Posts Tagged ‘elearning’

Have You Taken Advantage of Me?

May 29, 2009

Have you ever taken advantage of me?

…I hope so.  I take advantage of you whenever I can. 

I’m talking to you, Bob Mosher.  Just yesterday I shared some thoughts about Training & Performance Management with my boss.  Guess what?  I stole the thoughts from you.  That’s right, I used your PowerPoint slides .  I had seen your presentation as part of a live web based tour of e-learning.  Afterward, I googled your name, found your “Performance Supports” blog, jumped to your wiki, and found the PPT in resources.  I gave you full credit, but my boss  still views me as the source of the ideas.  

I’m also talking to you, Jane Bozarth.   I first saw one of Mosher’s slides in a training session of yours.  Then I saw it in your book, E-Learning Solutions on a Shoestring.  You gave Mosher full credit, by the way.  Still, I associated the slide with you even though I knew you weren’t the primary source.  Social Learning is like that, good finders are just as valued as good creators. 

I’ve taken advantage of you, Dave Wilkins.  Your podcasts, blogs, posts, and emails have helped me understand a concept that is still new to me.  The  Overcoming the Top 10 Objections to Social Learning webinar was great for helping me examine my own resistance to integrating social learning into my training designs.  I’ve offered nothing in return, but I still hope that someday I’ll have something great to contribute. 

And you, Kevin Jones .  I even won some great elearning software, Articulate Engage, from you in an SLQTOD contest!  (update–working on it with IT folks) I’ve enjoyed your podcasts & twitter posts.    Any thoughts I have regarding Social Learning and Social Media are from you and Dave.  Oh, and guys, I’m about to initiate my first Social Learning project.  It will be like jumping in the deep end to learn how to swim, except I’ll be taking non-swimmers with me. 

I’ve taken advantage of you, Cindy Huggett.  I’ve used your PPT slides as guides to help me plan projects.  You are the one who convinced me to try Twitter, and WordPress! I attended an ASTD meeting but still haven’t joined yet,  (I will, I promise!).  I use your trainer tips from Twitter  and end up looking like an old pro…I mean that in a good way!

My Social Learning used to take advantage of people in more old fashioned ways.  I’d whine to co-workers about my work-related problems on the job.   These friends would give me new perspectives to consider, and many of them modeled better ways to get work done.  Unfortunately, I’m sure I used up some of their time unnecessarily, especially when time for small talk is added to the equation. 

Now I bring work challenges to online  communities.  Small talk is rare, and I often find that someone has already posted concerns similar to my own.  Only interested people respond, so the responses are always relevant.  Likewise,  I only respond to posts when I have something of value to add. 

Participating in these learning environments gives me an escape from other work tasks, but these online exchanges are work-related.  They influence my overall performance in positive ways, and I am in complete control of the time that I invest in this activity. 

I’m grateful to others for how much I learn from them.  My lack of contributions makes the relationship somewhat unequal, and I find that I am taking more than I give.  I hate to take advantage of people in this way, but I’m going to keep doing it. 

I hope one day I can say that you took advantage of me.  It would be gratifying if any of you could get back a little of what you’ve given.  

And now for a 1928 Rodgers & Hart song that’s creepy because it’s cute, “You Took Advantage of Me” :


Are you an e-learning elitist?

February 23, 2009

Remember the cool kids in high school, or worse, middle school?  The cool kids cast judgment on the rest of us for wearing Lee instead of Levi; for shopping at K-Mart instead of Calvin Klein.  I thought I’d seen the last of these trendmongers when I graduated from high school 2 decades ago, but I’ve discovered them here, online, in the e-learning community.   Online, The Cool Ones dictate not what to wear, but how to train.  They are slaves not to fashionable clothing but to fashionable technology.   The e-learning royalty hold court in blogs and on Twitter, reminding us with every update of their importance and our irrelevance.

“What are their names?” you ask.  “Who are these self-appointed judges of what (and who) is cool in e-learning?”     Unfortunately, the answer is…You.  That’s right, gentle reader, if you are so unaware of who the  elitists of e-learning are, then surely you must be one of them.

“No!” you say.  “Not me!  You don’t know me!”  True enough, I don’t  even know your name, or user name as the case may be.  So, to be fair, I’ve listed 3 simple statements down below.  You decide if these statements describe you.  Proceed, if you dare:

  • You call yourself an “early adopter” to remind everyone that whatever they’re doing online now, you did it first. 
  • You social network primarily to generate readership for your blogs.  
  • You take pride in your number of Twitter followers, especially the more notable names.

You can see that if these statements describe you, you’re probably an e-learning Elitist.  (Deep down, weren’t you were even hoping to be one?)  Your motives for membership in the online community are self-serving and transparent.

In contrast, maybe you were happily excluding yourself from this group with  negative answers.  Postpone your self-congratulations, and consider whether the following statements describe you:

  •  You take pride in acknowleding that “blog” and “twitter” still sound like silly words to you.
  • You scoff at the idea of e-learning having real training value.
  • Whenever you participate in any kind of e-learning experience, you simply go through the motions so that you can say you’ve done it.

If these statements are true for you, then you’re probably an e-learning Egotist.  As an Egotist, your insecurities motivate your opposition to e-learning, making you just as superficial as the Elitists you mock.  The Egotist is the flipside of the Elitist, as both concern themselves primarily with what others think of them. 

 When we focus on our learners instead of our image, and we focus on their learning rather than our delivery, we become e-learning Egalitarians.  Egalitarians welcome online community as a collaboration rather than a competition. 

Egalitarians represent the potential of e-learning.  What about yourself?  Do you dismiss e-learning without giving it a chance?  Or, in contrast, do you find yourself snickering over the clumsy participation of novices?  

In either case, the lesson is the same:

Trainer, train learn thyself.