Moving on up

A few of my recent blog posts have started with a lyric from a track I’ve listened to on the radio or on my iPod. This is no different. This morning it’s the turn of the 1993 hit ‘Moving on up’ by M People.

‘Cause I’m movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on out
Movin’ on up, nothin’ can stop me
Movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on out
Time to break free, nothin’ can stop me, yeah

While I’m sure the original message of the track has nothing to do with my work, January or the winter blues, it did make me think back to the last 31 days of January. For me it’s about a tough (and very long) January moving on, a new (and cold) February arriving and being able to put some things behind me and concentrate on some new, invigorating work to come.

Here are a few thoughts and articles I’ve read and/or talked about:

  • Foldable phones … will these have the same hype afforded to curved TVs, and eventually be seen for what they are: technologically advanced, but actually pretty useless?
  • I started following and reading articles by Melissa Milloway on LinkedIn, in her series ‘This Side Up’. Her latest one is a list of seven resources she finds useful when looking at and thinking about eLearning.
  • Details of the Senior CMALT (#SCMALT) scheme was released in January, which is of direct interest to me in my new role(s) … it is “aimed at more experienced professionals and those whose role includes management/leadership or research focus.”
  • I had a couple of days intensive workshops with colleagues from a partner institution at the Australian Deakin University, working on our joint fully-online PG Cert in Entrepreneurship. Wonderful to meet face-to-face and spend time with people who so far have only been on webinars, skype calls or emails. While working and collaborating remotely together can be very productive and useful (see below), nothing beats being in the same room!
  • The topic of remote working, working from home, or ‘location independent working (LIW)’ keeps coming up again and again. The recent bad weather (by the UKs standards) has meant the need to be flexible in whether myself or colleagues can get to work, so we need to carefully consider how we’ll continue to work and collaborate when not in the same room.
  • This from Australia, posted to the WonkHE website, discusses the themes and benefits (or pitfalls?) of microcredentials“The world of education is changing and changing fast. The era of the microcredential is upon us and now governments and regulators have to scramble to catch up. But as far as I can see, it’s good news for consumers who will not be hidebound to a particular institution or qualification and will be able to mix and match courses to suit their interests, budgets and emerging careers.”
  • I thought about meetings, and whether they’re always necessary or useful. What are your thoughts?
  • Is there a correlation between learning design and student wellbeing?
  • Reading Lorna Campbell’s post learning to love your blog, which led me to revisit an old idea, and . …
  • A new idea for a series of blog posts, maybe one a month or maybe even more regular. More soon as I flesh out the ideas …
  • My last highlight is this, posted by Jane Hart, about three smart things top performers do to stand out at work.

How was your January?

Image source: Roel Wijnants (CC BY-NC-2.0)

Who will become the Uber of packaged elearning content?

Nun, dass der Markt für E-Learning-Kurse wächst und dass es eine steigende Zahl neuer Anbieter auf diesem Markt gibt, ist noch keine große Neuigkeit. Aber was ist der „Uber of packaged elearning content“? Er bietet, so der Autor, am Ende des Tages keine eigenen Kurse und Programme mehr an, sondern betreibt einen Marktplatz, auf dem Kurse und Lernende zusammenkommen. 

Der Autor zitiert hier LinkedIn Learning, das im November 2018 seine  Plattform auch für Inhalte anderer Anbieter (u.a. Harvard ManageMentor, getAbstract, Big Think, Treehouse and CreativeLive for Business) geöffnet hat. Am Ende des Tages bleibt die Frage, ob dahinter vertraglich geregelte Partnerschaften oder offene Content Curation-Modelle stehen. Im ersten Fall haben Unternehmen und Lernende nur einen Ansprechpartner fürs Finanzielle (hier: LinkedIn Learning), im zweiten Fall wird nur verlinkt.
Conor Gilligan, Training Journal, 29. Januar 2019

Bildquelle: Stock Catalog (flickr, CC BY 2.0)

What does education mean to you? #EducationDay

Inspired by the tweets I’ve been reading today, and from Sheila MacNeill’s post of the same title, here is something that education and learning means to me. As with everything these days, we have the hashtag #EducationDay to use.

