Becoming a digital nomad

My last post explained that I’m experimenting with working remotely from another country – Digital nomad technology. Well now I’ve arrived, got settled, and have already completed a few weeks of work. Here’s how it’s all going:

If there’s anything you would like to ask about my learning journey as a digital nomad please ask.

Learning, design, and curated resources

Design Curated Studio Contemporary Creative

Content curation to me is not just one thing or one methodology. I see content curation as different techniques for using (and sometimes modifying) already existing resources rather than creating from new. From this perspective there are a lot of different ways curated resources can be used for learning. Here are some ways content curation techniques can be implemented into learning and learning design.

Pure resource curation

 

“The hunter gatherer of content curation”

 

What does this look like?

This is gathering existing resources/information/artefacts on a topic and putting it in one place to grab at your will. You’ve hunted (or used a tool to hunt) for the content and now its gathered in one place. Although you’ve filtered and selected the best content there is no rearrangement of it. It is simply made available in it’s raw form.

Here’s a personal example; at the moment I’m learning about interactive video and 360 video as a learning solution. To research this area I’m using a content curation tool http://www.anderspink.com. I have kept all my curated content in one area:

curated content 360.png

When content curation is mentioned it is this usually this method that is being referred to. Where information is hunted and gathered into one place and then utilised and/or shared.

Ideas of when you could use pure content curation:

  • Researching a specific topic
  • Watching trends in an industry
  • Gathering resources to support Special Interest Groups or learning communities

Don’t stop here though, this is only one method. There are more ways to use curated resources, such as, story based curation.

Story based resource curation

 

“Using existing resources and arranging them to create a different point of view”

 

What does this look like?

This is where resources are collected to make a new idea or story that is separate and different from the individual resources. They are arranged together to tell a story. The resources could be organised into a timeline or simply tell a story from comparing their similarities and differences. Good curation means you won’t need to overtly tell the story as the resources will do this for you.

“The whole is greater, than the sum of it’s parts” – Gesalt Psychology

Many museums are particularly good at this type of curation. Look for examples of this method at your local museum.

 Ideas of when you can use story based resource curation:

  • Showing changes over time
  • Using similarities or differences to tell a story

 Audience based resource curation

 

“Crowd sourcing and sharing curated resources based around a topic or task”

 

What does this look like?

The key difference here is who is finding and sharing the resources. Instead of resources being shared out from a central point like a Learning and Development department, they are instead being sourced by those who will use them and then shared into a central point. It is more active as it involves the audience in curating resources themselves.

An example of when I’ve used audience based curation are the research and share activities I designed in a university level course. Students were asked to search for relevant examples of the topic being studied and then share those onto Twitter with a set hashtag so others could view. Read more about this example here

bigstock-Share-edited

Ideas of when you can use audience based curation:

  • Great for micro search, find and share activities
  • When you want the audience to find examples of content that are relevant to their own experiences
  • Good for audiences with a wide range of different backgrounds or experience levels
  • Good for when the content or topic is rapidly changing and developing – a technique to keep the content current

These aren’t the only ways you can use curated resources for learning. How do you use content curation for learning? I’d love to hear your examples or thoughts.

 

Development and learning plan 2017

bigstock--130096466.jpg

As promised in my previous post Taking charge of your own learning I’ve drafted my development plan for the next 6 months or so.

This year I’m completing a career experiment so a lot of my development plan centres around this. I will be basing myself remotely for half the year in Vietnam. I figure I’m frequently designing and developing learning solutions for people who are working and learning remotely, so why not put myself in their shoes by experiencing working totally remotely too! That and I like a challenge and to be scared out of my comfort zone!

Some things that are important to me whilst working overseas are to maintain regular easy contact with my clients and social network, to avoid getting professionally isolated, and further develop my technical skills.

You will see from my development plan that a lot of my learning will be supported by research, curated content, social networks, reflecting and putting what I learn into practice. Most of it’s free and accessible, learning does not need to rely on a professional development budget or attending face-to-face courses. These are the sort of things you can do to develop without needing permission from your manager. I will be  working out loud as I develop these skills and work through my development plan.

