I thought I’d try some other way of conveying my thoughts this time around. I created a podcast, instead of writing. Click on the following link to listen.
Posted by Vaishnavi on February 18, 2009
Archana, a colleague of mine sent me an interesting link yesterday. It’s a post titled Learning2.0 is Web2.0 + Gaming by Brent Schlenker . While I never doubted the cognitive benefits of gaming, this is the first cogent argument that I have read in its favor.
Posted by Vaishnavi on February 16, 2009
Rob Chapman’s article sure seems to created quite a wave in the learning industry, with several learning technologists expressing their views to counter Chapman’s post. Here are my thoughts on the issue. I have tried to pick up specific thoughts that Chapman has expressed and counter them with my own views.
On the Flexibility of learning programs
Chapman says”But should learning be crammed into snatches of time, dragged out over months and cut off from the classroom?”
Short chunks of information, no more than 10 minutes at a time, is the way ahead for corporate training. Effective learning that is brief and stays in the memory for longer is far more effective than an hour long training session. One also needs to factor the large amounts of time for which an employee is missing from action when his presence is presence is required. If an hour of information that an individual is scheduled to learn for a day can be presented in five short chunks through the day, the learning will not only be more effective but also less time consuming.
On Structured learning
Chapman says, “Without the structure provided by a timetable of classes and the motivation generated by an examination date, it’s all too easy to put training at the bottom of the To Do list.”
Today’s learner needs more than an examination to motivate him. ‘What’s in it for me’ is a very important question to be answered for learning to be effective. As Chapman himself states, rather unwittingly perhaps, an examination is only a motivation to complete a course, not to learn. An ideal case in point is the classes we attended at a school/university. The one aspect that motivated most students to attend class, was the completion of another course, the chance to move to the next term or class. Is the completion a course all that we look for?
Also, today’s learner wants to control what he learns, how he learns and when he learns. The restriction of a time table of classes where he is taught a specific set of skills is far removed from a style of learning that he may be comfortable with.
On the Social aspect of classroom training
Chapman says, “….Equally important is the amount of contact students have with their peers. Learning in groups is not just socially more enjoyable, it is a proven source of motivation. Working towards a common goal, sharing tips on revision and simply offering encouragement: none of these factors should be overlooked.”
I couldn’t agree more with him, as regards the need for a social group to stay motivated and to support each others learning. But judging from Chapman’s piece, the brand of e-learning that he speaks of is of an older generation, where the lone learner sat in front of his computer console, trying to fit in learning between projects and at lunch. E-learning as it is practiced today is certainly more social, with learners using tools such as forums and social networking sites to discuss and share knowledge. I liked Clive Shepherd’s response to Chapman in this regard, where he lists the array of tools that make e-learning a much more collaborative and fun experience when compared to the earlier CBT courses.
On the duration of training programs
Chapman says “Elearning courses can be completed over a long period of time, so there’s no real incentive to complete them quickly. This is only going to lead to IT managers having to wait far longer for their staff to be trained up on new technology, and in some cases, have to send staff straight back out to retrain, because their skills have been outdated by the next wave of technology.”
I think this is a case of mismanagement. While e-learning is self paced, it does not imply that the learner has no deadline to work with. A course that needs to be completed within two months certainly cannot take a year! Besides, e-learning2.0 has the added advantage of a ready resource base (designed by the learner ie his blog posts, his blog roll, his collection of videos, podcasts etc) and a network (also built by the learner) readily available at the point of need, while the learner is on the job. Class room training which is far removed from the work space of the learner often fails to help him apply his learning in the real world. With e-learning 2.0, the ‘learning time’ and ‘working time’ blurr, one overlapping and indeed supporting the other
Posted by Vaishnavi on February 11, 2009
In the last few months, I’ve been asked to get different people started on Second Life- my colleagues at work, participants at our first Training 2.0 workshop, and a few other well wishers of Kern. Each time I show people a demonstration of Second Life, they are both amazed and puzzled by the creations of residents in SL. But after the initial thrill dies out, they’re a little lost. How do we get started? How do we use it for our training/learning needs?
I came across the this flowgram in Tom Werner’s blog post. I think its a great resource which tells you about the various resources available to educators who want to effectively use Second Life. So I think this is a good place to start with!
Posted by Vaishnavi on February 11, 2009
We at Kern have been having a heated debate about using twitter. It all sarted out with the need to update each other about work. Most often, we get so involved with our work, that we stop keeping a track of everybody else’s projects, initiatives and achievements. Somebody suggested meeting physically once a week with updates about work. A few of us find that to be a very time consuming activity. Twitter would be an ideal tool to achieve the same purpose. We are a fairly small group (about 20 of us) but even a five minute update by each individual can take quite long. Besides being a time saver, twitter will also serve as a record of our work and who knows, may increase productivity as we build our network.
Posted by Vaishnavi on February 10, 2009
This video on M-Learning is a little longish but I think it’s a great video to introduce the idea of Mobile Learning. I thought it opened up some really incredible options!
Watch it and let me know what you think!
Posted by Vaishnavi on February 4, 2009
Last week, Kern successfully conducted the first of a series of workshops that focus on using web 2.0 technologies for training. Organized exclusively for HR and Training heads, the workshop emphasized the cost effectiveness of using these tools for learning at the workplace.
To give a brief overview of the workshop, we started out by understanding the philosophy of web2.0 technologies, underlining aspects such as sharing, collaboration, and interaction, which differentiate it from the earlier web1.0. Discussions that followed tried to correlate these tools with the characteristics of the current day corporate learner. We also explored virtual worlds in some detail, allowing participants to experience the virtual world first hand. To round it all off, we exchanged ideas on how web2.0 tools can be fit into the existing training context of the organizations that the participants represented.
From the trainer’s point of view, it was interesting to see perspectives change through the course of the day. We started the day with a round of expectation setting to gauge participants’ approach to training and their opinions on web 2.0 tools in general. While nobody was entirely critical of these technologies, acknowledging their social networking potential, they were unsure about their application for learning and training. They also expressed some interesting views on the draw backs of existing teaching strategies within the class room and as e-learning modules.
Through the course the day, their opinions about web2.0 tools were liberated in a sense, with case studies showcasing the potential of these tools, and discussions that helped them visualize the use of these technologies in their own organizations. By the end of the day, they seemed more convinced about blending web 2.0 technologies with their existing training strategies to enhance learner motivation and to ensure that learning is a continuous process that takes place long after a course is completed.
We captured their feedback in this video!