Posts By: Harold Jarche

ASTD 2004 Comments

There is an excellent conversation on Jay Cross’s blog regarding collaboration technologies and informal learning. Jay is presenting at ASTD 2004. This is well worth the read.

Also, from e-clippings is this first impression of the ASTD conference.

More people, buzz and swag than other, recent e-learning conferences

New (and Improved) LearnNB Website

The new LearnNB website was launched today. There’s much more content, and we will be using this as a portal for many other initiatives, such as our R&D community of practice. Learn NB’s aims are:

Promote the export of New Brunswick’s experience, knowledge, expertise, products and services in e-learning and related fields.
Facilitate partnerships between the private sector, governments, universities, and non-governmental organizations in pursuit of the above.
Assist the Province of New Brunswick and the Atlantic Region through the ongoing development of our human capital and, in so doing, to be able to more effectively export our collective competence in e-learning capacity building.

The site is brand new today, and I’m sure that there will be a lot more information soon. Once we get some blogs, wikis, trackbacks and RSS feeds on this site we’ll know that we’re getting somewhere 😉

Ensemble Collaboration Launches

Ensemble Collaboration, an elearning company in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has formally launched this afternoon, and is no longer in "stealth mode". The product launch is happening at the ASTD conference.

Ensemble’s offerings are collaboration and mentoring tools. The collaboration application suite is based on Search, Live Help, FAQ’s, Discussion and E-Mail functions. None of these are new, but they are all wrapped together, with access to a larger network than you would normally have in a single course. There is a demo module on collaboration available, featuring Jay Cross.

ASTD Conference

The ASTD Conference and exposition launched today in Washington. There are few local exhibitors at this year’s conferenc; nothing like the late 1990’s when we had about 20 vendors at Online Learning. Perhaps the largest local exhibitor is CSTD, which includes the newly-formed New Brunswick chapter. Other local companies are Ensemble Collaboration and LearnStream.

It’s nice to see that there is a Performance Improvement track at ASTD and I would appreciate any comments from delegates at this year’s conference.

Jay Cross on Workfow Learning

Jay Cross has written an article for ACM’s eLearning Magazine on workflow learning, which is, in a nutshell "how workers improve performance in a business ecosystem."

The concept and realisation is a bit more than this though. Workflow learning combines technological advances like web services and XML, with business process improvement (BPR, Six Sigma, HPT, etc.) and puts it all into a knowledge management/performance support framework. What’s exciting about workflow learning is that the technology has caught up to some of the theory, and the globalized economy is making workflow learning (or something resembling it) a necessity.

These are interesting times for learning professionals focused on business performance.

Who reads Blogs?

From Rick Bruner is this reference to a survey about blog readers. Rick’s summary analysis of the data:

Average age: 39
Percent of all respondents who are male: 79%
Average household income: $98,000
Average number of blogs respondents read daily: 8
Percent of blog readers who do NOT write blogs: 79%
Percent who have clicked on an ad on a blog: 67%

Read the entire survey results [scroll down] for your own evaluation.

Open Source CMS

A very good overview by James Robertson on the pros and cons of using an open source content management system.

Community-based CMS: these systems are best suited for organisations that have strong internal development resources, as customisation will need to be conducted in-house (in the absence of commercial support). This makes them unsuitable for any project requiring ‘out of the box’ deployment.
Commercially-supported CMS: these systems should be evaluated like any other commercial product. While the licensing cost is zero, the system must match business needs.

Quotes on Learning

From Quotes on Learning:

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. – Eric Hoffer

Hope all Canadians are enjoying the long weekend! This is best one of them all – it’s fairly warm and the mosquitoes aren’t out yet 😉

Bill introduces Blogs to The Suits

Bill Gates introduced blogs to the business community today. I guess that means that blogging is officially mainstream. Anyway, here is Bill’s view of this "new" phenomenon – parts of which may come in handy when explaining blogging to "The Suits". [Note that I couldn’t just copy this material and then link to it, because the MS Bill Gates site doesn’t use anything as simple as a Creative Commons licence. Instead, I had to dig through many pages of Microsoft legalese in order to determine that the company allows for the quoting of up to 10% of an article. After copying and pasting and doing a word count of the article as well as my quote, I know that the selection below is 4.1% of the total article.]

Another new phenomenon that connects into this is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS.

This is a very interesting thing, because whenever you want to send e-mail you always have to sit there and think who do I copy on this. There might be people who might be interested in it or might feel like if it gets forwarded to them they’ll wonder why I didn’t put their name on it. But, then again, I don’t want to interrupt them or make them think this is some deeply profound thing that I’m saying, but they might want to know. And so, you have a tough time deciding how broadly to send it out.

Then again, if you just put information on a Web site, then people don’t know to come visit that Web site, and it’s very painful to keep visiting somebody’s Web site and it never changes. It’s very typical that a lot of the Web sites you go to that are personal in nature just eventually go completely stale and you waste time looking at it.

And so, what blogging and these notifications are about is that you make it very easy to write something that you can think of, like an e-mail, but it goes up onto a Web site. And then people who care about that get a little notification. And so, for example, if you care about dozens of people whenever they write about a certain topic, you can have that notification come into your Inbox and it will be in a different folder and so only when you’re interested in browsing about that topic do you go in and follow those, and it doesn’t interfere with your normal Inbox.

And so if I do a trip report, say, and put that in a blog format, then all the employees at Microsoft who really want to look at that and who have keywords that connect to it or even people outside, they can find the information.

And so, getting away from the drawbacks of e-mail — that it’s too imposing — and yet the drawbacks of the Web site — that you don’t know if there’s something new and interesting there — this is about solving that.

The ultimate idea is that you should get the information you want when you want it, and we’re progressively getting better and better at that by watching your behavior, ranking things in different ways.

Unfortunately there is no RSS feed (nor trackback URL) on his site.

Via Mathemagenic.

Other comments on the Bill Gates’ speech are available from Lee Lefever, BBC NEWS – World Edition, Kathleen at the Otter Group, and Cutting Through; among, I am sure, many others.

Business Plans

Seth Godin gives a possible glimpse of what it will be like five years in the future. Given these assumptions, how would you change your business plan?

Hard drive space is free
Wifi-like connections are everywhere
Connection speeds are 10 to 100 times faster
Everyone has a digital camera
Everyone carries a device that is sort of like a laptop, but cheap and tiny
The number of new products introduced every day is five times greater than now
Wal-Mart’s sales are three times as big
Any manufactured product that’s more than five years old in design sells at commodity pricing
The retirement age will be five years higher than it is now
Your current profession will either be gone or totally different