Dr Kella Price on How to Use QR Codes for Training and Learning

Dr Kella Price is giving us the low-down on the added-value of QR codes in learning. As an experienced user of many-things internet, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new and how to get the best out of the QR principle. Everyone in the room has at least scanned a QR before, so we are all ready to learn more….


A QR code is basically a link. You’ve surely seen one before somewhere. They look like this. At my children’s school, all the kids have QRs on a keyring attached to their bags for 2 reasons: In the case of an emergency, it is linked to contact details of their parents; when they stay at the crèche late at school, it is used to automatically create invoices for the service, based on the check-in/check-out time.


Why use these QR codes at work? What is the real value? Where should I put them?

The first thing to know is that people do scan these codes. In 2013, 181 QR codes were scanned every minute. Training participants today have mobile devices and they like to use them. Letting them use their devices in a training environment should therefore be…. (wait for it) …. engaging.

And the application possibilities are enormous. You can give them resources and information and create real-time interactivity.

According to Dr Price, the biggest value in any activity we do with these codes is the conversion rate of request/action. For example, if you send an email to people asking them to do something like enroll for a training or take a survey (request) you might get a conversion rate (action) of “X”. Price says that if you to integrate QR codes in other media you will get more than “X”. What kind of media actions are we talking about? Where can we add QR codes?

  • Add to a pay-check
  • Put on a poster, flyer or newsletter
  • Give new joiners in your company a key-ring with a QR code on it
  • Put on a business card
  • …or the photocopier
  • … or anywhere else!


What kind of actions can these QR codes produce?

Here, Dr Price is quite clear: The possibilities are endless. If you have an internet resource to share, put it in a code.

Some learning examples include:

  • Adding additional resources to training materials
  • Running a survey with tools like SurveyMonkey or padlet.com
  • Pushing people to your blog or YouTube channel


…what ideas can you think of to bring value to your training?


Where can I make a QR code? Can you do something special with your code?

There are lots of free QR code-creation sites online. Some are better than others because they create good value images or can be customized.

  • Personally I use tiny.cc because its easy
  • Today I found unitaglive.com in Dr Price’s session, which allows you to create custom codes including rounded-edges, different colours and even a logo or photo. It also has some templates with integrated logos for classic sites like Facebook, LinkedIn etc…
  • We also discussed using bit.ly which when used with an account allows you to store all your QR codes for future use and (BIG added value) run analytics on the number of times your code has been scanned and via which sources
  • With http://www.youscan.me you can create 1 code that links to various sites at once (cool!)


Best practices?

  • When adding pictures to your QR code, do not make it bigger than 30% of the code size
  • Never cover up the “eyes” in the 3 corners of your QR code and don’t add anything in the bottom-right corner
  • Avoid light colours
  • Use colours for meaning. For example, if you split training content into 4 sections, use a distinct colour per QR codes found in each section.
  • When using the QR code in training materials, put a link underneath for those who don’t have a scanner
  • …and customize that link to make it short and keyword friendly


Other resources and ideas can be found here:


Thanks for reading



Amy Jo Hart on Education to Ensure Value from Social Media

Amy Jo Hart is one of the top five Twitterers in the world, New York Times best selling author and leading expert on the monetisation of social-media. Kicking-off day 2 of the ASTD TechKnowledge 2014 Conference, she is here to tell us that social-media value and “Return on Influence” comes from its humanisation and that if we want it to work, we need to educate our people …

Millions of people are active on social media. Billions even. And the potential for business, marketing and learning is huge. Amy Jo Martin knows it: Activities like her “random acts of Shaqness” have helped sports-people and big-name companies around the world to create social media influence and to humanise their brands. She believes that social-media based communication is relevant to every part of your business and as such, you need to make it work right.

According to Martin, social-media success is not about what you do, but why you do it. People don’t care about your products and services. People connect and stay connected to you (and your brand) because they believe what you believe. Her formula for SoMe influence is a blend of cold metrics (reach, followers, fans etc) x warm metrics (sentiment and engagement).

As Charlene Li has told us before, different people use SoMe in different ways. The aim is therefore to get real engagement from real fans and followers.