It must be said, or rather I must say it, that without the Internet then I would be as learned as I am. Before I became connected and before I used the Internet for collaboration I read books for pleasure, I never read a newspaper (sometimes watched news on TV), and I rarely read ‘business’ or non-fiction books (beyond an occasional biography). Becoming a Learning Technologist in 2007 opened my eyes to the power of the Internet for learning. Yes, I’d used and worked with the Internet in so much as being a web designer and working with geographically isolated communities of practice using the Internet to pull together for professional and special interest goals. But I’d not considered the Internet for online learning. Yes, perhaps I was behind the curve in this, but I’ve caught up … !

I have benefited from using the Internet to learn from others, to work with others, to collaborate and share with others. The Internet has enabled me to do things previously unknown to me and take my personal and professional development in areas and directions I know I would not have gone without it. Connections made with both individuals and institutions have taught me more than I can realistically comprehend or voice. Opportunities to find, share, connect, collaborate, curate, communicate, etc. through browsing and following online has brought me to you, and you to me.

For me, in short, my #EducationDay is a reflection on 25+ years of Internet use, where it has taken me and why. The link to the #EducationDay above (and here again) says “education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.” Yes. This. Oh yes, this. If only everyone had this chance. Which is one reason why I am trying to do a little to feed back to the learning community with me tweets, my blog posts or LinkedIn updates, and my interest and involvement a a trustee in Learn Appeal, the learning charity.

Image source: CadaverTeeth (CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Making the most of Lynda.com

I’ve been using the institutional partnership Coventry University has with Linkedin/Lynda.com and have been taking a few short, video-heavy courses to further my understanding in a few area. In light of this I took the opportunity to attend a ‘making the most of Lynda.com‘ course too, presided over by a LinkedIn representative and someone from the DMLL (Disruptive Media Learning Lab) here at Coventry.

I had three goals I wanted for this one hour session: firstly to see if I ‘understood’ of Lynda.com or could get better at using it, for my own personal learning. Secondly I wanted to see what I could do with it in relation to my management responsibilities, and lastly I wanted to explore what LinkedIn (and Microsoft by relationship to company/organisational ownership).

Notes from the 1-hour course:

  • Access Lynda.com for free using your Coventry [institutional] access (select ‘use organisational sign in’ on the login page and enter username/password. This will be remembered the next time you visit.
  • Lynda.com will be rebranded as LinkedIn Learning (already accessible, but content behind a paywall on LinkedIn Learning) within 12 months. All data (login, courses, playlists, etc.) will move across.
  • Access to Lynda.com (and subsequent to LinkedIn Learning) is free when a staff or student of Coventry university.
  • Very keen to highlight benefits of using Lynda.com with students (and staff) as flexible learning, just-in-time learning, micro/macro learning, self-directed and mobile learning.
  • Develop new skills within the workplace according to immediate or anticipated skills, use courses or individual videos accordingly.
  • Certificates available on course completion, not credit or qualification bearing.
  • Courses categorised into
    • Education
    • Technology
    • Business, and
    • Creative
  • Currently staff use outweighs student use.
  • “What’s in it for me?”
    • CPD
    • Blended learning or supplementing existing learning opportunities
    • Tutorials
    • Best practice (depending on the course creator/SME)
  • ‘What’s in it for the student?’
    • Supporting campus-based CU learning
    • Study skills / professional skills
    • Time- and self-management
    • Career management
    • Interview skills
  • ‘What’s in it for managers?’
    • Recommended course based on algorithms and other institutional users
    • Watch & reflect
    • Engage & retain
    • (Productivity related CPD?)
    • Skills and competencies learning (measurable?)

Reflection:

The purpose of the course was mainly to highlight the possibility of using Lynda.com materials as part of an academic’s teaching and learning strategy. Each academic would need to evaluate each video and/or course before being certain it is of the right ‘message’ and tone to fit into their learning, but the presentation quality is extremely high. Individual course authors and presenters are invited to write and deliver the course, these are the ‘leaders’ in their field, but anyone can can apply and suggest course idea for LinkedIn consideration. Videos are created at one of two LinkedIn studios.

The LinkedIn representative was keen to try and get Lynda.com used as part of the student learning, but I think this has more potential as an on-going and informal opportunity to team members to keep skills up to date and learn new skills, just by nature of offering a free course (Lynda.com) as part of a purchased course. By installing an on-going objective in ClearReview (Coventry appraisal system) each team member could keep track of their own personal development, and act as a reflection on their own development. This can be shared, should the individual want to, with other team members who are doing the same or similar courses, the opportunity for team collaboration is here should individuals want it.

