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Jane's Gems: My 10 Favorite Articles From 2011

By Jane Hart / January 2012

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Jane Hart is the Founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, one of the most visited learning sites on the Web. In her monthly column for eLearn she shares some "gems"—useful or valuable tools, resources, and products she has unearthed for learning and performance improvement/support. In this month's column she lists her 10 favorite articles from 2011.

From more than 500 links to articles, blog posts, slideshows, reports and infographics saved in my 2011 Reading List, I recently produced a list of the Top 100 Articles that impressed me the most in 2011. But if I had to choose just 10, what would they be? Below are my 10 favorite articles of 2011, with a taster quote from each. And if I had to choose just one? Well, it would be No. 9.

1. Social Learning For Business. Harold Jarche, January 20, 2011
"Here's an elevator pitch, in 10 sentences, for social learning, which is what really makes social business work."

2. Learning is the New Work. Jay Cross, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, June 13, 2011
"In a world of rapid change, learning can never stop. A worker cannot tackle new challenges, take advantage of new information or make judgment calls on novel situations without learning along the way. More than merely being embedded into work, learning has become integral to work. Social learning at work does not exist outside of that context. Likewise, informal learning can't be isolated from work itself. Learning is work."

3. Future Work Skills 2020, July 2011
"This report analyzes key drivers that will reshape the landscape of work and identifies key work skills needed in the next 10 years. It does not consider what will be the jobs of the future. Many studies have tried to predict specific job categories and labor requirements. Consistently over the years, however, it has been shown that such predictions are difficult and many of the past predictions have been proven wrong. Rather than focusing on future jobs, this report looks at future work skills-proficiencies and abilities required across different jobs and work settings."

4. When Training is Not the Answer. Marc Rosenberg, Learning Solutions Magazine, July 11, 2011
"Too often, we offer training solutions (including eLearning) for problems that we know are not training related. We know better, but for reasons that are often, but not always, out of our control, we revert to what's comfortable and what's expected. So let's take a step back and look again at key performance problems, and how to decide whether or not training is the proper response."

5. How Social Learning is Like Gravity. Dennis Callahan, Learnstreaming, August 13, 2011
"Throw a ball in the air and it comes back or jump off a step and you come back, there's gravity. Watch two people talking over coffee or several people working on a problem together, there's social learning."

6. Social Media for Learning. Jane Bozarth, Learning Solutions Magazine, October 4, 2011
"Learning practitioners are well advised to start paying more attention to learning as it really happens—all day, as we interact with one another, as we go about the business of executing our job tasks or schoolwork. Where do workers struggle? How much time do they spend looking for something, or someone? Where is mentoring happening? How about job shadowing? Are the organization's workers turning for help from LinkedIn groups or Facebook communities? Where can we as learning professionals become part of the daily workflow rather than a separate entity offering formal scheduled events? How can we be partners in shared learning, rather than an outside entity only delivering it?"

7. Introducing the Digital Learning Quadrants. Dan Pontefract, trainingwreck, October 20, 2011
"The four classifications outlined above are connoted by a combination of one's access level through digital means as well as their own personal level of participation. The higher degree of access to digital learning methods, coupled by the participatory level of the individual, equates to their position in the 'Digital Learning Quadrants.'"

8. Learned (learning) Helplessness. Mark Britz, Learning Zealot, December 2, 2011
"If you're like me you see the future of learning as being social in a connected world, and the mindset of 'empowering' people and not one of 'allowing' them should be the norm and the first thought. And yet others, you're executives, peers and the workers you support, just don't seem to see it …or maybe it's that they can't."

9. Learning in Wonderland: The untapped potential of workplace learning. Charles Jennings, December 14, 2011
"I've taken Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland as a theme for the series. Why Alice you may ask? Well, the Alice story is all about growing up and developing and learning but at the same time seeing the world in very a different way. In Alice, Carroll (Charles Dodgson in real life) also stretches imagination and gets the reader to think 'out of the box.' The Alice story is also about seeing some standard practices as rather silly and arbitrary and understanding that there are always alternatives in whatever you do. Alice had to face the challenge of continual change and contradiction. The world was changing before her eyes at every turn and almost every encounter she had in Wonderland presented her with contradictions and contradictory characters. She could only navigate if she kept her wits about her at all times."

10. Stop Talking About "Social". Paul Adams, Think Outside In, December 18, 2011
"Social is not a feature. Social is not an application. Social is a deep human motivation that drives our behaviour almost every second that we're awake… The leading businesses are recognizing that the Web is moving away from being centred around content, to being centred around people. That is the biggest social thunderstorm, and all of us are going to have to understand it to succeed. So stop talking about social as a distinct entity. Assume it in everything you do."

For 2012, "Jane's Gems" will include a list of my 10 favorite articles and resources that I come across each month.


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