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Jane's Gems: 10 Must-Read Articles from January

By Jane Hart / February 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 January 2012.

From more than 120 links to articles, resources and books that I saved last month in my 2012 Reading List, here are 10 must-read articles chosen for eLearn Magazine readers. I have listed them in chronological order and I've also added a quote to give you a taster of what each is about.

1. Informal Learning, the 95% Solution, Harold Jarche, January 4, 2012

Informal learning is not better than formal training; there is just a whole lot more of it. It's 95% of workplace learning … A significant percentage of workplace learning professionals are solidly grounded in that 5% of workplace learning that is formal training. They know the systems approach to training (SAT), instructional systems design (ISD) and the ADDIE model (analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation), among some less useful things like learning styles and Bloom's taxonomy. There are plenty of hammer-wielders in corporate training departments, supported by an entire industry, including institutions and professional associations, all addressing that 5 percent.

2. Creating Learning Experiences that Connect, Inspire, and Engage, Beth Kanter, January 5, 2012

Content delivery is less important than the skill to making sense of it, and that needs to be what "classroom time" is about. The instructor's role should be to facilitate this understanding for their students, not dump content on them.

3. Stop Creating, Selling, and Buying Garbage, Clark Quinn, January 12, 2012

I was thinking today (on my plod around the neighbourhood) about how come we're still seeing so much garbage eLearning (and frankly I had a stronger term in mind). And it occurred to me that there are multitudinous explanations, but it's got to stop.

4. Training vs. Learning—Which do you create? Brent Schlenker, Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, January 17, 2012

With the growing discussions around informal vs. formal "learning," we've come to realize that, in fact, we DO NOT create learning. And yikes! Learning actually happens without our interventions. So, to say that we "create learning solutions" or something like that is actually quite silly. Our bodies, mostly our brains, handles the learning side of things. The human body is a learning machine. I hope this isn't shocking to anyone.

5. 7 Reasons Why Facebook is the Front-runner in Social Media Learning, Donald Clark, January 18, 2012

Interestingly, students argue that they prefer Facebook in learning because they're already there and it's easy to use. Almost all students are on Facebook and they're there all of the time receiving updates all day long, so you can tap into their daily flow and make learning a part of their life, not just a chore through talks, tasks and tests. In fact, many report that they already, informally, use Facebook to ask each other questions, make enquiries about assignments and generally catch-up. So it makes sense to amplify that behaviour.

6. The Agile Learning Train is Leaving the Station, Jay Cross,, January 18 2012

A sustainable workscape must provide the means and motivation for corporate citizens to learn what they need: the know-how, know-who, and know-what to get things done and get better at doing them. This takes more than access to social networking tools, blogs, and wikis. Self-organization helps but L&D professionals need to supplement social systems with scaffolding that focuses on learning. Without that, many organizations will descend into an aimless world of social noise and meaningless chit-chat.

7. This is Not Your Parents' Software Training, Yammer Blog, January 20, 2012

Remember, your training is not about a single class, which is refreshed once a year. It's an ongoing dialogue, which aims to enrich the novice, the advanced, and the expert-all at the same time. You as the trainer, will learn quite a bit in the process yourself. Guide people, but give them the freedom to discover the possibilities. In the words of Allison, "your job is not to turn on the lightbulb, it's to facilitate others turning on their own lightbulbs."

8. Evolving Training into the Perfect Hole, Gary Wise, January 22, 2012

How do we overcome the current training paradigm? Yeah, I know, the word paradigm is just a wee bit overused, so feel free to insert something else. Truthfully, we [Corporate Training] have promoted a way of thinking and doing for years, and our stakeholders, be they internal business unit leaders or external clients, have fallen into line and walk the same parade route year after year with us. In other words, we are all as guilty as we are comfortable with the status quo.

9. Managers and Mad Hatters: Work that stretches, Charles Jennings, January 27, 2012

Manager support and active participation is vital to develop and support a culture of continuous learning. Arguably the role that managers play is far more important than that of either L&D or HR. The research supports this. It also supports the fact that the "whole is greater than the sum of the parts" when leaders, line managers, HR, and learning professionals align their efforts and each takes accountability for part of a combined workforce capability development strategy.

10. Nuts and Bolts: Opportunity Knocks? Jane Bozarth, January 31, 2012

We talk a lot in this business about client requests, stakeholder needs, and formal design processes. But sometimes a performance issue is so glaring and has such a simple and obvious remedy, that we could just skip all the rigmarole. Sometimes we don't need a needs analysis or storyboards or a committee to review it all. And sometimes, when it isn't directly related to a specific work task or role, or happens so often it becomes white noise, we may miss a glaringly obvious opportunity to fix a problem.

Copyright is held by the author. ACM 1535-394X/12/02 $10.00

DOI: 10.1145/2129230.2150312


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