sense-making with social media

“Tweeting during a conference helps me consolidate my thoughts and capture key insights. Facebook helps me share resources. LinkedIn is a useful professional tool. However, it is blogging, such as this post, that is by far my strongest form of learning, as it involves a number of things that are all supported by researched learning theory, and which improve memory and recall:

  1. Reflection
  2. Generation
  3. Elaboration
  4. Retrieval
  5. Interleaved and varied practice
  6. Spaced practice
  7. Imagery
  8. Archiving”

Donald Clark

What do you do to make sense of your learning? As Donald notes, sharing and posting on social media are weaker forms of learning than longer form blogging can be. However, low utility activities like retrieval and archiving can provide the fodder for higher utility sense-making skills such as generation and elaboration. Mastery comes through varied and spaced practice, supported by reflection. Using social media for learning requires an understanding of how each tool or platform can support your own sense-making. (more…)

social learning for complex work

“Carnegie Mellon’s Robert E. Kelley … says the percentage of the knowledge you need to memorize to do your job is shrinking rapidly:

  • 1986: 75%
  • 1997: 15-20%
  • 2006: 8-10% estimated

Knowing how to get the answers you need is more important than storing those answers in your head, especially with the shorter lifespan of knowledge these days. What you find when you look something up is probably current. What you already know is more and more likely to be out of date.

A vital meta-learning skill: how to find the answer you need, online or off.”

Jay Cross (2006)

Where are we in 2016? How do we find the knowledge we need? Is it in our organizational filing systems and intranets, or rather on the Web or in our professional social networks? It’s a question of complexity. (more…)

a half-baked idea

“I’m thinking of doing some coaching in a few years and helping people make decisions around food and nutrition”, I was told the other day by a young man working in a shop. My advice was to start a blog: now. While he had no intention of freelancing for the near term, he needed to get his thoughts in order. A blog is a good place to do this over time. You can start slow. The process builds over time. My early blog posts were pretty bad but they helped me see what ideas I could revisit and build upon. And it took time. (more…)

the future of human work

People can never be better at computing than computers. We cannot become more efficient than machines. All we can do is be more curious, more creative, more empathetic. The fact that automation is taking away jobs once designed for people means that it is time we focus on what is really important: our humanity. Service delivery will gradually improve as machines take it over. Accidents will diminish with self-driving cars. Errors will be reduced with robotic surgeries. Many human jobs will fade away.

Just as few people do work that requires pure physical labour today, soon few of us will do routine, procedural, standardized knowledge work. As DeepMind beat the world Go champion in their first three games this week, we should take a serious look at what this means for the long term. Machines that can teach themselves may be better teachers for humans as well. (more…)

organizations are people

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@Goonth“Our so-called leaders will not create our futures for us. That is entirely up to us. Nothing to concede.”

8 Symptoms Of Organizations On The Cusp Of Change by @MarkRaheja

“In theory, organizations are meant to enable us — to make us faster, stronger and more effective than we’d be on our own. And yet today, in listening to my clients, it feels as if the exact opposite is true — as if the organization is actually getting in their way. The symptoms of this are many and may sound familiar: Siloed teams with misaligned incentives; bureaucratic processes governed by inflexible policies; paralyzed decision-making strewn across way too many meetings. The list goes on.”


What is connected leadership?

Connected leadership is an emergent property of a network in balance and not some special property available to only the select few. This requires leadership from an intelligent and engaged workforce learning with each other. Connected leaders practice the discipline of personal knowledge mastery which comprises working and learning out loud as well as critical thinking and active curiosity. By seeking, sensing, and sharing, everyone in an organization can become part of a learning network, listening at different frequencies, scanning the horizon, recognizing patterns, and making better decisions. (more…)

temporary, negotiated hierarchies

Hierarchies in Perpetual Beta

A Post-Job Economy

The job was the way we redistributed wealth, making capitalists pay for the means of production and in return creating a middle class that could pay for mass produced goods. That period is almost over, as witnessed by 54 million self-employed Americans. The job is a social construct that has outlived its usefulness. Freelancing may be a replacement but often lacks a safety net, and many of the self-employed become pawns of the platform monopolists. We are entering a post-job economy. Our careers will be shorter as our lives get longer. Companies and institutions are no longer the stable source of employment they once were, as even the Fortune 500 companies now have an average lifespan of 20 years, as opposed to 60 years in 1960. (more…)

strategic transformation of workplace learning

Is your learning and development team able to transform so it can support complex work, help people be more creative, and adapt to the changing nature of the digital workplace? Strategic transformation is more than changing what you work on.

“Strategic Transformation. This means changing the very essence of what ‘learning’ means in the company, through both a new understanding of how it happens in the workplace (i.e. not just through conventional training but as people carry out their daily jobs) and how performance problems can be solved in different ways. It also means that learning and performance improvement is no longer the sole remit of the L&D department, but something that everyone in the organisation – managers and employees alike – has responsibility for.” – Jane Hart (more…)

unified models for work and learning

There are two models that I regularly use when explaining how organizations need to integrate learning and working in the network era. Individuals need to master the ability to negotiate social networks, communities of practice, and teams doing complex or creative work. Personal knowledge mastery is the individual skill, while working out loud helps groups stay in close contact with the work flow. Everyone needs to be adept at cooperating in the openness of social networks in order to be open to possible innovative ideas. At the same time these workers have to be focused on co-creating value at work. They also need to find a trusted middle ground to test new ideas. Communities of practice become a business necessity and a professional development imperative. This is the network learning model. (more…)

network management update

You cannot manage a network. As networks become the dominant organizational form, the way we think about management has to change, as well as the way those in positions of authority try to influence others. In a network society, we influence through reputation, based on our previous actions. This is why working out loud and learning out loud are so important. Others need to see what we are contributing to the network. Those who contribute to their networks will be seen as valuable and hence will have a better reputation and may be able to influence others. Management in networks is fuzzy. (more…)