Archive for November, 2006

‘Tis the season

Having had to deal with spinning up and integrating several groups of “temp” workers in a previous job, I found this seasonal analogy¬†from Training Day kind of appropriate ūüôā

The wikis are coming! The wikis are coming!!

I got this link from a post by RaySims on the Learning2006 wiki.¬† It details the [viral] rise of wiki use in a couple of different companies.¬† A couple of things that struck a chord from the article…

1) it is the “tech-savvy entry-level employees of so-called Generation Y” that are driving the adoption of the technology.¬† Maybe my earlier post about the learning/adoption curve is unfounded.¬† Remeber when computers first¬†starting appearing on a large scale in¬†the business environment?¬† I remember a movie – someone help me out here –¬†where there was a rebellious male gymnast and he¬†came from a lower-middle income family and he had all these demons he struggled with and had a¬†strained relationship with his father¬†– in part because his dad was loosing his job because he didn’t have “computer skills” (although I can’t remember exactly how the situation was described in the movie) and everything was “BAD”.¬† Then the kid pulls it¬†together and starts training hard.¬† ¬†<cue inspirational music>¬† During the “workin’ hard now”¬†montage of him working out¬†in some dusty barn or something there are cut scenes of other aspects of his life where things are coming together.¬† In one of the scenes his dad is sitting¬†in front of a huuggggee¬† computer¬†(the shot is from behind the machine, but I can just imagine the green cursor blinking) and he’s got a manual open in one hand and is¬†search-and-destroy typing with the other one and has a look of Iron Determination on his face.¬† And, of course, everything becomes “GOOD”.¬† Concerning this “cultural” change,

“People are interested in the idea, but not everyone wants anyone to read their content or change their content,” [Novell employee Lee] Romero said. “It involves a mind-set and culture change. But once people start using it, their mind-set changes. They come to realize we can all be trusted.”¬†

I can understand, I’m a little intimidated by it myself.¬† But is the application of¬†Web 2.0 to the workplace any different than the initial introduction of computers themselves 20+ years ago?¬† Are we going to start hearing people complaining that now that they’ve figured out how to program the VCR they need their 10 year old to post to the company’s intranet for them?¬†Maybe we should start training sessions with “…you’ve become [or ‘will become’ for GenY’ers] your parents…”

2) Concerning the “security” issues that I invariably hear as part of this discussion…

“We don’t have a wiki police group,” Redshaw said. “We just think it’s the way the business runs. All a business is, is human beings talking to each other, trying to get stuff done.”

Exactly!¬† I know that I join others (Brent Schlenker in particular) when I say “if you want people to work [or learn] more effectively, get out of their way.”¬† In addition to our natural resistance to learn new things unless prompted, I wonder if part of the hesitancy of adoption is based on our fear of losing “control” which has traditionally been our “value”.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the need for proper safeguarding of sensitive information – I’ve been personally burned in that space before – but I think we need to recognize that it is also possible that we are playing the control/security card out of professional (and personal?) insecurity as much as our altruistic feelings for our employer.¬† Bottom line you’ve got to, uh, trust the¬†people you work with.¬† Imagine that.¬†

It’s the best time of the year…

That’s right, I’m talking about Thanksgiving.¬† Absolutely the best holiday of them all.¬†

As Christmas has finally been¬†hijacked by radio stations (Jingle Bells on the afternoon of Halloween?!?)¬† and Wal-Mart (fake trees and nylon Santa air bags half-way through October?!?) Thanksgiving has [for me] officially displaced it.¬† Sure, Christmas has long suffered from corporate created overexpectations, but Valentines Day and birthdays have been grappling with that since Day 1.¬† Saint Patricks day is innocuous enough – if you don’t deal with pinching-prone people – and maybe I would appreciate it more if I were of a stronger Irish heritage (although many people have referred to me as Paul O’Fender) but, The Day of Much Food a¬†Little Football¬†and¬†Few Additional Expectations has emerged as a truly enjoyable holiday.¬†¬†¬†Allow me illustrate:

Traditional Holiday Meal: t-daydinner.jpg

Aside from my youngest with a little case of red-eye that I’m too lazy to edit and my oldest trying out for the All-Amish eating team, this is a pretty straightforward celebration. Way to look happy kids! Keep up the enthusiasm boys!

Now, add Thanksgiving, and this is what you get:  t-daydinnermaddenstyle.jpg

Look at Katy lean into that blindside fade block by Hanna so she can bounce off and complete her route to the potatoes!  BAM!

See Andrew get cut off by Elli (after she’s already completed her GrabARoll Hitch pattern!!) when he doesn’t penetrate! BOOM!¬† NO POTATOES FOR YOU – LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE EATING SALAD ON THE OPENING DRIVE THERE MISTER!

