Posts By: Harold Jarche

Learning Economics Group

Attended a teleconference session of the Learning Economics Group today. This is a non-profit group focused on conducting research, developing tools, databases, forums and the creation of a virtual discussion ?��Ǩ��space?��Ǩ�Ѣ for professionals, policymakers and others about Learning Economics. LEG kicked-off in early April, but there is already a lot of interest worldwide in their research agenda, from all sectors. FYI, Learning Economics is defined by LEG as the study of the strategic value of learning, both formal and informal, and its economic impact on a corporation or organization.

Attendees included professionals in the field from Shell, Cisco, HP, BYU, SRI, and two Canadians! After introductions, Dan Blair from HP, with Brenda Sugrue of ASTD, gave the main presentation on setting a learning economics research agenda. A key concept in this presentation is the shift of Tangible versus Intangible Assets on the S&P index from 38% intangibles in 1982 to 85% intangibles in 2002. Most economic value is now intangible (think knowledge and knowledge workers). As someone stated, we now know the problem, but we don’t know the answers to "managing" intangible assets. A lot of participation and commentary from attendees, such as Eilef Trondsen and Jay Cross, et al.

Check out the website and join the group, participate, and contribute to the already significant resources that have been contributed by members.

Is there interest in the region to become a special interest group (SIG) and contribute to this forum? I will continue to participate and provide comments to the LearnNB (loosely coupled) community.

Business metrics

From Elliot Masie’s Tech Learn Trends comes this list from buyers of what metrics are starting to be used as indicators of the effectiveness of new approaches to learning:

* Time to Launch a New Product
* Time to Hire and Deploy a New Staff Member
* Time to Compliance for Regulations
* Time to Implement a Systems Change
* Time to Globalize a Process
* Time to Merge with New Company or Organization
* Time to Quality Targets
* Time to Sale

These are the points that learning providers should be addressing in their proposals, and it looks like they’re all about time.


SmartDraw is a charting & diagramming application, similar to Visio. I had used Visio for many years, but switched to SmartDraw because of the lower price. I liked it so much, I provided a free testimonial. SmartDraw has just launched a new Education package, which includes many aids that a teacher would find useful. It’s an easy program to learn, but the whole education package is still $(US)265.00, so I doubt if it would fit into most classroom budgets. Worth a look if you have the money.

New Website Soon

We’re making progress with the new website. Luc at the NRC IIT elearning group is helping us get set up with our blog and collaborative space. In the spirit of further exploring the open source model, this will be on a linux server. I will transfer over most of the contents of this blog to the new site – but in the meantime please continue to post any comments or suggestions here. If you feel shy, then send me an e-mail.

I met with some community members in Fredericton last week, and would like to meet face2face with others, so contact me if you’re interested in discussing R&D issues. My budget allows me to travel within the Maritimes; beyond that it will have to be on the phone 🙁


Personal Knowledge Management

From Lilia, is this quote worth keeping for your files:

To a great extend PKM [personal knowledge management] is about shifting responsibility for learning and knowledge sharing from a company to individuals and this is the greatest challenge for both sides. Companies should recognise that their employees are not "human resources", but investors who bring their expertise into a company. As any investors they want to participate in decision-making and can easily withdraw if their "return on investment" is not compelling. Creativity, learning or desire to help others cannot be controlled, so knowledge workers need to be intrinsically motivated to deliver quality results. In this case "command and control" management methods are not likely to work.

Taking responsibility for own work and learning is a challenge for knowledge workers as well. Taking these responsibilities requires attitude shift and initiative, as well as developing personal KM knowledge and skills. In a sense personal KM is very entrepreneurial, there are more rewards and more risks in taking responsibility for developing own expertise.

My conclusion for a while has been that knowledge cannot be managed, and neither can knowledge workers. It will take a new social contract between workers and organisations in order to create an optimally functioning enterprise. Adding management and technology won’t help either. This is the crux of everything in the new "right-sized, lean, innovative, creative" economy – getting the right balance between the organisational structure and the knowledge workers.

Edu RSS Newsticker

Thanks to Stephen Downes for providing the newsticker which was on my homepage. It wasn’t loading each time I opened the page so I have removed it temporarily; I hope. Thanks also to James Farmer, who asked for it. Comments on its usefulness would be appreciated.

RSS for Learning

Eva Kaplan-Leiserson, gives a good overview of RSS [that’s "rich site summary" and/or "really simple syndication", defined for the last time on this blog] for learning in Learning Circuits. She brings together the recent work of Stephen Downes, Amy Gahran, Mary Harrsch, Robin Good and others. Many readers will have seen some of the referenced articles, but Kaplan-Leiserson’s piece will be a good introduction for those new to RSS, or if you need a current summary. Here’s the business rationale (for a very short elevator ride) for RSS:

Rather than collecting content in a central repository, requiring an expensive software application, the RSS model distributes content across the World Wide Web, allowing access piece by piece.

Free Online review of Low-cost Videoconferencing Tools

On Thursday May 13th, Robin Good is offering another free review of technologies. This time he has selected over ten interesting and emergent low-cost videoconferencing technologies. After his brief analysis of those technologies selected from a buyer’s standpoint, the floor will be opened to participants to ask direct live questions to Robin or to anyone representative of the tools being showcased.

Conference starts at 1:00 PM Atlantic.

What do instructional designers design?

Don Morrison?Ǭ�
has made available his speaker notes for a presentation on "What do
Instructional Designers design?" Much of what he says resonates with my
own experience and perspective. First, that tradional instructional
systems design cannot address the multitude of?Ǭ� alternatives available to us today – such as knowledge management,
performance support, blogs, workflow learning, communities of practice,

Morrison also says that Google is a learning tool [I agree, it’s how I
learned HTML], and that it favours information
over instruction. This is an
interesting point. A few years back, I had a conversation with the
design team at Tecsult-Eduplus
about their learning programs for astronauts. They recounted how they
had initially designed some courses which adhered to the "standard"
rules of using only 7 points of information per screen. The feedback of
the astronauts was that they wanted not only more information, but the
maximum information possible per slide. For these bright students, time
was of the essence and they couldn’t waste it by clicking on the next button.?Ǭ� I have noticed
that medical school students are the same in their learning style –
they absorb information like sponges, and later reflect on it. Speaking
for instuctional designers, Morrison says:

That if Google is being perceived as
the best learning tool ever, it’s because it has developed relevant
notions like adjacency, weight
and PageRank, implemented them
in a smart, innovative process which is embedded in a lightning-fast,
user-friendly interface.

What LMS, what LCMS, what competency engine, what third-party or custom
course library or curriculum, what instructional design theory has done
anything close in terms in responding to today’s learning needs??Ǭ�
I think you and I both know the answer. Not one.

In comparison, our response has been linear, turgid and unimaginative.

Morrison goes on to discuss a number of design models, including some
more advanced models (and lesser known within many instructional design
teams) such as van
Four-Component Instructional Design Model , as well
as more general Cognitive Load Theory. The whole text is worth a read,
and worth the effort of reviewing or researching Morrison’s references.
This text should also be read by anyone in higher education where
educational technology is taught, to show that there is a heck of a lot
more to learn than how to put courses online.

Wikis – pushing the envelope

So you think that the idea of wikis is a bit confusing? Still trying to get your brain around blogs and RSS? Well folks, check out Lion Kimbro’s Wiki Proliferation article on how we should really be using wikis to create the public web. This is not for the faint of heart – and not what you’ll find on the Wall Street Journal in the near future.

I found out about Lion via Seb.