Reflection on this year’s learning gifts

This time of year always lends itself to reflection for me. We are rapidly approaching the end of the year, this week I had my birthday (that always puts me in a reflective mood), and people are already voicing their New Year’s resolutions. Before I can join in on making resolutions, I have a need to review what I learned this past year.

Doris and I just concluded our online series of 3 ECO Bytes, offered through Encore Tampa Bay. The 3 Bytes highlighted why developing online learning/working skills is necessary for today’s job seeker, what those skills include, and how to be a Do-It-Yourself online knowledge worker to keep up. We concluded the series with an overview of personal knowledge mastery, the seek, sense, and share process refined and defined by Harold Jarche. Read more

How Networking to Find Your Tribe(s) Online Can Help

To get a job in your 50s, maintain friendships in your 40s

This headline from Phyllis Korkki’s article in the NYT in September 2015 grabbed, then annoyed me, for two reasons. One, it assumes that only 50 year olds are looking for work.  What about people in their sixties or seventies? Aren’t some of them seeking encore careers? The second reason the headline bothered me is the non-solution it offered.

Korkki redeemed herself by reviewing research on why it takes older job seekers (50+) longer on average—almost up to 11 weeks longer—than it does for any other age group to find new work.  Although some might legitimately claim age discrimination, more often, it’s that older people do not create and maintain the breadth of relationships that younger people do.  Read more

Disagreeing Out Loud

Doris and I have written a lot about “working out loud” – how learning is morphing in workplaces from individuals hoarding information to everyone sharing resources, processes, ideas, and expertise online and in the open in various blog posts (See this post on the benefits of working this way). One of the early proponents of working this way, that working and learning are one and the same, is Jane Hart. We have mentioned Jane Hart many times before in this blog (see our posts on her top 100 tool list for 2014 and 2015 for example) – she is a major influencer for us.

Jane Hart

Recently, she practiced what she preaches by “working out loud” and publishing her thoughts on the L&D (Learning and Development) field. In her blog, Learning in the Modern Workplace, she often talks about how the most relevant and satisfying learning happens informally and continuously, not in organized training. Her blog is widely regarded and followed, but usually does not create controversy. However, her post of November 12, 2015 entitled “The L&D World is Splitting in Two” created a firestorm of online activity in the L&D world of corporate trainers or purveyors of professional development opportunities, both from those who agreed with her points, and those who did not.

The comments on her blog range from “thank you for saying this” to those who vehemently oppose what she wrote. The beauty of the disagreement is the open, varied, and public discussion about her observations on the L&D field. Her post generated other blogs, twitter posts with hashtags, and even another blog by Jane to clarify the points she was trying to make. Read more

Our connected world in these modern times of terror, human connections, and social media

I was, like most people I know, shattered by the terrorist attacks in Paris. The city of light became the city of horror, with innocent people killed, injured, and/or frightened. In our connected world, Facebook and Twitter lit up with information, and misinformation. Those on Facebook draped their profile pictures in the colors of the French flag with an easy to use app. Mashable, the digital media website, created a twitter account “En mémoire” as a moving memorial to those killed with people posting a picture and a sentence or two about a victim. During the attacks, instagram and twitter photos flooded cyberspace. Read more

The Man Who Wrote the Book on Informal Learning

Scrolling through our Twitter feed on Monday, I saw several references to Jay Cross.  Jay wrote the book Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance in 2006. Jay credited Peter Henschel, director of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL) with the term informal learning but Jay’s book became the popular go-to reference on the topic.

Jay died last Friday.  Jay did not know Lisa and me but we knew who he was. Jay was an elearning visionary and used the internet to broadcast, test, and refine his ideas, make friends, and engage with colleagues around the world. Many loved and respected him. Harold Jarche writes about Jay here, Jane Hart gathered Twitter tributes to Jay, and Clark Quinn linked in this blog post to many people who cared about Jay, and were changed by him.

Anyway, I re-opened Informal Learning and tried to capture–graphically–a few key points that resonate with me. I hope they enrich your understanding of informal learning aka free-range, self-directed, and DIY learning and some of the changes prompted by the worldwide connectivity of the internet. Read more

21st Century Mindsets for Learning, Working, and Leading

Somehow Tom Barrett from Australia and I ran into each other on Twitter two months ago.  I clicked through to his blog, The Curious Creative, read and bookmarked several of his posts in our Diigo library, and follow him on Twitter to stay aware of what he is working on because of its value for me. Among the many issues he has raised is the importance of mindsets, toolsets, and skillsets for learning design. Here is Barrett’s definition of mindset which I really like.