This plan is a map for my intended development and there could be diversions as opportunities come up. I am open to your suggestions if you see anything that may be useful. Also if you have skills in the areas I’m looking to develop and are willing to share your experience please contact me.

Lorraine Minister’s Development Plan

Do you have a professional development plan? How do you take charge of your own learning?

Developing flexible modern content

bigstock-Power-Of-Knowledge-Line-Style--97636706.jpg

Over the last several weeks I have been participating in Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning group. This weeks task is to look at developing flexible modern content in the workplace.

So what does this mean? In Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning she identifies that technology and web is enabling new ways of learning. That people are becoming more self directed to solve their own learning and performance problems and this approach is very different from traditional learning approaches. Modern content is continuous, on demand, bite sized, on the go, social, not designed, serendipitous and performance orientated. Read more in chapter 2 of Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning – A resource book for L&D.

I agree with all of Jane Hart’s observations on the characteristics of modern learning. Here’s a personal example of modern learning in action. My husband recently built a pizza oven at our house. He had never laid a brick and is a bus driver and stay at home dad by day. He did not go on a pizza oven building workshop, nor did he get tutored or mentored on how to build pizza oven. Instead he was self-directed in his problem solving and researched the web and found websites and Youtube clips with how to build different types of pizza ovens. He took bits of information from different sites, sometimes commenting and asking the bloggers specific questions. He trialled techniques and went back to research when more info was needed. From this he built his own customised pizza oven, in his own time, that met his own specific needs (i.e. fitted in the limited space and used the fire bricks we bought cheaply). His performance was measured through the results – which I must say are delicious!

pizza 3

So how do we bring this modern learning into the workplace? It is such a contrast to what happens within workplaces as most view that learning can only happen and be believed to have happened if it is delivered to the staff (workshops, online courses, programmes etc). Completion and attendance can be checked off and the job of learning is done – then we move onto the next learning job.

To embed modern learning into the workplace is mostly a change of mind set and usually this is required first from the Learning and development departments that are wedded to courses and outputs. Learning and development departments need to take responsibility with showing the workplace ways people really learn and embedding this in practice. Learning is a continuous process not a one off event, a one-off training event will do little to solve performance problems.

Curating content and communicating resources to staff members is one way in which modern learning can be brought into the workplace. Here’s a blog on how I’ve started doing this in my workplace – learning resources from content curation. Why would we not point staff to useful bite-sized resources that they can pull and utilise as they need it? Why not even follow up on ‘learning events’ with curated relevant content? I know some excellent learning resources that would be useful for all staff such as Lynda.com, Tedtalks, Mindtools and many more. Why not promote these resources to all staff then they too can be familiar with resources that can help them grow?

Working as learning consultants rather than just learning deliverers is another way in which to build continuous learning practices into teams and management, teach the skills and practices around learning rather than just the content. Building new attitudes and culture towards workplace learning means that learning can be viewed as a continuous, embedded and forever improving approach to work performance.

Does this mean courses are bad and shouldn’t happen? I think no, courses (elearning or facilitated) will always have a place – just a smaller one. They shouldn’t be the automatic first or only offer of help from L&D. And when a course is deemed an appropriate learning response it needs to be more than a one-off event. Courses can and should be supported by other techniques such as learning plans, curated content, self-directed research, social learning and learning communities. The course anatomy will also need to adapt, for example, small bite sized chunks are more suited to modern learning now than a week out at a workshop.

How do you see flexible modern content? What are you doing your workplace to move towards this? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

 

The art and skill of content curation

Content curation is a smart way of using already existing resources, such as, images, animations, videos, websites, blogs, apps and artifacts, and blending them together in a new and creative way for a specific purpose.

Skill level in content curation will make the difference between completely missing your audience with parts that don’t make sense together or have no purpose, to creating a cohesive story that powerfully connects and makes your audience think beyond the resources that have been curated.