The search function on the website is extremely good, with the platform ‘learning’ about your preferences based on activity in courses and matching new courses with your history, and that of the wider Coventry University audience. Courses are split into functional areas of ‘speciality’ (as above), you can ‘save’ courses to playlists and share certificates on your LinkedIn account (or download as PDF).

Lynda.com courses are typically 50-70 minutes in length, 100% video based, and may have a pre- and post-quiz. I don’t know what happens if you fail either one, but the courses I’ve done you get a certificate for your effort. The quizzes are not typically very difficult or time consuming.

Demonstration courses that may be of use:

Image source: Zeev Barkan (CC BY-2.0)

Conversations

At the moment I’m celebrating some, online, 10th anniversaries – in October 2008 I started blogging, I joined LinkedIn in November 2008 and I joined Twitter in January 2009.

These are quite special, I wasn’t aware of this achievement until I started thinking about something else: conversations. 

When I started blogging and tweeting, and connecting on LinkedIn, I was all about the network and conversations. I was building an interest and understanding of my role (learning technologist), my work place, and the kind of ‘things’ I needed to understand. Now, ten years down the road, 901 blog posts and 50,000 tweets later, I realise that my use of these systems and the networks I’ve built there, are changing. 

Back in March 2017 (“Dear Twitter. It’s not me, it’s you”) I wrote about my disappointment at changes to Twitter; not necessarily about the platform but how it is being used by the user base and my network. What started out, for me and many more like me, it was all about the conversation; the links and collaborative nature of being connected to likeminded individuals on a global scale, the ability to search and question and learn from others in different organisational and societal cultures, to connect and engage with senior or specialists ‘experts’ in the field of EdTech. The conversations and engagement I used to get in the early days of Twitter and LinkedIn have, I’ll admit, help me grow personally and professionally into the senior role I have. I would not have produced, managed, edited and published four books, nor would I have gained the peer-reviewed CMALT qualification, the invitation to be a trustee for the Learn Appeal charity, or the various accolades I’ve collected over the years.

What I get in my timeline feeds now is very different. There are fewer conversations in and around the work or collaboration. What conversations there are seem to be more broadcast approach rather than sharing. Being connected through Twitter or Facebook or other networks has obviously had an affect on us, we are all more informed (?) about world politics, the environment, culture, etc. and this is what most of my timeline is about now. That’s fine, I often add to the noise too, but my primary purpose for Twitter, etc. is work. I want to learn and help others learn about online/distance learning opportunities, be they MOOCs, SPOCs, online degrees, short courses, micro-learning, etc.

I also acknowledge that I have been part of the above problem too, which is why I’m annoyed. Annoyed at myself for setting sucked in and annoyed that I’m getting annoyed at the changes. Change is OK, I don’t have to like it or like what it’s changing to, but I should be able to step back and reassess what it is I want from my networks. That is what i am now doing … reassessing my use of online social tools, Twitter, LinkedIn, this blog, etc. I’ve already dropped a few (and not really noticed), will I drop those too … ?


Conversations are powerful learning opportunities. So why am I annoyed that social networks have changed the conversation?
Click To Tweet


There, semi-rant over. Thanks for reading.

Thanks for Sheila MacNeill for inspiring me to blog again. I’ll try and do it more often now; it’s good for the reflective soul searching and a good way to focus and unpick my very full and random thought process. I’ve missed it.

Image source: FHKE (CC BY-SA-2.0)

Get to know a ‘digital champion’

Earlier this week I read and shared a post on the Inside Higher Ed website: Online Learning Shouldn’t Be ‘Less Than’ and tweeted this:

The post was about the perception, for some, that online teaching was easier and somehow lesser, therefore easier, option than classroom-based teaching. Online is different, yes. Online requires a different set of skills to make it as engaging for the students, yes. Online can be more rewarding for both teacher and student, yes, for some. Online should replace classroom teaching, no.

Later I saw the same post was also shared by someone in my LinkedIn network with the associated text:

Teachers – buy your digital champions a coffee and see how they can help you with online/blended delivery. I bet their eyes will widen with excitement! (I know mine would)

This isn’t wrong, so I’m not criticising anyone here, but I disagree in that we should not limit ourselves to those already known to us as ‘digital champions’. The sentiment is spot on, I would rather have a far wider reaching approach, taking all contacts in to account, especially looking beyond My reply was:

Better still, take some time and talk to someone you don’t know very well and find out something new about them. You may just find that they are also a ‘digital champion’ in an area you didn’t even know about. Your network will surprise you, in a good way!