If we measure the payback of this engagement, we can start to see real value. Martin measures that ROI payback as revenue per available fan and followers on social media. Count your revenue and divide it by the number of fans or followers. If we can increase our influence and humanise the brand, we can increase our revenue.

So the question is: “What should we be doing around social-media in our companies?

One of the key messages Martin brings is that everyone is involved in our brand success: All the employees and all the customers. Everyone can be a brand-champion. And those same people might equally destroy the years of hard-work that have gone into creating your brand equity. If we want to get things right and create real SoMe ROI we need to educate our own people on how to do it well and give costumes good reason to say and share the right things about our brand.

In our own organisations, education on how to use social-media effectively helps us to decrease the liability of social-media based mistakes. It helps to create brand-ambassadors out of our employees. It can help people to develop within their profession. And of course it can save money for the company.

From teaching employees how to use a hashtag properly 🙂 to community management, crisis communication or social-media for HR and recruitment, education of your people is key to social-media success.

In Belgium, many of the large traditional organisations (banks, governments, insurance companies) are starting to understand the value of this education and are rolling out programmes across the organisation. I have been invited by Kluwer Training to deliver retraining on a variety of SoMe topics, from its use in marketing to its use in learning + developing itself. Hopefully they will see the results that Martin expects.

Looking for ideas for social-media education? Check out www.digitalroyaltyuniversity.com

Thanks for reading!

The Unique Affordances of Mobile Learning

Chad Udell, Managing Director of Float Mobile Learning and author of “Learning Everywhere” is telling ASTD TechKnowledge 14 participants about how awesome mobile really is.

“There is SO much possibility”
I’ve heard this message before.

I wondered why I would join this session. I was a non-believer. Finally, thanks to Chad, I get it…

For the last 2 or 3 years, Tony Bingham has been opening ASTD conferences saying that mobile is important. Personally, I didn’t get it. Today I realise this was my fault. There was I thinking that “the Americans were stuck in the past, over-focused on delivering more knowledge content via a screen”. I assumed that what was meant by mobile learning was “pushing mini e-modules and video with mobile screens”; my own investigation into what apps I could make myself showed only glorified websites with a few buttons and a few screens.

I could not have been further for the truth. And it is my own fault. I almost feel guilty for being so short-sighted. I had a limited vision. Mobile is not about screens at all…

Mobiles can do a lot of stuff.

Here are some functions that many of today’s smartphones contain…

  • Camera
  • Motion detector
  • Geolocation
  • Portable memory
  • Microphone
  • Notifications
  • Touch screen
  • …to really get the most out of mobile, you need to think of the different possibilities mobile affords us.

    ..and then ask: What can you do with these affordances?

    During our awesome interactive session with Chad, the audience did a lot of brainstorming on possibilities per those functions. Literally, we came up with 100s of ideas and Chad has promised to release those ideas (capture with pollev.com) via the #astdtk14 Twitter hashtag later this week. (Watch this space, I will add to the comment section) For now, a few ideas of things you could do…

  • Ask questions (eg Jelly)
  • Measure physical human movement data and correlate with performance (eg Nike Fuel)
  • Find an expert (literally, in the building)
  • Collaborative bookmarking
  • Receive advice from your phone about how to improve performance, based on previous performance and current situation
  • Let people know about changes in processes
  • Give safety alerts or facility information based on location
  • Learn anything from guitar to morse code via touchscreen
  • Practice hand-eye coordination for specific tasks
  • It was impossible for me during this session to capture all the different ideas and I wish I had, because without them here it is difficult to share my enthusiasm. So, try for yourself: Look at your smartphone or the list of functions above and just ask what is possible and what (and how) you could learn with these functions.

    Mobile is awesome. And even if the “everyman” amongst us can’t develop very good apps ourselves today, the future is bright…

    I believe in mobile learning!
    Thanks Chad 🙂

    How the Tin Can API could revolutionise the link between learning and performance, according to Tim Martin

    Tim Martin has been working with SCORM for years, listening to people’s experience and problems and thinking about its limitations and future. Given his experience as a key player in Project Tin Can, Tim is here today to advocate the values of Tin Can, share a few concrete project examples and show us how the future of Tin Can is going to be awesome…

    First things first: What is Tin Can?

    Tin Can is the answer to SCORMs problems.