This curated video that gives an overview of the skill involved:

Here Welenia 2013 give a visual overview of  different processes to organise and sort the best and most relevant content:

Let’s look at the skills of content curation in a bit more detail:

Knowing where to find stuff

When curating on a topic it is important to know where you can find quality content fast.

Externally curating

You can curate content externally from the world wide web. Here are some excellent websites that have quality content that can be used for learning resources:

Ted Ed lessons worth sharing – this site consists of lessons built around curated videos both from Ted Talks and from Youtube

Ted Talks – hundreds of inspiration talks on a wide range of topics. Many talks given by thought leaders in their field of expertise.

Mindtools – online training materials for management, leadership, and personal effectiveness skills.

Depending on your purpose and topic you may  find relevant content in Youtube, blog posts, industry websites, and Twitter feeds. Finding out who the thought leaders are for your subject can be a good strategy, as their digital content may point you to relevant videos, images, infographics, websites or blogs.

Think outside of the box to illustrate a point. For example, a learning objective I recently had in body language resources was about ‘the importance of matching body language to what is being said to build trust and credibility’. A video of a child lying and a forum discussion activity surrounding this demonstrated the objective well and made it interactive. A video of the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal with a link to a web site that analysed his body language also supported this learning objective well.

Internally curating

You can also content curate from staff in your organisation by inviting them to share expertise and resources on a topic. How about having a list of staff expertise so others can find the right person to ask?

Internal curation may include processes, job aids, information on the company intranet such as policies, useful information for use within teams.

What ways could you curate content internally?

Mass content curation

Why not invite others to content curate for their learning or invite staff to share resources and content they’ve found useful on the topic you’re curating.

Everything has a purpose

Make sure everything has a purpose and your learning objectives and performance outcomes are well defined. All the curated resources and content should be linked to the learning objectives and performance outcomes.

Be brutal here, if the content doesn’t link back to your objectives and outcomes leave it out. Don’t get distracted with using a cool animation you found in Youtube that has bling and looks beautiful, but lacks in message.

Be selective, prioritise resources that support your purpose the best. If you have found a large amount of resources on your topic don’t include everything, include the best ones only.

It’s also important to know when to stop when you can’t find a resource to illustrate your point. Once I spent an hour looking for the perfect image to illustrate my point, which unfortunately didn’t seem to exist, only to find that I could create my own in 30 minutes.

Storytelling and flow

Storytelling and flow is really important for curated learning resources.

Museums are a great example of this. Check out some reputable museums in your area. Each exhibition will have a flow of curated resources to tell a story – the flow could be based on a timeline or by type of content (for us it could be grouped under learning objectives). Look at how museums tell stories and see what you could apply to digital content curation.

Here’s some examples from my local museum Te Papa (Wellington, New Zealand). An exhibition about immigration in New Zealand uses creative ways to make the history into stories. In the photos, see the time line on the floor of when different immigrants arrived in New Zealand, and the table where you can view videos of people sharing their immigration stories.

Extremely powerful and it was all from existing information. Believe me I spent a couple of hours in just this one exhibition!

For learning we too can get creative with our presentation of curated content, look for inspiration everywhere.

Make it interactive and continuous

Curated content for learning should be interactive and make people think about their situation and beyond. Design questions, social interaction, and activities to support the curated content. Why not show staff how they can practice these skills in different ways in the workplace. Go beyond event based learning and into continuous and self-directed learning.

In short, curation is a smart way of using already existing resources. To do content curation well though, still requires skill, insight, and creativity.

How have you used content curation for learning? What are your thoughts are content curation – share and let’s curate together 🙂

Content curation how can it be used?

I’ve been dabbling in content curation for a few years now. My initial views on content curation in the learning space were rather limited, focused mainly on using content curation for course or learning resource design and development. I have an Instructional Design background after all!

My view of content curation has evolved and become broader. I now see many ways and levels it can be applied to the learning and development field and business.