Let’s face it, everyone is unknown until we find out about them. Think back to all those who are currently in your network, either in your office, department, institution, Twitter, etc. I bet you didn’t know anything about them or how important they would be to your own development until you talked to them? Yes, we have to remember to keep our networks carefully maintained and continue to grow them, you never know when you find your next EdTech leader to follow and work with! You never know when they will find you and think the same about you!

PS. I prefer tea, don’t drink coffee, and a cake is a deal-breaker for me. You know, just in case we meet and you want a chat! [smile]

Image source: Danielle Chang (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Sharing

Recent themes to my work has been the nature of how, and what, we share. I wanted to reflect a little on my own ‘sharing’ here, and try and split the sharing from social media, if possible. 

There are obvious easy ways to write about my sharing (per platform) but also I want to think about the why? So, why? I can’t deny one major factor is to reach a wider audience than just those I immediately work with on a day-to-day basis. By sharing my ideas or thoughts or projects or interests I’m obviously creating and managing my brand (me) but I also hope to be of some influence to others working in the same sphere as me.

Blogging

Obviously, there’s this blog. Back when I started writing here I used to write about the day-to-day tasks and tools I used. The last few years has seen me change direction, mainly due to possible conflict of interest with where I’ve worked and the need to keep some commercially sensitive things private. I’ve developed it more recently to be about the why I do things and how I develop myself or my work, my attitude to learning and technology and how use them both. I write here to share experiences and ideas, books I’ve read and reviewed, books I’ve written and curated, etc. I write to have a brain-dump, drop ideas or stress, I write to see what you all think … What do you think?

Twitter

I share my blog posts on Twitter so I can reach more people, and engage the wider field of learning technology. It reaches more people this way and I can engage in conversations beyond my own understanding, therefore helping me widen my appreciation and knowledge for my work. My Twitter activity involved my blog but also other aspects of my work, and sometimes home life too, but mainly my work. I save tweets to my ‘like’ (although I still don’t use it as “ooh, I like this tweet” but rather as a save feature to go back and read or reply to something after the fact) and add people to my lists. Twitter is my go-to place all day and pretty much everyday. My network or followers and those I follow grows and changes all the time, therefore my exposure to new ideas or tools does too.

LinkedIn

I’ve been and gone on LinkedIn before and, at the moment, am back and engaging here again. The audience is different to Twitter, less chat and more ‘sharing’. Perhaps it’s because it’s viewed as more of my online CV, or perhaps because there’s different mechanisms for comments, etc. I don’t know, but LinkedIn is an acquired taste. Currently I like it, but I take it each day at a time with all my sharing. 

Pinterest/Flipboard

I use both these platforms more for searching and reading different themes, less so for my own sharing, but I appreciate the work others are putting into their sharing activities here. For some these are important channels for sharing their work or ideas, and that’s fine.

This is, after all, about what works for you or me. There is no rule that will work for everyone, we are each individual and have different perspectives and needs and likes, and this is what we each bring to the wider community. THIS is what makes our personal (learning) networks so vibrant and interesting. This is why I love to share .. I take so much from the community on all these platforms, I want to add something back in the hope (need?) that it makes a difference to someone like something I’ve just taken. Isn’t sharing great!


Sharing: why and how. It may be a tweet, a blog post, an idea, a photo. This is sharing. For me.
Click To Tweet


Facebook

I suppose I ought to add this here too although I’m still thinking of dumping my account here. Facebook has only ever been about family and friends. I dabbled in having a work-type account but realised the audience was the same, but smaller, than my twitter audience so decided it wasn’t worth the extra time to manage and curate it. 

Above all I try and keep my sharing professional. I have interests that creep into my sharing every now and then, mainly on Twitter. Yes, I have two kittens, I drink tea not coffee, I love Lego. But it’s still shared with a view to what my audience may be interested in. I don’t follow celebrities, for the most part, as I’m just not that interested in what they’re doing. Unless they are the kind of people I think are celebrities like Steve Wheeler, Stephen Heppell, Sue Beckingham, Amy Burvall, Maren Deepwell, et al (see the people I’ve been lucky to work with on my books, these are the celebrities in my world!). Then, of course, I’m a groupie and will follow them anywhere I can.

What about you? What is your strategy (if you have one) for sharing?