Susanna has probably the easiest assignment – a simple fly pattern to the stuffing.¬† But what’s this?!? Zach has bounced it outside and come off the YamBlock by Becky offering secondary pursuit to stop Susanna!¬† THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!¬† SECOND EFFORT GETTING TO THAT STUFFING!!¬† He even picks up some cranberry sauce on his way – laying the groundwork for success in the Turkey phase of the game!¬† HE WON’T BE DENIED ON THE OPENING DRIVE!¬† THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS GUY SPECIAL!!

WHich, of course leaves Mom at First and Yams while Dad is in the locker room with the plate of Turkey. 

That, my friends, is a holiday.

Since we’re all into learning, it’s also an illustration of using an illustration – but you alread knew that ūüėȬ† Happy Holidays all – I LOVE this time of year!

BrandonHall Network

I was introduced today to the Brandon Hall Network.¬† Apparently this is a <buzzword>“social networking”</buzzword> site for learning professionals.¬† I’m quickly being reminded of why I gave up on figuring out how to exist in the ‘Learning 2.0’ world last year… (buckle up, here it comes)

How, on earth, can we expect learners – especially in a “working” environment – to make sense of all this?¬†¬†Now, I [humbly] consider myself a pretty hip¬†dude and all of that but the deluge of information I’m having to deal with is simply overwhelming.¬† I’ve already changed RSS aggregators¬†three times, been through 2 wiki environments [only one of which I feel semi-comfortable in], and spent (several!) hours trying to comprehend/navigate the blogosphere; and we expect¬†a learner to just slide in and absorb all of this?¬† Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view) I’m exceptionally motivated to understand all of this stuff and have recently been,¬†uh, ‘blessed’ with some free time.¬†¬†If I were in a work environment and told, for example, “…here are all the resources you need to complete your orientation program, knock yourself out” or “…to help you learn how to use our new widget press,¬†read this guy’s blog and interact with¬†your co-workers and the manufacturer in the wiki…” I would honestly look at you like you’re crazy – mostly because you are.¬† On the other hand, if you are going to spend time walking me through all of these resources and spinning me up on how to use them (or even what they are(!)), then why don’t you just spend that time training me directly on what I need to know?¬†

I have to wonder if the adaptation curve to the technolgy that enables ‘Learning 2.0’ is going to [more than] counterbalance it’s potential. Maybe I’m entering the “honeymoon is over” period <sidebar>(or maybe the fact that my 10 yr. old woke my wife and I up @ 2AM this morning by turning on the light and saying “I feel worse than I did when I went to bed” then puked all over the hallway carpet)</sidebar> but, really, when the rubber hits the road and¬†it’s time to learn something, how much time can we afford to use explaining the environment we’re forcing the learner into?

Learning 2.0

Since returning from L2K6 I’ve been trying to put my finger on exactly what Learning 2.0 is.¬† I thought it would be metakewl if I actually used what I was talking/thinking about to define what I’m talking/thinking¬†about.¬†

Do be a dear, and pop on over to make a contribution of your own…¬† http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_2.0

MWM seeks relationships, spiders.

Technorati Profile

In like Flynn. Flin? Flynne? Flinn?

Some kind words from Brent.¬† I would have to argue that I wasn’t screaming, but since it has taken me ~1 year to finally make the plunge since hearing about “Learning 2.0” last year I would have to agree with kicking, and, with “the goodness of all most¬†things Web2.0″ ūüėČ

As for my Second Life entry issues, let’s just say this;¬†if you ever contact your ISP’s “Customer Service” and the agent/rep/associate/peon/whatever says “…no, we don’t block any ports, but I’m going to document your issue and have our 2nd level support team double check to see what else the problem may be”.¬† Then you can rest assured that what that person meant to say was “…no, I have no idea what you’re talking about and I’m not able to randomly stumble across a related entry in our database of canned documentation during the¬†20 minutes of your time I’ve just wasted.¬† I’ll have to find the one person in our center that has your answer (the guy with the Klingon t-shrit, not the guy with the Romulan one) and then that person will call you back to solve your problem in 3 minutes.”

At that point you can groan and say…¬† “why don’t you guys find a way for the guy in the Klingon t-shirt to contribute/edit/update your database real time, stick a smart search engine on it or at least¬†have everyone in the center keep an eye on an IM window?”

I would be willing to bet that if I called tomorrow with the exact same question and got the exact same guy (probably in the exact same “Spock Lives” t-shirt) I would get the exact same answer “… our 2nd level support team will contact you shortly.”

Quick story about the unexpected hazards of the “new” web.¬†¬†Once I finally got into SL last night, I was messing around with how I appear and all of my [small]¬† children gathered around “…cool…¬† awesome… are all of those other people real live people too?… can you shoot them?”¬† I was struggling with the interface and clicked on “Take Off” once by accident.¬† Before I could figure out how to replace what I had removed, my wife in comes and asks what all the excitement is about.¬† My 4 year old replies, very-matter-of-factly, “oh, Daddy got his new program to work so now he’s running around the Internet with no pants on.”

Maybe the “new” web isn’t so different from the “old” one.