Personal Learning is in Your Future!

Doris and I have been musing about learning and reflection in this series of blog posts. I began with Reflection and Journaling: Seek, Sense, Share and Doris followed with Adopting the Habit of Reflecting and Journaling in Your PKM. We both explored how reflection is necessary for understanding and assessing one’s learning, and how developing reflective habits, such as journaling or blogging, increase learning.

We have also written about the new world of work in several of our blogs, highlighting the rise of the contingent workforce, project-based work, and the future of work. All of our blogs point out today’s new reality:

  • It is up to you to develop your skills and know how
  • Keeping up with the digital world is a must
  • Working collaboratively online is the new norm
  • Contracting is the new employment, often project-based and short term

Read more

Getting your resume noticed by ATS and human screeners

For the last 2 weeks Doris and I have been exploring job boards – their use, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. As part of the research I did on What are job boards, and do they work? I uncovered the fact that applicant tracking systems, or ATS, make the determination of which resumes to pass along to employers, and which to reject based on keywords and other searchable elements. Job board ATS reject 70 – 90% of applicant resumes. Large employers also now use ATS to sift through the piles of applications before a human takes over the hiring process. Up to 90% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS.

Doris pointed out last week in her blog Boomers looking online for work: some things to consider, the Jobvite index shows that employee referrals are the best way to get hired. I wondered, between most resumes being weeded out by ATS and most hires being from employee referrals, are job boards worth the effort? 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

Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tool List

For the last 8 years, Jane Hart has conducted a poll to determine the top 100 tools e-learning professionals deem as most useful for them. We reported on the list last year, with both Doris and I generating our lists of tools we use to seek information, make sense of it, and share it out with others like you!

The poll closes on September 18, so you can still contribute. Hart will be announcing the 2015 list on September 22. The results from the 2014 list was a compilation of 1038 people from 61 countries. It will be interesting to see what the make-up is for this year.

I took the poll, and then compared what I chose this year and last year as my top 10 tools. I found that this comparison allowed me to reflect on my learning, see if I had expanded my personal learning network (PLP) and who I now include in my “tribe”, and identify any changes Doris and I have made in working together or in helping others learn, collaborate, cooperate, and work online. Read more

Why Tech Leaders Desire Liberal Arts Graduates

In recent years, we have heard a lot about STEM careers (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) ensuring a secure future in the workplace. STEM programs have been promoted in schools to encourage students to become interested in these generally well paying professions. As a result of this emphasis, Liberal Arts studies and colleges have fallen out of favor and are viewed as a waste of time and money by many. The general sentiment was that getting a liberal arts education was tantamount to “antiquated debt-fueled luxury goods.” as Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder puts it. Although he studied Philosophy at Stanford, he doesn’t credit his education with contributing to his success.

Recent articles in The Future of Work from FastCompany, Forbes, and US News and World Report argue otherwise. Read more

Changing at the speed of light – more workplace trends

The last few weeks we have been blogging about workplace changes: the contingent (contracted) worker economy; new platforms acting as “match-makers” for project-based workers and companies; future worker skills and abilities. As if this was not enough change, the two most recent issues of the Harvard Business Review surfaced even more: blowing up HR and working with an augmentation mindset. My world, and my head, are spinning!

photo from:

In December I blogged about the Association of Training and Development changing its name to the Association of Talent Development. Many members of ATD are in HR departments, and provide in-house or contracted workplace training. This shift reflects some of the suggestions in the “Blow Up HR” article in HBR July-August 2015 edition.

As work is automated, and machines get smarter and develop artificial intelligence, workers are already and are going to continue to be displaced. Augmentation, according to HBR in the June 2015  edition, is

seeing smart machines as partners and collaborators in creative problem solving

The article states that augmentation will usher in a new era of work as humans and machines meld.

How is blowing up HR and learning to partner with machines connected?

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How can you avoid the viral vortex of social media?

Have you Googled, Binged, or used another search engine to find out about yourself? It can be an amazing experience! Most people forget that virtually everything you post online is there permanently. You may think you are deleting things, but your digital life does not go away. You might find your search uncovers posts you thought were trashed or private.