    SCORM is a two-party system consisting of an LMS and some content, with standards about how it all fits together and how it works. SCORM is able to report in a simple way about the formal learning activities a formal learner undertakes. For example, tell us how many people followed a particular learning module. That’s it.

    What is wrong with SCORM?

    SCORM is limited because it can only tell us how or when one particular learner logged into an LMS to take a prescribed piece of training in an active browser session. If you read back the last sentence, you will see that it is fully loaded with all the problems of SCORM. That is not how we learn and that is not how we as organisational L+D people want learners to learn….

    With all the hype around 70:20:10 and non-formal learning that takes place in the organisation, it seems clear that the majority of what people learn doesn’t come from classical training or formal learning solutions like the e-modules or video that SCORM has been measuring. The majority of learning is not coming from one person (alone) logged into one specific LMS system (if any) to follow a prescribed event (eg training) at one specific moment in time. People getting a lot of content from a lot of different places, sharing a lot of ideas and they are definitely learning in a less formal way.

    And many L+D people today don’t want to oblige people to login to one particular LMS system to control their learning in a formal way. Martin cites the example of Google who told him “We don’t want an LMS. We don’t want people to have to do specific controlled things in a specific controlled way. We just want them to go out and learn.” But Google also wants to be able to see what is learnt and how it impacts performance. Enter Tin Can API…

    How does Tin Can work?

    Tin a Can API is a shared language for systems to talk to each other about the things that people do. It consists of an “activity provider” (whatever system it might be) telling what people did (whatever it was) and an LRS (learning record system) that listens and records. It does this with a simple noun-verb-object approach that records all activities and puts them in the LRS.

    This modern web-service based system easily allows different systems to collect information. Here is a list of use systems that have already adopted Tin Can as their standard. Theoretically, Tin Can API can capture everything that is going on. And then correlate those activities, run analysis and give insights about what is going on. Across different systems.

    The “activity provider” will report on (learning) activities across a variety of systems, which will then be stored in the LRS. This information can then be compared to data about performance from other non-learning systems. The LRS will be searchable (“bigdatable”) and could be used to draw all sorts of conclusions about learning and performance.

    SCORM can only tell us a little bit about learning activities, mostly about completion rates, sometimes about test results (eg Tim followed training module X). Tin Can will go much further, allowing us to capture almost anything at any level. Martin gives an example, comparing to a SCORM system that can (only) tell us that 6 learners completed a CPR module and scored average 68%: Tin Can will be able to tell us how many times one learner compressed the CPR test dummy during the simulation, where he put his hands and the impact that had on the reanimation process. It will be able to produce a massive amount of (big) data and analyse everything, looking for trends and giving full reporting on the correlations between different learning activities/results and, eventually, performance.

    But it goes SO much further than this still formal learning reporting…

    It may be awesome, but give me a practical example of this awesomeness please…

    Imagine the following: Google employees pick up content from across a variety of systems. They search, they consume and then they share content on platforms like LinkedIn, Yammer (or whatever Googley thing Googles use). Let’s pretend they are sales people. They then go out into the sales world and makes sales (or doesn’t).

    Tin Can will allow the Google L+D people to run analysis at a very detailed level on all the different (learning) content that was picked up by all the different people. Add into the mix reporting on who searched and shared what, how, where and when. Who liked something they read or retweeted it. Tin Can will then allow us to correlate all that information with sales performance activities and data (again from different systems) in order to draw conclusions about the acquisition of knowledge and skills and the impact on sales.

    Example: Do people who learnt how to ask specific questions in a sales meeting close more deals? Do people who called back their prospects within 2 weeks of meeting them close more sales than those who didn’t? What key words are top sales people searching on their browsers? Is there a correlation between the number or type of sharing on social media platforms and the sales closed. If so what?

    The possibilities for data collection and analysis with Tin Can are endless, given the simplicity of the way in which the “activity providers” report on what is being done (see below…). With such information, learning people (and managers) will be able to focus more on the learning the organisation needs to bring the results it is missing.