Here are some levels I see content curation being applied to learning:

Content curation levels 3

Individual content curation

Individuals curate content for their own purpose and meaning. For example, I curate content for myself around learning topics that I’m interested in. I use my blog and other curation tools such as Twitter, Scoopit, and BagtheWeb, to organise the content I’m collecting. I refer back to my curated content when I have a project that is relevant to it.

Team content curation

Where a team collaboratively curates content and shares it within the team. The content is of common purpose and goals. I have worked in a team where we curated content on tools, templates, job aids, and useful websites around elearning and the LMS system that was in place. The content was curated within an Excel spreadsheet (old school but effective). It was used for team reference and was also used to help induct new staff members entering our team.

Learning resource curation

This is where resources are curated for particular audiences for a learning purpose. In another post I give an example of content being curated for customer service learning resources – learning-resources-from-content-curation.

Organisation curation

This is curating and putting meaning on content that is organisation wide. Examples of this could include databases or knowledge centres that contain business processes. Staff would look up the database when unsure on what to do and be advised of the correct process and any supporting documentation.

Industry curation

Curation that goes beyond an organisation or business and looks at the wider industry. This may include industry leaders or websites that curate content for their members, or just sourcing content from reliable industry sources. My own business is a learning solution business, specialising in elearning. There are some well known industry sites that provide curated content to help people in this industry, for example, The eLearning Guild, Elearning Industry, Articulate Storyline Community and eLearning Heroes.

What ways have you curated content for learning purposes?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how curated content can be used.

Learning resources from content curation

content-curation

Want to work smarter, how about repurposing already existing content? I love curating and repurposing content, check out my post – Second hand shopping for elearning.

So how can you curate content and use it for your learning resources? Here’s an example of how I’m doing it now.

I’m working on a customer service project. At first glance it looks mammoth with the huge amount of possible content, and also the need to contextualise the content for different audiences. But I’ve found ways to make this project smaller and more work efficient. The most critical factor is reducing the amount of development of “new” resources and to instead use existing content/resources in a smart way.

You may balk and think you can’t do this as your customer service needs are specific so you’ll need your own tailored content – and you’re right, your needs are specific. Learning will still need to be targeted, have context, and be meaningful to your people. However you can provide context and meaning without having to develop everything from scratch. Context and meaning can be provided through activities and questions surrounding the content, allowing you to use already existing content that you’re curated from the internet or youtube. You can also use existing resources curated from within the organisation you are working with.

Here’s a taster of how curated content could be used:

Example: Empathy and customer service

  • Start with a poll e.g. ‘how important is empathy for providing customer service?’.
  • Ask thought provoking questions about empathy and how it is related to their work role.

From this we can see context is provided through the poll and, questions – not through creating new resources. Then we can use already existing resources to create a deeper meaning of empathy. There are some excellent videos around empathy that could be linked to, here’s an example of one:

 

  • Questions or activities could be provided around any of the learning resources. You can also increase social learning by suggesting questions are discussed with their team, manager or peers.

There are a multitude of activities that could be designed around curated content, the only limitation is your imagination. Think reflective learning, social learning, problem solving and learner sourced content. How about an activity recognising empathy blockers or a challenge where the learners are the agony aunt and have to provide responses?

In summary

Using curated content means that the majority of your effort is used finding high quality resources rather than creating. It’s much more time efficient – how long would it have taken you to make an animated video about empathy? You could make a story out of your curated resources so they have flow. Bring the learner in by designing activities around the curated resources that give context and the opportunity for staggered practice and mastery.

How have you used curated content for learning? – share your thoughts in the comments and we can all learn more together!

Going beyond elearning for change

Change Management

Often in elearning and learning design we can get focused on making sure people learn the content but can easily forget about how we can motivate our audience to do something new as a result of their learning. Learning is only the first part of the puzzle, doing something different as result of that learning is where the difference is made. Not only is it important to help people learn it’s also important that they are motivated to then implement that new learning.

What sort of things do we need to consider to make sure change occurs as a result of our learning design?

1 Opportunity

Make sure there is the opportunity to put what was learnt into practice within a reasonable timeframe. This combats the forgetting curve and improves return on investment.

