we need simulation!

The background to this story, explaining the difficulties I had in trying to establish a methodology to select simulation in the support of training programs is here — L&D Outside the Box. That story started in 1994 and ended in 2013. I do not know what has transpired since then, but I do hope that the training field has developed an informed process to select and use simulation to support learning. Somehow, I have doubts, and would love to be proven wrong.

In that article I concluded that L&D professionals have to master their own field as well the business they support. In addition, they have to understand that few outside L&D think that what they do is important. It’s a big challenge, and learning is becoming critical to all businesses. It is up to L&D to be part of this by developing science-based and practice-based methods. (more…)

leave standard methods to the machines

Any situation at work can first be looked at from the perspective of — is this a known problem or not? If it’s known, then the answer can be looked up or the correct person found to deal with it.

Known problems require access to the right information to solve them. This information can be mapped, and frameworks such as knowledge management (KM) help us to map it.

We can also create tools, especially performance support systems to do the work and not have to learn all the background knowledge in order to accomplish the task. This is how simple and complicated knowledge continuously gets automated.

Of course this still might be difficult, given that finding the right information or right people still consumes a lot of time at work. But this is merely a complicated problem. We have proven methods to improve collaboration, cooperation, knowledge sharing, and sensemaking.

If it’s a new problem or an exception, then workers have to deal with it in a unique way. This is why we hire people instead of machines — to deal with exceptions. Complex, new problems need tacit and implicit knowledge to solve them. Exception-handling is becoming more important in the networked workplace because computer systems can handle the routine stuff. People, often working together, have to deal with the exceptions. (more…)

good friday finds 2021

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

“The day life got better was the day I stopped arguing with people who don’t read.”@MrErnestOwens

“COVID Haiku: Coffee in morning. Then a bunch of stuff happens. Red wine in evening.”@JohnCHavens

“Really, there are just two kinds of people in the world, the narcissists and the rest of us who care about each other. One of these days we will stop falling for their selfish tricks and send them into trauma recovery programs.”@NurtureGirl

“Why is morale low? Hmm, well, you promoted all the assholes without ever making them clean up their act. Maybe start there.”@MeetingBoy (more…)

you are a commodity and don’t know it

In platforms and the precariat I asked —If you are not one of the recognized best in your field, can you make a living online or are you just part of some platform’s long tail, valuable only to aggregators and their advertising revenues? As a content creator are you providing the fodder that lets Spotify, Amazon, and YouTube earn huge market valuations? Will there be a middle class in the emerging network creative economy?

Ross Dawson’s 2012 observation was that “in a connected world, unless your skills are world-class, you are a commodity”. Three things will differentiate professionals in such an economy — Expertise, Relationships, and Innovation. (more…)

Budge Wilson 1927-2021

budge wilson dalhousie university

Budge Wilson — Dalhousie University

I rarely write personal posts here but I want to collect some of what has been shared online by the extended community following the death of acclaimed writer, Budge Wilson, on 19 March 2021. We will miss her.

Nova Scotia

Best known as a children’s author, she wrote more than 30 books for all ages.

“She isn’t entirely gone,” Andrea Wilson, Budge’s daughter, said Sunday. “She’s left a legacy through her writing, and through the people she’s inspired.”

Wilson began her writing career later in life, publishing her first book in 1984 when she was 56, according to a biography from Dalhousie University, her alma mater and the home to her personal archives. —CBC Nova Scotia


people, not algorithms

Can an algorithm defeat an algorithm? One group of European researchers think it can be done. I have my doubts

“The approach involves assigning numerical values to both social media content and users. The values represent a position on an ideological spectrum, for example far left or far right. These numbers are used to calculate a diversity exposure score for each user. Essentially, the algorithm is identifying social media users who would share content that would lead to the maximum spread of a broad variety of news and information perspectives.

Then, diverse content is presented to a select group of people with a given diversity score who are most likely to help the content propagate across the social media network—thus maximizing the diversity scores of all users.” —IEEE 2021-01-21

I believe that any system that can be gamed, will be gamed. Adding another algorithmic layer on platforms designed to manipulate human behaviour will likely result in a continuing game of whack-a-mole, like search engine optimization (SEO). Humans are not machines, and machines (including software) are not humans. (more…)

science and witchcraft

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

“The spread of germs is the price we pay for the spread of ideas.”
Nicholas Christakis

1990s Hackers: “I’m building a free operating system to run the internet”.
2020s Hackers: “I’m building a casino to sell memes to gullible people for fake money by incinerating the planet”.


“It’s easy to do great things within a great culture; the real trailblazers do great things within toxic cultures.”@white_owly (more…)

human engagement counters misinformation

A recent study conducted by Facebook suggests that when it comes to vaccine doubts and misinformation, “a small group appears to play a big role in pushing the skepticism”.

Some of the early findings are notable: Just 10 out of the 638 population segments contained 50 percent of all vaccine hesitancy content on the platform. And in the population segment with the most vaccine hesitancy, just 111 users contributed half of all vaccine hesitant content. —WaPo 2021-03-14

Small groups of people can have influence beyond their numbers. For example when a committed minority in society rises above 25% there can be a tipping point. However it only takes 10% if those people have an unshakeable belief in their cause. Meanwhile, inside an organization, there is usually a small group of people — 3% — who can influence up to 85% its members. Find out more at — 25-10-3. (more…)

platforms and the precariat

Is it possible to be a musician today and earn a middle class income?

The music industry is fundamentally broken up into three separate arms: recorded music, music licensing and live music. Where recorded music — physical album sales — was once the bread-and-butter for musicians, first the advent of piracy platforms like Napster, and then the gradual shift to streaming services like Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music made that framework unsustainable.

“In order for me to earn a minimum wage, an annual minimum wage of $30,000, I need to gain six million streams at the average royalty rate of half a cent per listen,” [musician] Sainas said. “That’s unattainable.” —CBC 2021-03-11

In 2005, the oft-quoted business guru, Seth Godin suggested that the long tail would provide for middle class entrepreneurs and musicians. (more…)

ordinary creativity

Karen Caldwell calls personal knowledge mastery — ordinary creativity (3.5 minute video). I think this is a great analogy as PKM is something that anyone can practice and improve. Karen asks what does ordinary creativity mean for you as a “social learner, digital author, prosumer, digital audience, and consumer”. She identifies ways to present information such as dual coding theory.

Dual-coding theory postulates that both visual and verbal information is used to represent information . Visual and verbal information are processed differently and along distinct channels in the human mind, creating separate representations for information processed in each channel. The mental codes corresponding these representations are used to organize incoming information that can be acted upon, stored, and retrieved for subsequent use. Both visual and verbal codes can be used when recalling information. —Psychology Wiki