    Personally, I find this very exciting (others more cynical might imagine the scary dark-side applications of such systems). I already wrote about “Big Data for Learning in a Call-Centre” but didn’t realise the standards were there. Even though Tim Martin has repeated several times today that it’s not all there already and that we need to move slowly, it is clear to me that this will go very far…

    Thanks for reading

    Screen Video: 17 Best Practices (Regardless of the Tool) from Matt Pierce

    Screen video is on the rise. As people flip their classrooms, use mobile devices and seek new ways to get knowledge, learning professionals will need to master the art of screen video. Tips from Matt Pierce at Tech Knowledge in Las Vegas…

    First, what is useful to record?

    If you go online and try to see how tools work, there is plenty of content about the basics. These “how-to” lessons tell us the basics and answer the common questions. Focus your efforts on the difficult stuff, the errors, the specific things your people are trying to achieve. FAQs.

    Ask questions to define your audience

    Before you start recording, think about who is going to watch, when, how, where. Take your time to think about how this will make your content and format different. Is there one good way to do things? No… Adapt to all this!

    Storyboard your screen video

    If you ask Pixar or the rest of the movie world where they put the most effort in making movies, the answer is the storyboard. Think about what you are going to do in what order.

    Make a script… If you need to

    According to Pierce, the need for a script is proportional to your level of expertise. If you are an expert, you might be able to “wing-it” a bit more. But if you are less sure of your content, write a script. As a disclaimer, Pierce notes that the better he scripts his screen video, the more likely he will be able to tell his 5 minute story in 2 minutes. Script leads to minimum effective dose.

    Remember, length is an issue

    There is no correct answer to how long a screen video should be. But as a general rule, the shorter the better (provided it is effective). Focus on key messages. If you need to make 3 short films, this might be better than one long one. If you can provide references in your video where people can get more info, this is also a good way to shorten the video.

    Bad audio ruins good video

    According to Matt Pierce audio IS an issue. If you have taken the time to capture the screen well, put effort into the audio too. Get a USB microphone for your PC to avoid the fan sound. If you are using a headset (and don’t need to listen as well) flip the microphone around so its underneath your mouth, not in front of it. And get rid of as much noise pollution as possible…

    Don’t worry about the sound of your voice

    Options number one is to simply get over it. This will be easier if you realise that what you hear is not what others hear. But there is another option: Get someone else to speak!

    Don’t show big chunks of text in your video

    People don’t expect a lot of text in screen videos. They like image and movement. If you must put text, keep it short and build it up. Whatever happens, avoid big text!

    Use your voice as a tool

    No-one wants to hear you talking like you read. Your voice has volume, intonation, speed and articulation. Use these elements to modulate your voice and bring attention to specific parts. This will create better understanding and keep attention. Just like in a presentation…

    Be careful with humour… it’s subjective

    The best way to gauge humour is to get pre-back or feedback. See what works with your audience. Ask them. Do a dry-run or publish for 1 or 2 people before you release for everyone.

    Think about screen size

    According to Pierce, most modern devices will have a wide screen. But in reality, people use different devices to look at different content. Again, there are no golden rules. You need to know your audience.. Whatever you do, start with good quality and be consistent in size-usage across the record/edit/produce cycle. Pierce suggests 1280*720 (or bigger) for all steps. You can always make it smaller later…

    Be mindful of what you show around the things you are actually teaching

    Get rid of other applications so people can’t see what else you are up to (Facebook!). Turn off any and all notifications – you don’t want to ruin all your best efforts by having an email pop-up while you record your screen. Pierce suggests even having another computer used only for screen recording to avoid any issues.

    Balance translation efforts to expected ROI of the learning

    If you work in a multinational environment, you might have different languages in your target groups. What are the options for dealing with this? What can you do to reduce viewer effort?

  • Add subtitles
  • Make it again in the other language
  • Dub it eight another voice
  • Provide text translation in a supporting document
  • Encourage people to pause, take their time or even slow down the video
  • Provide channels for support outside of the video
  • Break down your video into smaller, easier to swallow chunks
  • Slow down with your screen captures
  • Be careful with music

    Jingles are very popular for the marketing department, who want to put it at the start and end of every educational video. But the user will soon get sick of it. Transition music between main chunks of information is good to create and re-win user attention. But whatever you do, don’t fill the video background with music. It doesn’t work!

    Change your mouse settings

    Two simple tips: Make your mouse-cursor bigger and slow down the mouse movement speed. Both of these will make it easier for others to follow what you are actually doing.