One time I was sent on a Microsoft Project course by a business (without requesting it) and although I appreciated the opportunity to learn about this software they might as well just have burnt the money. After the course I repeatedly queried when I would receive the software only to find out there was no budget to actually give me the software! It was a negative return on investment.

2 Business support

Just because a request has come from the business doesn’t mean the desired change is actually supported by the business. Check if there is anything working against the learning and performance outcomes of the planned learning solution. Is there already leadership and manager buy-in, will they support the change? Are targets and measures aligned to the performance outcomes? Are there sufficient processes, tools, and structures in place?

If there are things in the business working against or conflicting with the training or learning it’s likely that the benefits will be short-lived as people return to business as usual.

3 Action plan

Ask for commitment from your learners on how they will implement their learning in the workplace. No learning is useful unless it is actually applied.

This may be as simple as asking your learners to jot down (or type into your elearning course) one thing they will start doing, one thing they will keep doing, and one thing they will stop doing and the timeframes for these. Even better if their goal setting is visible to their managers. After all, if staff are given time to complete an elearning or other learning solution wouldn’t it be better if they use what they learnt…

4 Time to practice

Learning is a journey and opportunities for trial and error are important. Check if your target audience will have time to practice their new skills or knowledge on the job. Perhaps they could even be given on-the-job tasks or assignments and their managers are involved in their learning and performance improvement (this one also links back to business support).

Elearning or any type of learning design is not a magic wand for change. For any learning solution to be truly successful must take into account what happens after the learning intervention and how progression and performance improvement continues.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, why not add a comment? How do you make change happen beyond elearning?

The game of learning design

Soccer strategy

The gamification term has become popular over the last few years. Professor Werbach from Pennsylvania University defines gamification as, “the use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts” (Gamification MOOC in Coursera 2015) . If you’re producing engaging elearning in my view it seems almost impossible not to be using at least some features of gamification.

I’m currently engaged in a gamification MOOC  in Coursera, although I’ve participated in other gamification MOOCs, this one in particular encouraged me to reflect about gamification in my learning/elearning design.

I have been using gamification features in teaching and instructional design long before the term became mainstream. The reason for this is that gamification and good quality learning share many of the same features and foundations.

Here is a taste of what gamification and good quality learning have in common:

A business goal and objectives

Both should start with a well defined business goal and then specific objectives for how to meet this business goal. Solutions are built to achieve the business goal and motivate certain behaviours of the target audience or players.

Engaging and fun

To make a difference in learning design or gamification it is critical that the experience is engaging, fun, and memorable. Game theory examines and breaks down what fun looks like and how solutions (both gamification and learning) can utilise the different features of fun to get results.

Motivation

Fun is important and makes life more enjoyable, but that’s not what it’s all about… it’s also about motivation. Both gamification and learning design address how the target audience (or players) can be motivated to continue the desired behaviour after the intervention has occurred. They both have strong foundations in motivational psychology to achieve better results for desired behaviour.

Practice, challenge and progression towards success

It’s not a single one off event but something more engaging. Having opportunities to practice and a sense of challenge and progression are valuable. How can you turn your learning design into an experience rather than an event?

 

Learning about gamification is a great way to refine learning design. So much scientific research has been done on motivation and how to engage people in games. Why not borrow these lessons learnt and apply them to learning design and/or other contexts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about gamification and how it applies to learning design? Follow me to hear more.

2014 the year of the story

Top Story Concept.

In 2014 my focus was very much on creating interactive elearning and utilising the power of the story through interesting design and technologies. This showed under my five most highly viewed and popular posts for 2014. If you haven’t already, check these out:

  1. Using digital stories in elearning
  2. The awesome tool Videoscribe
  3. Rapid prototype vs storyboard
  4. Why storytelling should be part of your elearning kit
  5. 10 steps to create a digital story for elearning

These are also topics I’ve especially enjoyed blogging about. If you would like to hear more on any topic please comment to let me know. Have a wonderful 2015!