5 Steps To Implement The Social Learning Strategy In Your Corporate Training

Organizations the world over acknowledge the importance of fostering collaboration among employees. This article outlines how can you integrate the social learning strategy to maximize the impact of your corporate training.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

When PowerPoint goes bad

What are your pet peeves about using PowerPoint? Is it the tool itself or how people use it?

I use PowerPoint, and think it is a good way to engage students and staff, and can be used as a way to spur enjoyment, engagement and interest in your subject. But that’s more about how the tool is used rather than the tool itself. So, here are some observations I’ve made over the years about PowerPoint, and how people use it ‘badly’:

  • Font – Inconsistent use of fonts across the slide deck, or even on the same slide. Using fonts that really don’t work on screen (like Times New Roman), or using Comic Sans. Please. Don’t.
  • Images – So you found Google images or another such image search. You’ve copied the image to your slide and it looks good. It doesn’t. That small image might look OK on your screen, but test it in a classroom or lecture theatre, you’ve stretched it so much it’s pixelated so much it’s almost unrecognisable.
  • Words – Writing your whole lesson in PowerPoint and spending half the lesson with your back to the class so you can read from the projector screen. Same goes if you stand behind the lectern PC and read of that screen instead.
  • Bullet points – PowerPoint makes it too easy to use them, but that doesn’t mean you should (yes, I can see the irony as I’m using them here too).
  • Colour / Templates – Just because you can lots of colour or standard PowerPoint templates doesn’t mean you should. Keep it simple so your key message shines through – the more colour / mess on the slide will only detract or hide your content.
  • Charts / Tables – Do you really need that chart or table that shows 50 different points of information.
  • Animation – I’ve never found animated stars or arrows to help the presentation. If the slide is structured properly you shouldn’t need them.
  • Clipart – Please. Don’t.
  • Volume – You may feel that your one hour presentation needs 100 slides. I’m pretty sure your audience/class doesn’t. 

If in doubt about any aspect of your use of PowerPoint, the best time to find out how you’re doing is now, while you’ve time to go and check it all out and not half way through the most important presentation of your career. Would you rather a slightly awkward conversation in private now or suddenly realise the conference venue has emptied for lunch 45 minutes early, just after you start your 16th of 135 slides?

Go find your friendly learning technologist (yes, we are friendly!), ask us to look over it and tell you what we think. We will be honest but we’ll be critical and, most importantly, constructive. We will offer support and suggestions, we will give your pointers on how to cut the information on the slides (and how to deliver it too, if you want) and we will be there to help you feel comfortable creating slide decks in future and deliver them. Every learning technologist I’ve ever met will do this, without question and without judgement; we’re just happy we can offer our expertise and make your job easier (and more successful).

There are plenty of online tutorials and help websites if you want to find out yourself about using PowerPoint ‘well’. Try sites like this and this and this.

If in doubt this video – Life after death by PowerPoint – will help you see the error of your ways.

Image source: EU PVSEC (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Reading: Lurkers as invisible learners

I’ve always been annoyed at being called a ‘lurker’, it’s a term that has a different meaning for me when talking about the engagement, or not, of students in an online class – read my post ‘Listener or Lurker?’ from 2013. In this instance the paper ‘Learners on the Periphery: Lurkers as Invisible Learners‘, by Sarah Honeychurch and colleagues, defines as a ‘lurker’ or ‘silent learner’ or ‘legitimate peripheral participant’ as.

“… hard to track in a course because of their near invisibility. We decided to address this issue and to examine the perceptions that lurkers have of their behaviour by looking at one specific online learning course: CLMOOC. In order to do this, we used a mixed methods approach and collected our data via social network analysis, online questionnaires, and observations, including definitions from the lurkers of what they thought lurking was … [our] research findings revealed that lurking is a complex behaviour, or set of behaviours, and there isn’t one sole reason why lurkers act the ways that they do in their respective communities. We concluded that for a more participatory community the more active, experienced or visible community members could develop strategies to encourage lurkers to become more active and to make the journey from the periphery to the core of the community.”

I’m far more comfortable with the terms used here, and reasons why students don’t engage perhaps how we’d like them to, or indeed in the way we design the course. We need to accept and address that not everyone taking online learning, whether it’s a free MOOC, paid-for CPD course or fully online degree, wants to be social, vocal, or indeed visible in the online environment. We can provide the base materials and ask the students to go off and read around the subjects, we can offer opportunities to engage and ‘test’ themselves on different types of course activities. The only way we know the students are engaging in the subject and materials is usually if we assign marks or grades to the activities, especially if those marks carry weight on the course’s final grade.


Honeychurch, S., Bozkurt, A., Singh, L, and Koutropoulos, A. (2017). Learners on the Periphery: Lurkers as Invisible Learners. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning. [online] Available at: http://www.eurodl.org/?p=current&sp=full&article=752 [Accessed 21 Jun. 2017].

The Importance Of Communities For eLearning Success

The importance of community cannot be overstated. Whether the community is a large, regionally-united tribe or a small online learning cohort, we know that success, engagement, satisfaction, and growth all depend heavily on the support and sense of identity that comes from a community. And what about creating communities for eLearning success?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

the uncertain future of training

Training, so Harold Jarche, ist rückwärtsgewandt. Dinge, die sich bewährt haben, werden weitergegeben und geschult. Doch es sind häufig gerade diese Dinge (Prozesse, Regeln), die zuerst automatisiert werden. Mit Blick auf eine unsichere, offene Zukunft ist Lernen gefragt. Und Learning & Development-Experten, die nicht mehr Kurse organisieren, sondern das Lernen und den Austausch am Arbeitsplatz unterstützen.

“Training as knowledge delivery is dead. When this is needed, such as learning how to do a procedural task, it will be automated through simulation. …
If you are in the training field, now is the time to expand your mental models and build capabilities in social learning support. First, become an expert learner. Then you may be ready for an uncertain future.”

Harold Jarche argumentiert (wie immer) sehr plakativ, aber trifft einen wichtigen Punkt.
Harold Jarche, learning & working in perpetual beta, 8. Mai 2017 


The 702010 Interplay

Auf den Punkt gebracht! Mark Britz legt dar, dass die 70:20:10-Formel nicht drei separate Lernformate beschreibt, sondern dass diese Lernformate eng miteinander verknüpft sind und sich wechselseitig beeinflussen (Wer einmal versucht hat, genau zu beschreiben, was die 70 und die 20 voneinander trennt, wird das sofort bestätigen …). Das Modell ist schließlich eingebettet in ein “framework consisting of mindset changes, individual behaviors, organizational structures and technology augmentation”.  Im Einzelnen:

“1. Social improves Formal Learning …
2. Social informs Informal Learning …
3. Informal inspires Social Learning …
4. Formal influences Informal Learning …
5. Informal (through social) informs Formal Learning …
6. Formal inspires Social Learning …”

Mark Britz, The Simple Shift, 1. Mai 2017


8 Top Tips For Conducting eLearning Social Media Polls

Social media is a place to read about the latest news and catch up with friends but it's also a valuable feedback tool for eLearning professionals. In this article, I'll share 8 top tips for conducting eLearning social media polls.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.