    Use transitions well

    First of all: Use them. A visual transition helps to create and re-win attention. But what is most important is that the transitions you use should have meaning (they happen between topics, for example) and be consistent (use the same transitions to show the same structural changes).

    Apply the rule of thirds, especially when filming people

    Read about this here: http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds

    Thanks for reading!

    TKChat: Building Communities, with Jane Bozarth and Mark Oehlert

    Mark Britz is introducing the first TKChat at #astdTK14 on the topic of “Building Communities”. Armed with our 2 experts Jane Bozarth and Mark Oehlert it’s time to find out how to make those communities work…

    To get the ball rolling @britz asks Jane and Mark to first clarify the meaning of “community”. What does this word mean?

    Managers think of communities as another channel to force content top-down onto employees. Others are trying to create teams and better teamwork. But according to our speakers, community is really about purpose and common needs and objectives. With free will, people get together to share and make things happen. When you get started with building a community, you need therefore to first find that shared sense of purpose.

    How do you get started with building an organisational community?

    Oehlert says that the very first thing to do is to see what is already going on in the organisation. Does the community already exist? Learning people don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at the organisation and see what communities already exist. Then ask yourself: “How can we better support that?”

    See also “Analysing and Evaluating Informal Social Networks

    Once you are ready to go, it is important to be clear about the added-value of creating (or formalising) the community. If you can’t iterate the added-value of the community to people, they won’t use it.

    See also “Answer the 3 most important questions to convince your audience

    What are the keys to making things work with a community?

    First of all, Jane says that we must not just use the tool that comes with the LMS because it comes with the LMS. Look to see where people are currently getting in contact with each other and go there.

    Secondly, realise that it’s not because you build it that they will come. Community building takes time. People are not going to be hyper-active with their sharing and asking just because you made a new tool.

    This leads to the third point: Community management takes time as well. Someone needs to be there to stoke the fire, to encourage people and to show (online) community best-practice.

    How can we encourage people to start using community tools, share and narrate their work?

    Start by finding out what is going wrong in people’s jobs, where they have troubles and how community activity could help. This will give you a way in and direction for content-sharing.

    It would be easy to say that the community doesn’t work just because the culture isn’t ready. Any ideas?

    Despite the fact that young people obviously dig sharing in communities, that doesn’t mean that other people don’t. Oehlert says that everyone is in some kind of community. Maybe not online, but somewhere they are talking with like-minded people, whether it be on a mum-sharing site, a local town community organisation or elsewhere. They do know the value of a community and they probably know how to use one. We just need to get it working at work…

    On the other hand, Jane adds that if your organisation doesn’t share already, having a online community is not going to make it happen. First work on breaking down silos and getting people willing to share.

    Should we be controlling how communities function?

    Mark Oehlert’s first response is that you have to let the community grow in an organic way. If it moves in one direction and that brings value, let it be. And even if people start sharing less business-valuable content, they are still sharing.

    Secondly, it is important to realise that the new community tools we have today are not the issue when it comes to control. Control issues have always existed. If you have email or telephone, you have the risk of people sharing things in ways they should not. These new tools might make content sharing faster or larger (hence the risk is bigger) but if you had this “under Conti,” already and if people were professional, honest and useful already, they will be on the new tool.

    To finish this answer, Mark Oehlert adds that the best way to help things go in the right direction is to “walk the talk”. Share the things you want to see shared. Act the any you want other people to act.

    Should we have a big funky roll-out for the new tool?

    Jane Bozarth says this approach to kicking off a new community tool is dangerous. If you are going to start, start small and build it up. Look for people who have the community spirit and ask the to get involved. Start with content and sharing around something useful, so that when other people come to the tool they will find good content. This will encourage them.

    How can you create the best user-experience?

    Don’t just implement the tool you bought. Think about how people want to interact with the tool. Take the time to customise menu possibilities … after you get lots of feedback from the users about what they want!

    What should we be measuring in order to see if the community adds value?

    If you did the first step well (defining purpose) and if you have a good sense of business acumen then you should already know what you should be measuring. In addition to the usual things to measure (traffic, content and continuity) try to think about what the managers are thinking about:

  • What new innovation did we get since we started all this?
  • What problems have we solved?
  • How has our business grown? Are we seeing better results on the bottom-line?
  • Good chat!

