Saturday, July 29, 2006

Informl Learning Treasure Trove

I was reading George Siemen's eLearnspace feed and my curiosity was picqued by a link to Joyce Valenza's .ppt resource on Information Literacy for 21st Century Learners. She brings together tools like blogs, wikis, podcasts...and contrasts the nature of learners today with the nature of effective research (using sources beyond Google). I must have added 20 of the links in her .ppt to my page. Based on her .ppt, I would love to be one of her students. Sometimes, teachers and librarians do it right!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Learning Fatique

I am wondering if we are starting to experience learning fatique: Diane's post about being out of the office on travel and while sick; JP's post about caring for a family member and client demands; comments made at Monday's session; my own subliminal suggestion that I am feeling overwhelmed by the portion size of my "Dagwood Informl sandwich."

I suppose we all are continually prioritizing what must be done against what we would like to do. If that is the common condition, then how does one make time for informal learning? My bicycle does not have the same urgency and command of the bus! If I miss the bus, I'll be late for work and my boss will notice. If I don't get on my bike, it will just stay in the garage and collect dust.

Is there something about the modality of informal learning that would help keep the dust off my bike? Something beyond what we are now doing? Something that would provide even more flexibility as to when, where, and how I ride my bike?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

InformL is a pretty big bite!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Emotional Connections in Cyberspace

Cyberspace is such a corny word -- I suppose I could use Jay Cross' term of internet cloud, but somehow that doesn't do it for me either.

Anyway, in an earlier post, I remarked how I had not felt a social connection with U2 cohorts. A electrically charged thunderstorm fried my satellite system last weekend and since then I have been hanging out in sandwich shops and coffee houses, snagging bandwidth to try to stay on top of my email and keep up with the Pub postings, others' blogs, etc.

When I am in my office sans internet connection, I am incredibly frustrated. My hubby has noticed a marked spike in grumpyness. As a woman of a "certain age" there is nothing else to attribute my sour mood to other than connectivity withdrawal.

I personally know only 2 people in U2. Yet I've chatted, skyped, emailed or read the blogs of most everyone in the group. So is the connection I am withdrawing from electronic, personal, social, metaphysical, or ..... what?

Where is this satellite repair person??? My marriage may depend on a repair coming soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Leigh Blackwell's Wiki-space

Skype Team B met yesterday and had an interesting conversation about how successful unmotivated learners would be with Informl. My question is: Are learners unmotivated because they don't want to learn, or because of the way they are forced to learn? Have traditional educational methods sucked the motivation out of the learning process?

Serendipitiously, in my mailbox was a post from George Siemens and he references the wiki space article by Leigh Blackwell titled Teaching is Dead - Long Live Learning. George is author of eLearning Resources and News, a summary of his weekly blog.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Our June 12 UnWorkshop

Informl Learning a Solution for Reticent, MIA Upper Level Managers?

I did a presentation for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce last week on workforce development (specifically: diversity and performance planning systems) for their HR for Small Businesses Series. Although the topics may seem divergent, the overall theme of the talk was that people are the only sustainable market differientator. Two management tools I recommended are multicultural marketing and a balanced performance management system. Regardless of the rhetoric we hear from Washington, an impending labor shortfall increases the probability that the US will make up its shortfall through immigration or visiting worker programs. Customer bases will change, as will the labor pool. Small businesses should be thinking about how to diversity their workforce, adopt a multicultural marketing strategy, and use sound performance management principles. So much for the take-aways from the talk.

During the Q&A, a seasoned consultant in the audience asked how to get C-level and mid-management level people into training classes. "They are too busy and don't want to admit they may don't know already." I gave the pat answer: "Starts at the top," but in retrospect, it was an insufficient answer.

Seems to me that informal learning may be a better answer. Assuming the C-levels and mid-managers are capable, high-achievers, self-starters, and are expected to be self-directed, an informal learning infrastructure may be the ideal environment for them.

As I explore informal learning, I am finding it to be particularly enriching. I am having fun going in my own direction, at my own pace, on my own schedule, and in ways that are consistent with my objectives. I suspect that would also be appealing to upper level managers, who would likely prefer the moniker and image of life-long learner to trainee.

I am curious about the social aspects of learning and how that can be done informally. As I pursued the blogs and participant information of my cohorts this weekend, I did not feel a personal connection to the other participants of Unworkshop2. Perhaps that will come in time, or maybe it is my tendency to be an online lurker ... Can a lurker be social? Can a lurker learn? Are lurkers and social networks mutually exclusive? Would executives more likely be social learners or lurkers?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'd like to crystalize my thoughts around informal learning, self-directed learning, knowledge management, visual language. This is where I will post my ideas and explorations.