Follow Craig on Twitter . . . @craigdadoly
Follow Craig on Twitter . . . @craigdadoly
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times Columnist recently spent a weekend beneath the Arctic Circle aboard the U.S.S. New Mexico, an attack submarine (Parallel Parking in the Arctic Circle) as part of a group accompanying Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, who was observing the Navy’s submarine arctic warfare exercise. As a learning designer, developer and ultimately a learner, these two paragraphs from the column stood out to me . . .
“My strongest impression, though, was experiencing something you see too little of these days on land: ‘Excellence.’ You’re riding in a pressurized steel tube undersea. If anyone turns one knob the wrong way on the reactor or leaves a vent open, it can be death for everyone. This produces a unique culture among these mostly 20-something submariners. As one officer put it: ‘You become addicted to integrity.’ There is zero tolerance for hiding any mistake. The sense of ownership and mutual accountability is palpable.
And that is why, said Adm. Joseph Tofalo, the Navy’s director of undersea warfare, who was also on the trip, ‘There is no multiple-choice exam for running the sub’s nuclear reactor.’ If you want to be certified to run any major system on this ship, he added, ‘everything is an oral and written exam to demonstrate competency.’”
Two things hit home for me from the above paragraphs. . .
Accountability, having “a sense of ownership” and an “addiction to integrity” are vital elements in our pursuit of excellence at whatever we do and those elements are also key components of a topic I have passionately promoted over the past couple of years . . . Learning Democracy (more learner control over the learning experience) and the shift of learning responsibility from organization to individual. In a world that has been flattened by technology, a world that is now ultra-competitive, it is the responsibility of each individual to drive their learning path, to be accountable for achieving excellence. What do you risk by standing on the learning sideline? You risk being left behind in your profession as more passionate, accountable, excellence driven individuals from all over the world continue to push forward at a furious pace.
Competency cannot be measured with a multiple-choice exam. “There is no multiple-choice exam for running the sub’s nuclear reactor” While running a submarine’s nuclear reactor is probably on the upper end of jobs that impact others, determining competency in any role, or any activity can rarely be measured by a multiple-choice exam. And we all know that. Yet those pesky multiple-choice exams are still a huge part of the corporate learning world. It’s the quick, easy way out for learning designers often driven by time constraints, or lack of desire or ability of an organization/business group to truly assess competency. I vividly recall sitting in on a meeting with a senior leader of an organization many years ago and when we brought up the topic of assessing the competency of his employees his reply was, “I don’t give a #$@% about competency, just throw some learning content at my people.” While a chunk of this issue is on the organization, a large part sits squarely on the shoulders of the learner. If the learner is driven by pursuit of excellence, takes accountability for his own professional learning, and is addicted to integrity, they take on responsibility of achieving competency. Their sense of ownership of learning helps drive the learning experience to new heights. Their pursuit of excellence demands excellence in learning and that’s a good thing.
Follow Craig on Twitter . . . @craigdadoly
Below is an excerpt from Elliott Masie’s Learning Trends e-newsletter in the event you haven’t seen it. As learning content continues on its track of getting smaller and more personalized, short video clips that target a specific concept in 3 minutes or less will become the mainstream. News and advertising have mastered getting key messages across in 30 to 90 seconds (the book How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less is a good resource). Not that all content can and should be delivered this way, but a good chunk of it can be broken down into learning “snacks.” I’m a big fan of applying the Pareto Principle to learning . . . 20% of the content of a course gives 80% of the value.
Masie hosted a good webinar today during which he mentioned that LMSs are about 2 years behind on technology to deliver personalized learning elements. He mentioned how Amazon is so good at it and if that technology is applied to learning via a future LMS, a learner that is about to go on a business trip for his company might get a link to a short video clip about the city he/she is visiting prior to the trip. It was interesting and got me thinking, what if your role just expanded to include supporting clients in Europe, or India, then the LMS could generate an email for you with a link to a brief video, or a blog post, or a podcast that shares information about the country’s culture, work environment, communication styles, etc.
From: Elliott Masie's Learning TRENDS <[email protected]>
Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie - Sept 26, 2013.
#794 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology.
Video is Getting Shorter and Shorter! One conversation that keeps happening with learning colleagues is the length of video's and the impact on learning attention. The length of video's used to be a predictable 60 minutes or 30 minutes. They mirrored the length of an hour or 1/2 hour television show. If you bought a video from a training vendor, it was normally 30 or 60 minutes. Then, video started to shrink to 15 minute segments. Then, as on-line video became more prominent in corporate learning, the length started to shrink to 5 to 8 minutes in duration. In the last year, we are seeing more and more 3 minute or even shorter videos used. Some organizations are even playing with one minute micro-video. Is it effective in smaller lengths? Almost no research is available at this time. But, we do know that users are staying around for shorter amounts of time - regardless of the length. In other words, they are starting a 25 minute video but often leaving after 3 or 4 minutes. The learning world needs some operational and cognitive retention research on the impact of shorter and shorter video's! The length is being shaped by our default assumptions of what is a good length - and non-work video watching - of a non-entertainment video - is measured in minutes counted by with one hand, often using just 2 or 3 fingers. We need to develop better templates, models and evidence based research on how to get the most knowledge, value and learning assistance from shorter and shorter videos. While, remembering that viewers of Netflix are often doing a 6 hour "marathon" stream of programs like "Orange is the New Black". Video consumption - at home and at work - will be more and more personalized. Let's get ready!
