did expect her to make the connection between agile and lean. I do know about agile, I wrote a whole bunch of post on it. I know a bit about lean and was curious about the connection. Instead she took us through the eight wastes of lean (Transport, Over-processing, Time & Intelligence, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Inventory, Defects) and she challenged us to come up with waste on these topics and solutions for them. Based on the info she gathered she will create an article for the learning solutions magazine. So we sort of crowd sourced an article in an hour. Really inventive and informing.

So this leads up to the conclusion of day 1. As I wrote in the beginning of this post. I have the feeling that change is reaching eLearning. But I see only the first signs of it. People are aware that they need to change and that raises more interest in topics like TinCan, Agile, innovation. But most of them are just investigating, it will take a while before they can act on it.


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