Monday, January 30, 2012

Are You a Conformist or an e-Learning Rebel?

Sometimes in life you feel forced to conform. Other times you resist this peer pressure, which some may call rebellion, but you see it as something different... you see it as progress.

There is a famous psychological test called the Asch Experiment which tests the effect of group pressure on an individual. This short video says it all:

For years the conformists in the training world have told us that face-to-face training is the only effective training method. They have been the ones turned the opposite way in the elevator, forcing their backwards beliefs on the rest of us...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

4 Tips to Communicate Online Learning Benefits to Others

We spent last week in Thailand training some organizations on effective principles found in our book, The Learning Explosion. As we presented to these different groups we had to recognize when someone wasn't understanding what we were saying because everyone's English skills were on different levels.

When we felt like someone wasn't understanding something we would slow down and speak very clearly in the simplest of terms. And even then, sometimes we would need a translator to jump in and clarify what we were saying.

For some people, online learning can be a new language. Especially for executives and others who have not really experienced it. When you're trying to sell the concept of online learning to a group that has had limited exposure to it in the past remember these four tips:

TIP 1 Slow down! Literally slow down the speed of your speech so that people can process difficult concepts.

TIP 2 Speak very clearly! Use simple terms that people understand and don't use a lot of acronyms. You may think that everyone knows what the terms LMS or asynchronous mean. It's surprising how many people don't. Oftentimes you'll hear an American increase their volume when trying to talk to a non-English speaker. Keep your volume level steady. Shouting won't  increase their understanding. Speaking clearly will.

TIP 3 Be patient! Your listeners may have a lot of questions so be patient and take time to answer them all. You may feel like you're repeating yourself, but that's OK because repetition is the father of all learning.

TIP 4 Use a translator! If you're going to be talking with your executive team, or your finance team, or some other group that may have their own lingo, find someone that understands their language and can help act as a translator for you for hard concepts that you are going to present.

When you communicate clearly, at the knowledge level of the learner, you'll find that you are able to get your meaning across and leave with the comfort that your message has been heard loud and clear...without shouting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What you can learn from your Twitter followers

We all choose to follow people who interest us, but it is often the people who follow us who are the interesting ones. Have you taken the time to learn about your followers? It would amaze you how much you can learn about a person by the Twitter handle they choose or how they use the 160 characters they have to work with when writing their Twitter bio.

A 160 characters to tell the world who you are. A 160 characters to represent your uniqueness. A 160 characters to make a memorable statement. A 160 characters to share your vision, mission, values, and beliefs. Or a 160 characters to completely blow it.

We read every single followers bio. Why? Because they are usually pretty amazing. Besides the overly commercial, the self indulgent, and just plain offensive bios out there, most people are quite interesting. Here are just a few:

@BicyclingNomad: I will be living a Nomad lifestyle on a Bike.

@__B_E_L_L_A__: Mom| Teacher| Ironman Triathlete| Insomniac| Animal Rescuer| Advocate Diversity| Celebrate Success| Humbled by my son with Autism. Lover of tech, life & people. 

@Uzair41111: Bio in fewer than 160 chars, hmmmm... okieeeee.. lets begin... a very simple guy with a cool attitude... yup.. thats it..

@UmaPurusotaman: There is a past which is gone forever, but there is a future which is still our own

@MiriamSleiman: I'm a work in progress, a little random, love food, pulling apart movies, being pessimistic and never, ever follow a crowd. 

@loughvara: Seeking excellence is not for the faint heartened! 

@swamisu11: Old Spice with Swagger....I am just saying... 

So what's in your bio?

Thanks for following @learningexplosn, and for goodness sake, please replace the generic egg with some kind of picture or image:)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Crossing the Online Learning Chasm

A chasm exists. It manifests itself through ongoing skepticism about the use of online learning.

This chasm sits between you and your learners. Between your vision and your reality. It's up to you to cross this great divide.

In Geoffrey Moore's book, Crossing the Chasm, he teaches us that this chasm IS very real and that it affects the way we all think about new online products and services. The essence of the principle is that people buy into an idea after someone they trust gives a good recommendation.

You may be working for an organization that still doesn't fully believe you can have a good online learning experience or that elearning is just not widely accepted. We've found the opposite to be true. Case in point: We just returned from Thailand where we had a meetings with several Thai government groups and corporations. When we asked how many of these groups used some form of online learning, EVERY HAND was raised. This wasn't the UK, or the USA, or some other major world power. This was Thailand! We've found the same thing in many other countries we've visited as well.

Online learning isn't new. It isn't even revolutionary. It's common. It's mainstream. It's being widely used in every corner of the world.

So, if you need to convince a boss or a client that they should use online learning just remember that you need to help them cross the chasm. Lead them across by showing how widespread it really is. How they can reach more people with high-quality training at less expense. How their peers are using it to increase their effectiveness. As you do this, you will find that the chasm isn't as wide as you originally thought.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What will you do with this turn?

photo by: niconelson
Every year you are given the chance to ride one more turn of this giant spinning orb upon which we all stand. Whether it's your 21st turn, your 42nd turn, or your 84th turn, you have a choice to make right now: Will this be the turn where you make a difference?

Will you finish that book?

Will you learn that special talent you've always dreamed of mastering?

Will you teach others how to master other skills you've already developed?

Will you discover something new? And when you do, will you share it with others?

Will you help someone with a problem because you know the answer?

Or will you just sit there. Blankly. Zombie-like. Unwilling to learn, to grow, to help and to share?

Whenever a new year comes around, or your birthday, or some other marker in time, remember that you've been given one more year. It's your turn. What will you do with it? What will you learn? What will you share?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Do you have a social media plan?

As you can tell from our previous post, we have taken a very nice break from not only social media but posting to this blog:) However, thanks to our networking goals which includes daily research, frequent posts, and ongoing social sharing, we are getting right back on track.

A typical week for the two of us includes the following Mutant Learning Lab Ritual:

> Scanning several sites, white papers, blogs, and reports for information related to elearning, social media, mobile, gaming, learning in general, and other relevant topics.

> Writing 3 to 5 short blog posts (because we believe people want info this way).

> And 40 - 50 original and shared tweets.
This plan helps us to continually learn, discover, and add to The Learning Explosion.

Do you have a social media plan? If not, decide now what a manageable schedule would look like, block out the time, and then stick to the plan!