Mindset (How you See, Perceive, View) – Means a set of beliefs, a way of thinking, a habitual mental attitude that determines somebody’s behaviour and outlook and how s/he will interpret and respond to situations. Without a change in mindset, the world cannot be viewed differently.

The definition shows how our set outlooks can box us into more of the same. But it doesn’t have to be so. Read more

Your Future – Working Online is a Must

Your Future: Working Online is a Must

A couple of weeks ago I went to the movies to see The Intern, starring Robert DeNiro and Ann Hathaway. Ben, DeNiro’s character, is 70 and gets an intern position at Ann Hathaway’s fashion start up. It was an enjoyable movie, although predictable. But the scene where Ben comes to work the first day really encapsulated the digital and cultural divide between post-boomers, boomers, millennials, and Gen Xers.The intern

Ben comes in a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase, pencils and pens at the ready. Everyone else is in jeans and T-shirts, buried in digital devices, with no writing implements in sight. Ben talks to everyone, everyone else texts or tweets or instagrams, uses IM, face time or Skype to communicate with each other. Different generations, different ways of working and living. Read more

The Power of Lectures and Learning Designs

Lisa and I were born curious and remain curious.  The internet helps satisfy our inquisitiveness through RSS feeds to blogs; podcasts; videos on TED Talks, YouTube, and Vimeo; MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and group discussions and research projects with colleagues online.  And as learning concierges at the Studio, we are doing work not even imagined as a career a decade ago.  So we must be self-directed, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) learners to keep growing our knowledge and skills to provide value to groups and individuals.

We are continually refining our digital literacy skills and teaching/learning designs to foster adult learning.  That’s why headings such as “Lecture Me. Really.” that appeared on October 18 in the New York Times grab our attention.

University lecture hall from nikolayhg at Pixabay,

University lecture hall from nikolayhg at Pixabay,

I admit to knee-jerk stereotypes about classroom lectures when asked what I think about them. To me, they are largely compulsory, passive, time-in-seat ventures Read more

Stereotypes: Holding us back and holding on

Doris and I have hosted a virtual Lean In group since 2013, 2 years now. We have blogged about what we discuss, read, or watch (in Lean In, Lean Out, or Lie Down for example) in the resources our group shares and discusses each month. was created by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, to provide information, resources, and support for working women and men to look at gender inequality issues at work as outlined in her book, Lean In. Sandberg encouraged the formation of Lean In Circles – groups of women coming together to support each other, review Lean In videos and use the discussion guides, and to act to create a more level playing field for women in the workplace.

Although there are now Lean In Circles around the world sponsored by business, organizations, governments, and people like Doris and I, the new study by and McKinsey, a reputable research company, was not encouraging. Women in the Workplace 2015 is the compilation of survey data from 118 companies and 30,000 employees. As the report states in a sure to be oft repeated statistic:

Female leadership is an imperative for organizations that want to perform at the highest levels. Yet based on the slow rate of progress over the last three years, it will take twenty-five years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level and more than one hundred years in the C-suite.

That is a long time, especially for those of us, like me, who attended “consciousness raising” groups in the early days of the feminist movement. Like the Lean In Circles of today, women came together to support each other, discuss gender inequality, and act to change that. It is depressing to me that although we have come a “long way baby”, we still have so far to go.

Read more

Curiosity, creativity, & the internet

Lisa’s post last week on Meaningful work for you and the world compelled me to hit the pause button.

She touched me with her descriptions of Pope Francis’s passion for people, and organic farmers’ passion for healthy food and sustainable agriculture. She also made me think about how we find and act on our passion, and how creativity plays into it.

I went to the Live Your Legend website explored in her post to learn more about how this organization helps “people find work they love that makes a difference in the world by connecting like-minded people together both online and in person.” The inspiration and tools I found there impressed me, just as the work of Encore Tampa Bay helping people in the middle stage of life refocus on their passion and purpose after long careers that ended voluntarily or rudely, enthuses me, too. Read more