    Other pieces of mine that might be interesting…

  • Online Community Management Tips and Best Practices
  • Use Yammer to Get Personal Value From Your Business Network
  • Making your Yammer Community Work – An Interview with Allison Michels
  • Thanks for reading

    Jeff Dyer on “Discovery Skills” and what makes an innovator

    As ASTD TechKnowledge 2014 kicks off, President and CEO Tony Bingham introduces Jeff Dyer to the stage. Jeff is author of the book “The Innovators DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovator“, PhD, teacher, researcher and prize-winner. His book has been cited over 10000 times. Today he will give us the keys to unlocking our own innovation DNA…

    In classic presentation style, Dyer starts by quoting Dilbert, or rather, Dilbert’s manager: “Good managers hire people who are smarter than he or she is.” The paradox here is evident. If it’s true, this means the top managers must be the dumbest in the office. But if it’s false, then we are hiring dumb people! So what should we be doing? How can we unleash the talent of innovators?

    Dyers first question is the perrenial “nature/nurture” issue: Are we born more intuitive and creative, ready to challenge the status-quo? Or is this something that is learnt?

    According to research in psychology, about 80% of our raw intelligence is genetically based. BUT this raw-intelligence is the standard common-sense, knowledge-acquiring intelligence. But when it comes to the creative stuff, what really makes people able to change and do new things, only 1/3 of that “intelligence” is innate. Studies show that family culture, corporate culture, education no experience are what have the more impact on our ability to innovate. So we can learn it. Jeff Dyer has been trying to find out how…

    Quoting studies on strong innovators and pulling together other research from diverse sources, Dyer tells us about the five things that count most to make an innovator.

    The first of these is associative thinking, the ability to put things together that didn’t otherwise occupy the same space. Associative thinking starts with the ability to recognise opportunities that can bring some value to another situation, or another problem. Like the iPod dial that Dyer tells us was inspired by traditional dialling locks. Or how under-the-arm deodorant designers looked to ball-point pens for their ability to let liquid flow from a source. This ability to synthesise things is born out of experience (I’m already starting to worry about my kids standardised education programme) and so we need to build diverse experience to bring out innovation.

    Testing our ability to think differerently, Dyer tests his theory that if we force associations we can come up with new ideas. He asks the audience: “How could a microwave design feature improve a dish-washer?” Several answers came from participants. What I found interesting was the reaction of the audience to my own suggestion to make the dishwasher shake food molecules of the plates. It made sense to me, but other participants laughed. Foolish boy! Is this indicative of how innovators are viewed in their organisation? (see Jef Staes‘ work on the percentage of people who say “NO” to new ideas…)

    Dyer adds that there are four other things you need to get good at creating new ideas: Questioning, observing, networking and experimenting.

    Really good innovators use a couple of specific question styles to find new ideas:

    First of all, we need to force constraints in our questions to push us in a new direction. Tim Ferriss asks his readers these types of questions, for example: “What work would you do if you could only do one thing, or for 1 hour?”

    Another type of question is the “blue sky” question: What if ALL constraints were removed? If anything could work?

    Dyer suggests that these kind of questions will yield more creative answers. But more importantly, he says that effective brainstorming starts with question-storming; finding the right questions to brainstorm.

    The next behaviour Dyer talks about is observing. Like the great Sherlock Holmes, we need to be able to see the details, the connections and the big-picture.

    Innovative people see things other people don’t necessarily see. Like anthropologists, they have their eyes wide open. Dyer says that they are looking for surprises. They are looking for the details that others might miss and focused on the jobs to be done, rather than the tools that are used. Like all great product developers (and sales people) they are tuned into the desired end-result, rather than focused on the way it is currently being attacked. Looking from all angles, innovators observe what is going on and think differently about what is required to make improvements.

    Dyer quotes a great example here with the “GE Adventure Series CT scanners“. Traditionally, MRI scans have been designed with one thing in mind: Scanning the body, looking at the details. But for the user, this can be extremely scary. For kids, it requires going into a new scary environment under stressful circumstances and being asked to be extremely still. Tough one! What have GE done? They have brought a little Disney to the experience. Check the link….