Just published the Digital Indiscretion toon to Tapestry. You can check it out below or on your iPhone if you have the free app . . .
Small, in-context learning elements in a variety of mediums (audiocast, video, multimedia, text and graphics), that tell a compelling story is definitely the way learning is moving. It's fast, it's powerful, it's engaging, it's personalized. I believe that a significant percentage of those learning elements will take on an "infographic like" style. Some will be static, some will be animated, some combined with other media. This shift in learning strategy, the fact that it is effective, and my belief in the power of stories and visual learning have influenced me to start moving from building traditional full courses to delivery of those smaller, in-context learning elements.
Below is a link to a brief article that I found very interesting about the use of infographics. Here are 3 great quotes from the story . . . .
"Some people simply aren’t interested in long-form content . . ."
"And this is part of the appeal of infographics. Their succinct nature and visual flair are like neural crack for today’s ADD-addled data-junkies. To some, getting the facts served up in a compelling and easily digestible visual form, rather than spelunking through cavernous paragraphs, is a method for saving time."
"We provide all the sources, but really it’s that journey for readers to interpret the data for themselves." --To me, this is what makes this style so powerful.
Want to have a job for he next 10 or so years? Then make sure it's something that a computer can't do well. In a FastCompany interview, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says . . .
"I've come to a view that humans will continue to do what we do well, and that computers will continue to do what they do very well, and the two will coexist, but in different spaces," Schmidt says, sounding at least a little bit like a Blade Runner character. What are computers good at? They have perfect memories, Schmidt tells Yale, and with that remembering everything, they can readily handle needle-in-a-haystack problems. Like in these hundred photos or facts, what's different? Computers don't break a sweat finding those needles--and mastering that search is path of high-end data science. On the other hand, humans have a terrible time with spotting differences amid haystacks, as any reader of Highlights would know.
But humans are still good at some things, Schmidt admits, like judgement, emotion, and creativity. Those unquantifiables are still hard to simulate, even for Siri. "That may change over the next decades," Schmidt says, "but for the moment, the separation of powers means that computers will sit around and help you."
"We’re entering a world that increasingly rewards individual aspiration and persistence and can measure precisely who is contributing and who is not." -- Thomas Friedman, NYT columnist, It’s a 401(k) World.
The Learning Democracy taught us that due to a work environment and workforce that are both changing dramatically, learners want/need more responsibility and control over their learning. We want autonomy and personalization too. Let us decide when, where and how.
Shifting responsibility . . .
This changing world means, according to Friedman, "Government will do less for you. Companies will do less for you. Unions can do less for you. There will be fewer limits, but also fewer guarantees. Your specific contribution will define your specific benefits much more. Just showing up will not cut it." He continues . . . "If you are self-motivated, wow, this world is tailored for you. The boundaries are all gone. But if you’re not self-motivated, this world will be a challenge because the walls, ceilings and floors that protected people are also disappearing."
Accepting responsibility for the education you need to succeed and being self-motivated to shape, consume and apply the learning is more critical now than ever. We must ask ourselves probing questions like this one from Byron Auguste, a director at McKinsey and one of the founders of Hope Street Group "how do I build my own competencies to be attractive to employers and flourish in this world?” If we don't, we fall behind, we fall through the cracks.
So the learning responsibility shifts to learner, but companies have a responsibility too. Leadership must inspire "individuals to act on their own" according to Friedman, and companies/employers must do a better job of identifying and articulating the competencies that best enable their employees to achieve success. As Friedman says in his column,“for students and workers to take advantage of the opportunities open to them in a ‘defined contribution’ world, they will need much better information to inform their decisions. Right now it’s much easier to evaluate a choice about buying a car or picking a mutual fund” than to find the competencies employers are looking for and the best cost-effective way to obtain them."
“because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ”
“We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need, and facts that they can Google and will forget as soon as the test is over, . . .”
“Every young person will continue to need basic knowledge, of course,” he said. “But they will need skills and motivation even more. Of these three education goals, motivation is the most critical. Young people who are intrinsically motivated — curious, persistent, and willing to take risks — will learn new knowledge and skills continuously. They will be able to find new opportunities or create their own — a disposition that will be increasingly important as many traditional careers disappear.”
“Finland is one of the most innovative economies in the world,” he said, “and it is the only country where students leave high school ‘innovation-ready.’ They learn concepts and creativity more than facts, and have a choice of many electives — all with a shorter school day, little homework, and almost no testing.
What makes a workplace innovative? That's a question that NPR's All Tech Considered asked. This is something that companies like Google and Facebook have spent a lot of time studying. According to Fortune magazine, Google attracts some of the best minds, is ranked by as the best place to work in the country, and earns close to $1 million in revenue for each person it employs. Google uses a data-driven approach to manage its workplace and so does Facebook. According to John Sullivan, a management professor at San Francisco State University and workplace consultant "Google and Facebook are metrics machines. So if you ask them what's the average time for a promotion, what's the percentage of women being promoted, they have it to a dime."
Sullivan lists three factors to that set innovative companies apart: