Learning Thursday #7: How Do You Encourage Innovation in Your L&D Team?

Learning Thursday is a blog series that features a new L&D article every other week along with discussion points.  Read and then share your own ideas by commenting below!  Check out the last Learning Thursday here.

How does your learning and development team approach new projects and courses?  Does your process encourage new ideas and teamwork?

This week’s video is an oldie but goodie.  ABC Nightline documented IDEO’s process of developing a new product.  The product team formulates new ideas, refines them, prototypes, and then continues to form their original ideas into a creative but practical final solution.  I’ve always enjoyed this video because it demonstrates the power of what the narrator refers to as constructive chaos.

  1. What specific practices in the video encourage new thinking and ideas?
  2. What specific practices ensure that creative ideas are eventually formed into practical solutions?
  3. How does your L&D team work together to develop innovative products?


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‘Wise Guy’ with @GuyKawasaki

I’ve spoken before about the way in which Learning Technologists need to think and act as go-betweens in the institution between the academics, the administrators, the IT helpdesk and IT systems integrators. Oh, and definitely between the institution AND the students. Never forget the students.

We need to be both leaders, managers, workers, liaison, testers, helpdesk, mentors, specialists, visionists (is that a word?), innovators, critical thinkers, creative, entrepreneurs, etc. This is why I believe we should pay attention to how people think, work, collaborate, communicate, etc. outside of our educational roles. Hence I’m recommending you listen to and engage with people like Guy Kawasaki, speaker, entrepreneur, and evangelist.

Learning technologists need to be leaders, managers, workers, mentors, specialists, innovators, creatives, etc. #altc
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I have read quite a bit of Guy Kawasaki’s work that I believe more Learning Technologist can benefit from it. Whether you listen or watch or read about creativity, entrepreneurial activity, disruptive leaders, etc. or just enjoy hearing someone speak passionately about their work, there is something from Guy here for you.

Guy has recently started a new Facebook page in an effort to share his insight and experiences to “help you succeed”. Whilst aspect of this won’t interest or be relevant to Learning Technologist, to understand the wider concept of being creative (disruptive?) will help me/you see where and how we fit our roles and interests into the constraints of our institution and its culture.

Find out more about Wise Guy and Guy Kawasaki, as well as the weekly video episodes, on the ‘Wise Guy’ Facebook page.

“Wise Guy distills Guy Kawasaki’s decades of experience and thirteen books Into short lessons to help you succeed. Guy covers innovation, recruiting, fund raising, branding, and social media. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small-business owner, intrapreneur, or not-for-profit leader, you’ll get a ton out of this video series.”

I would go further to say that you will learn about how other people view creativity and entrepreneurial activity or thinking, about how you can also use these approaches to foster your own skills (either as an entrepreneur or creative, or working with them) and how you can learn more about yourself. Go on, what have you got to lose?

Image source: Adam Tinworth (CC BY-ND 2.0)

4 charts on how people around the world see education

Eine interessante kleine Frage des amerikanischen Pew Research Center: „… which is more important to emphasize in school: creative thinking or basic academic skills and discipline“? Auf Kreativität und unabhängiges Denken setzen mehr Menschen in den entwickelten Staaten und dort mehr Linke als Rechte, wobei die Unterschiede in den USA und Großbritannien am größten, in Deutschland und Spanien am kleinsten sind. Und schließlich: „Younger people in most advanced economies are the most supportive of education that emphasizes creative and independent thinking.“ Fürs Protokoll.
Laura Silver, Pew Research Center, 28. August 2017

Bildquelle: Ricardo Viana (Unsplash)

Digital Literacy in Higher Education, Part II

2016 hat das New Media Consortium (NMC), das auch den jährlichen Horizon Report herausbringt, mit der Unterstützung von Adobe erste Grundlagen zum Thema „Digital Literacy“ aufgelegt. Zum Beispiel mit der Beschreibung von „three models of digital literacy“: „universal literacy“, „creative literacy“, „literacy across disciplines“. Der vorliegende Part II setzt die angefangene Arbeit fort.

So werden 11 verschiedene Digital Literacy-Modelle vorgestellt (und auch grafisch sehr schön zusammengefasst!). Die unterschiedlichen Schwerpunkte einzelner Konzepte werden beleuchtet. Dann blicken die Autoren in einzelne Bereiche wie „Humanities“, „Business“ und „Computer Science“, verlinken Materialien aus diesen Bereichen und stellen einzelne Digital Learning-Initiativen vor. Statements verschiedener Experten runden die Studie ab.

Abschließend: Die Autoren haben einen klaren Ausgangspunkt, „… the idea that digital literacy is about learners as creative producers“ (S.11) Sie weisen aber abschließend darauf hin, dass die Diskussion um Digital Literacy nie abgeschlossen sein wird. Denn wer weiß heute, ob nicht Augmented und Virtual Reality, Blockchain und Artificial Intelligence, aber auch die politischen Diskussionen um „fake news“, ganz neue Fragen und Antworten aufwerfen.
Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., and Hall Giesinger, C., Part II: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.4, August 2017 (pdf)

What’s a NGDLE?

I think we’re all interested in what our VLE or LMS will look like, or indeed what it should already look like. Whilst much has been talked and written about it, perhaps this visualisation from Bryan Mathers is the best view of it yet – the “Next- Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE)”. And it incorporates Lego so well – the Lego base is the overall requirement with each building ‘block’ being added as and when they’re required – personalisation, collaboration, accessibility, etc.

According to the Educause report, the emerging needs of a NGDLE are these:
“Its principal functional domains are interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; and accessibility and universal design. Since no single application can deliver in all those domains, we recommend a “Lego” approach to realizing the NGDLE, where NGDLE-conforming components are built that allow individuals and institutions the opportunity to construct learning environments tailored to their requirements and goals.”

So what will a NGDLE look like?

So what will a NGDLE look like? by @bryanMMathers is licensed under CC-BY-ND

7 Things You Should Know About Design Thinking

Wer heute einen Raum betritt, in dem eine bunte Ansammlung von Werkzeugen, also Papiere, Scheren, Stifte, Kleber und anderes, auf ihren Einsatz wartet, hat es wahrscheinlich mit Design Thinking zu tun. Zumindest mit einer Variante dieser Methode. Sie entwickelt sich gerade zu so etwas wie einer Allzweckwaffe für Abstimmungs-, Problemlösungs- oder Ideenfindungsprozesse. Von daher ist diese Handreichung ganz sinnvoll, wenn auch sicher nur ein Anfang.

“Design thinking is a structured approach for human- centered, creative problem solving … with a strong focus on the needs of the people who will use the solution. … The process is supported by a philosophy of doing rather than just thinking and discussing, relying heavily on rapid prototyping followed by testing to ensure fast turnaround of a functional product or process.”
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), 3. Juni 2014

Learning to Think Outside the Box. Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline

Auch wenn der Artikel nur amerikanische Referenzen aufzählt: “Kreativität” ist ein Thema, eine Fähigkeit, eine Querschnittskompetenz, die immer wieder genannt wird, wenn es um zukünftige Herausforderungen und die Konturen von Wissensarbeit geht. Also gibt es eine steigende Zahl von Hochschuldisziplinen, Kursen und Workshops, die sich dem Thema annehmen, um Kreativitäts-Techniken und -Methoden zu vermitteln, nach dem Motto: “… to make creativity happen instead of waiting for it to bubble up. A muse doesn’t have to hit you.” Nicht zu vergessen: Es gibt auch erste MOOCs zum Thema (“Creativity, Innovation, and Change”)!
Laura Pappano, New York Times, 5. Februar 2014