    Observation in itself is an awesome tool in the organisation. But Dyer says it is not enough. If we want to have awesome observations, see new things and get new ideas, we need to literally step out of the box and into new environments. Enter the power of networking.

    Effective innovating networkers seek out support and answers from diverse environments, cultures and functions. Dyer asks us to think about the 5 people in our network we go to when we have a problem. After 60 seconds he then asks:

  • Do you have people on your list that come from different companies?
  • Do you go to kids or old-age-pensioners?
  • Do you go to people who were born and raised in a different country to you?
  • Do you go to people from different functions or levels of the organisation?
  • Finally, Jeff Dyer tells us that if we want to innovative, we need to experiment. We need to try things out. We need to dare to try things out. In the terms of Jef Staes, we are talking about the pioneers who are willing to take the risk and see if and how things work. Innovators are not sure things will work, but they are willing to try. If organisations want to do things differently, they will need to be willing to run pilots and be open to failure.

    So, do want to innovate? Or help others develop their own innovation ability? Think about developing associative thinking, questioning skills, observing, networking and experimentation. Give people the time to innovate, to go out and think differently.

    And if you are wondering if you are a innovator? Go take the test…. http://bit.ly/ASTDTK_2014

    Good luck!

    What is the point of Jelly? My first experience…

    With the arrival of Biz Stone’s new app Jelly, people are starting to comment on the user experience and aim of the app. So what exactly IS the point of being able to answer a bunch of questions from other people? I remember asking myself the same question when this feature was on Facebook years ago… Here are my thoughts on the Jelly platform.


    There is a lot of potential to get addicted and lost answering questions for no real reason

    My first experience was like most other new platforms. I go on and browse and get lost in answering questions and making updates. To be honest, it was a little addictive, but I quickly started to wonder how long I would remain interested and if it was actually useful. First response: Its not. Why would I care to answer random questions from random people about random topics?

    When I posted a few questions myself, I wasn’t much more inspired. Like “Vine” and “Twitter” before *, I felt like I was forcing myself to come up with something clever to say. Like the people taking pictures of their cat and asking “What animal is this?” it seems anything is deemed jelly-worthy. I remain skeptical. But…


    * of course, I love these tools today and keep using them for very valuable things


    If I can afford to wait for answers, it might add value to the classical Google searches

    According to crowdsourcing theory, if enough people answer a question, the average of their answers is probably going to be right. This was first suggested by Francis Galton, who asked the crowd to judge the weight of an ox at a country fair in Plymouth, England. The average answer was remarkably close to the reality, even though people could only judge by sight. *

    In “The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki, many other applications of the impact of the crowd are discussed. Perhaps Biz Stone was inspired by these in the creation of Jelly? Getting valuable input from a group of people is the whole core pitch of Jelly.

    Personally, I am going to continue my Jelly testing to see what it gives..


    * I am testing that theory on Jelly (and Facebook and Twitter) as we speak with a picture of a jar of stones. We’ll see….


    Unless I want information about a specific image (in front of me) I will have to be visually clever to ask good questions

    The trouble I see with Jelly is that unless I am actually in front of an interesting but confusing visual stimuli, to get the most out of Jelly will require a lot of visual creativity. In a museum, I could take a picture of a painting and ask questions. But if I really want some wisdom on other topics, why can’t I just ask? Why do I need a picture?


    I can’t choose who I ask questions to

    As far as I can see, the questions I post to Jelly are thrown out into the world in a very random way. (It isn’t clear to me yet if all Jelly users are seeing my questions, or only the people I know). From a learning point of view, this is not very interesting to me. Although Surowiecki’s book suggests that it probably isn’t necessarily wise to seek out answers from experts, I would like to able to address my questions to specific communities to illicit experts answers. Maybe I should stick with LinkedIn groups…


    It’s not very searchable (yet)

    At the moment, I can’t search with Jelly. If I want to find out what the crowd thinks about a specific topic, I am stuck. This seems a shame to me. Wouldn’t it be nice to search (or ask) questions (and answers) on specific topic or categories?