Today, anyone’s posts can become viral in a nanosecond, especially on twitter or snapchat. Yes, twitter goes by so fast, and snapchat disappears quickly, but tweets get retweeted increasing their lifespan, and there are now apps that capture snapchats and store them forever.

Most of us have posted a message on email or social media that we regretted after hitting send. They may have been insensitive, derisive, angry, or if taken out of context, offensive. It is hard to tell tone and demeanor in the digital world, so even what you consider a harmless post can be misinterpreted. I certainly have experienced this, both as the sender and the receiver.

You can take preventive measures to ward off these consequences (see my blog on email communication, for example), but doing so takes focus, presence, and persistence. Is it worth the effort?
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Learning in new ways: this means me!

Doris and I have just begun taking an interactive, completely asynchronous online “workshop” with one of our main influencers, Jane Hart. The title of the “workshop” is Modernising Training Content (she is British, hence the spelling differences). Here is the description:

Much of today’s e-learning is unappealing, and differs greatly from the resources enjoyed daily on the Web. This workshop looks at how to modernise training content to bring it more in line with that found on the Web, as well as how to make it available in more flexible ways.

Jane will be our learning guide. She says this about the structure of the workshop:

Jane Hart, our Learning Guide

Please note this is not a traditional online course. As it is hosted on our social platform, think of it more as a place for socialising and learning from one another – rather than an online classroom! Each week a set of reading and practical activities will be released, and you are invited to work through them as best suits you and fits in with your working life, and then share your thinking and your work with the group. Although nothing is compulsory, you will find that the more you “learn out loud” with the other participants, the more you will get out of the workshop

Doris and I have written a lot about online learning, working and learning out loud, and creating learning networks and bubbles. Although we have participated in MOOCs and other online professional development opportunities, Jane is explicitly giving us permission to learn and work in the course as we can. She does emphasize, as you see in the quote above, that the more you invest in the workshop, the more you will get out of it. Read more

International Women’s Day and Women’s Ways of Working

Monday was International Women’s Day, and it was inspiring and sobering at the same time to hear how, in some cases, far women have come but also how far women still have to go to achieve parity in the workplace, safety in their homes, economic security, and value in society. Many women live in poverty, are considered property, enslaved, or are still chattel.

It was an opportunity to celebrate the many gifts, talents, and skills women have to offer the world. Begun in America in 1909 as America’s National Women’s Day to highlight the poor working conditions women were subjected to, it became an international holiday observed by Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland in 1911. In 1975 the United Nations declared it an official international holiday. On Monday the official international holiday turned 40 years old. Read more

5 More Insights from the IFWE – International Forum on Women in E-Learning – Conference

Doris did a masterful job of writing about her insights from the IFWE conference. I too have been reflecting on my conference learning; here are some additional insights I have. Some are definitely BFO’s (Brilliant Flashes of the Obvious – courtesy of Katie Blott – see Doris’s blog)!

Attending a Woman’s Conference is a Great Experience

IFWE photo

IFWE theme photo for the 2014 conference

I was a little unsure of what an all women’s conference on e-learning would be like, and discovered that at least at IFWE, it was a freeing and wonderful opportunity. The conference theme was: IFWE Walk in Her Shoes. The conference brochure states: “….share best practices, establish valuable relationships, and explore ways to be effective leaders. This year’s theme takes us a little deeper into what it means to work as a team in a diverse world. Sessions and speakers will push participants to consider how others tackle life’s problems both personally and professionally, understand what it means to be a strong but empathetic leader, and move forward in their own E-learning career path……IFWE is about sharing and learning information, but it’s also about rejuvenating the spirit.

The conference walked the walk (not just San Antonio’s River Walk) and not just talked the talk. The women I met were smart and accomplished, but also open, generous, and came to the conference in the spirit of sharing learning and experiences as opposed to being competitive. It was a spirit of sisterhood, and both Doris and I felt welcomed, valued, and included from the first encounter. From the keynote speakers to the workshops to the frequent and sustained laughter in the hallways, it modeled how the personal and professional can and should walk side by side in our lives. The conference did walk in all our different sized and styled shoes. Read more