Image source: iSchumi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When everything changes

Well, it’s over four months since my last blog post, and the longest gap in my 9 year blogging ‘career’. 

Why is that? Well, apart from being busy starting and defining a new role in a new industry, I’ve not really had that much to say. I’ve tweeted, I’ve connected with people on LinkedIn, I’ve travelled (and posted photos of it, like this and this and this). I’ve rested. I’ve worked hard and lost lots of sleep over it too. 

Oh, and we got kittens too! Mostly the bite or chew everything (including the wires), but sometimes they settle down and keep me company in my home office.

But what’s only struck me really in the last few days is the lack of interest in this blog. From me. I am still active on Twitter, I’m still learning about my ‘craft’ and still learning about my new role in an exciting start-up. I’m reading and writing a lot on ageing and the wellbeing of older people, it’s just not on this blog or even in the public arena. Yet. 

Let me also be honest here, it’s not just the working environment that’s changed (shared open-plan office to my spare room acting as a home office) or the industry I’m working in (UK university to global start-up, or business school to medical/healthcare specialists), the change is in and because of me. I am constantly seeing change in my attitude and approach to issues, problems, solutions, conflict, design, learning, remoteness, connectedness (is that a word?) and my general social demeanour.

Yes, tweeting is fun and hopefully will continue to be (but then again, maybe not) but I’ve always prided myself on this blog and the way it helped me network, collaborate, communicate, reflect, etc. with everyone ‘out there’. I am still reading around the various disciplines of online/distance learning, MOOCs, etc. and putting the ideas and designs to good use. I still join online courses, not so many MOOCs these days, both for personal enjoyment and professional curiosity. I am growing as an individual and a professional, and the journey ahead is all new to me, again, and exciting too.

The rest is the future. Using the skills from my CMALT journey and as an assessor I continue to evaluate and reflect on what I do, why I do it, how it can be better (or at least different), and how I can be better (and sometimes different too). I don’t want to stand still, I don’t want to be pigeonholed into one role or a ‘one trick pony’. I am too dynamic for that – I’m not being big headed or facetious for saying this, nor am I being cocky or rude. I mean dynamic in so much as forever looking forward and around me, observing and capturing, learning from others to improve myself and my work. 

Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. (William Pollard)

Image source: Simon and his camera (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2017 Workplace Learning Report

Ich bin sicher, dass LinkedIn Learning ganz andere Learning-Reports schreiben könnte, wenn es denn wollte. Oder schreiben wird, wenn alle Profile und Daten einmal sauber verknüpft sind. Eine Umfrage unter 500 amerikanischen Learning Professionals und LinkedIn-Kunden, wie im vorliegenden Fall, wäre dann nur noch zur Abrundung nötig. Aber bis dahin müssen wir noch mit den vertrauten Top Trends vorliebnehmen: von 1) „organizations are investing more in talent development” bis „L&D professionals see room for improvement in their own programs”. Auf S.17 findet sich noch eine Liste der derzeit angebotenen Lernformate, die von „In-house instructor-led classes” und „Peer-to-peer coaching” angeführt wird. Das eigene LinkedIn Learning-Angebot wird nur sichtbar, wenn es „video-based online training” heißt, wo auch „online training” ausgereicht hätte.
LinkedIn Learning Solutions, März 2017

Vernetzt, digital, personalisiert: neues Lehren und Lernen für neue Zielgruppen!?

Am Donnerstag durfte ich den Hochschuldidaktiktag 2017 an der FH Münster einleiten. Das Wandelwerk. Zentrum für Qualitätsentwicklung und Thilo Harth hatten eingeladen. Da Münster mein Studienort und zehn Jahre lang Lebensmittelpunkt war, bin ich dem Ruf natürlich gerne gefolgt. Es gab die Verabredung, dass ich etwas über den Tellerrand schaue und den Blick für Bewegungen und Entwicklungen öffne, die sich durch die Digitalisierung auf dem Bildungsmarkt im weitesten Sinne (Anbieter, Technologien, Konzepte, Herausforderungen) ergeben. Auch, um den Teilnehmenden Impulse für eigene, neue Lehr-/ Lernkonzepte zu geben. Kurze Beschreibungen aller weiteren Impulse und Workshops finden sich auf der Seite des Veranstalters.
Jochen Robes, SlideShare, 2. März 2017

Vernetzt, digital, personalisiert: neues Lehren und Lernen für neue Zielgruppen!? von Jochen Robes