    The marketeers are going to love it

    General Electric has jumped on the Jelly app already to position their brand within the guise of a question. This will surely continue to be a trend and I suspect that in between random questions from good-willing users, there will be a lot of product placement. I hope it doesn’t go too far…

    My Twitter discussion with @zmccune has given me more insight on this. He suggests that the app could be used for focus groups and quick value mobile surveys.

    But what are the other applications? Can we use this in the learning world?


    Questions to Jelly

    As with many such platforms, I have a lot of questions as I start:

    • Who is deciding  which questions I am offered to answer and in which order?
    • Who is seeing my questions?
    • Are you keeping all my answers and opinions to be used against me or given to the sales guys?
    • What is coming next?


    If you’ve tried Jelly, I’d love to have your comments. If you haven’t – get on there and waste a bit of your life. You never know what you might find…

    Thanks for reading




    2 weeks, 2 continents and 22 sessions in learning and technology

    In January, I will be going to ASTD TechKnowledge 2014 in Las Vegas (speaking as well) and the Learning Technologies conference in London. Over 2 weeks on 2 continents I will follow 22 sessions with some of the industry leaders, looking at the future of learning and learning technology. I have planned my 2 weeks to get new high-level information on a broad number of topics, as well as an in-depth/next-step look at some others. Here is the plan for the sessions I will follow in addition to keynotes…


    The learning profession – trends and the future

    • The future learning shift and the changing learning function
    • Designing with and for learning data
    • Learning to learn


    Learning technology innovations

    • Augmented Reality and Google Glass
    • MOOCs: Strategy vs. Pedagogy
    • Tin Can API and capturing experiential learning
    • Disruptive technology and learning
    • The future of learning content strategy
    • Aligning software to learning and performance


    Learning design and formal learning solutions

    • Screen-casting best practices
    • QR codes for training
    • Storytelling across multiple media
    • Game design
    • Badging
    • Leveraging devices for mobile learning


    ..stay tuned for more news soon!




    Three people with one vision for learning

    In this month’s “Stimulearning” magazine, you can find my article on the L+D Talks that took place in October of this year, translated into Dutch. I wrote about the event and the content of Charles Jennings’ and Donald H Taylor’s speechs. Kristof wrote about Manon Ruijters. This post delivers the English translation of my part… Enjoy!


    In the last few years, there has been somewhat of a revolution in the learning world. Training professionals are repeatedly being told that training doesn’t necessarily lead to learning and that learning is not only about training. The possibilities are infinite to help people build their competence at work.


    Donald H Taylor says is time to change. If learning professionals continue to sit in the training ghetto, moving more slowly than the world around them, they will eventually face extinction when they could have been driving the organisation forward. The major changes in technology and how knowledge is handled have created a new environment with new demands; demands which it seems the learning profession itself admits to not being able to face today, and which organisational leaders claim indispensable to achieve the growth they need to face the challenges of tomorrow.


    In the September issue of the StimuLearning magazine Dr. Manon Ruijters, a consultant at Twynstra Gudde, already underlined that we need to stop focussing on pushing training and formal learning to people and focus instead on creating conditions in which people can bloom. Our obsession with creating standardised professionals (who tick all the right boxes in the competence framework) must develop into a more holistic vision that pulls up and supports on-going learning from the ground up. Supervisors and employees must learn together what is right and wrong, what works and what does not and the ways in which we can develop. The role of the learning professional must therefore evolve into a more conversational style, supported by effective workplace support and encouragement that can take best learning practices from everywhere for the benefit of the whole organisation.


    Charles Jennings says that learning is a far more diverse activity than training professionals have suggested in previous years. Only 10% of workplace learning actually happens via formal intentional organised education sessions that are structured by someone other than the learner; 20% of learning happens via our non-formal interactions with other people; the other 70% on a day-to-day basis (sometimes without intention) through our experience of day-to-day tasks, challenges and practice. Yet in contrast, the majority of our learning budgets remain driven towards creating learning tracks that seek to deliver competence to the learner in a formal way: Training, e-learning and such. If we want to reap the potential benefits of the full 100%, L+D people need to focus more on creating and supporting learning environments that capture and support learning through social exchange, work narration and a plethora of other work-based media and approaches.


    With these three visions of learning, the singular message is clear: We need to do things differently. That was the subject of the Stimulearning L+D talks in October…