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Days 3 + 4 at ATD2015

Back in Belgium, here is a mini-summary of the last 2 days of ATD2015, which thanks to Harry Potter and Lufthansa, could not be delivered earlier…

Day 3


Day 4

…and that’s pretty much it. Another year of ATD conference fun over 😦

It was really great!

Thanks for reading

@dan_steer

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You can make comics for learning too!

Brian Melvin has filled his room in the last #ATD2015 session (W315)And once again, I cheated. Backdoor. Feel bad for the queue. But I’m here, so let’s go!

According to Melven, we have a choice for presenting information to our people: Words or images. Images work better. But we aren’t all graphic designers, so what do we do?

Follow this process:

  • Get your story and characters straight.
  • Decide what kind of style you want. Today, we are looking at comic styles.
  • Find someone who can draw something. Melven suggested not going to a design agency, but just getting online and finding freelance people or student that can help. It’s really not that expensive to get a character like the one below gin 15 or so poses you can use in your materials) for about $200
  • Script out your story and get that script sign-off BEFOREHAND you go to the drawing board
  • Put a storyboard structure in PPT.. keep it simple, just a few boxes
  • Add some text!


  

Other (book) references that may help you on your visual journey:

Transforming users into contributors – JD Dillon at ATD2015

Having spent the last 3 days missing the elusive slightly-bearded JD Dillon at ATD2015, I am in session W212 to find out how Kaplan is transforming users into contributors. Much of the time, our people know better than we do. How can we release that into the organisation? We know we are supposed to, but what are the principles and tools we need to keep in mind to make this happen?

Admitting that he has nothing original to say today (!), JD started by reminding us of one of the key messages from yesterday’s keynote speaker Sugata Mitra: “It’s not about making learning happen, but letting it happen.”

Adding to this, he notes that many learning professionals have trouble bringing something useful to the business table: We are slow, we are not the experts and we are focussed on building and pushing things into the organisation. We have limited reach, yet we still try to get everyone trained. And we are obliged to justify every last bit of our efforts and carefully spend a set budget (to get everyone trained). JD says we have to stop trying all this formal process-driven nonsense to get to the table and … BE the table.

What does that mean?

Firstly, think about the way we learn at work and compare to the way we learn at home: If I have a problem with my plumbing at home, I jump on Google or YouTube with a problem-based search in mind and find what I need to move forward with my problem right now. I don’t worry about the production value of what I find and I certainly don’t have to fill in any forms or get my manager’s permission to learn.

Why can’t learning at work be like learning at home?

Or rather: How can we shift our focus as learning professionals to make learning at work like learning at home?

  

We need to foster the right contribution behaviours

To ensure we have meaningful, relevant, scalable and reusable content from our users, JD proposes to focus on a few things:

  • Firstly, we need to eliminate the perfection mentality. People need to know that it’s OK to just share stuff. One minute of video doesn’t oblige 5 hours of production. Spelling mistakes are not a problem.
  • Secondly, enable bragging and helping. People who do good work should talk about that work and share their stories. Sometimes they will think that is arrogant to do this. But as users, we are all looking for content. So somebody has to share!
  • Thirdly (actually, I’m pretty sure I missed points 3+4) we need to give some kind of structure that makes it easy for people to contribute from everywhere.


In principle, this all sounds great, but there is still some cynicism from learning professionals: We worry about control and consistency. We think people will surely get things wrong. “They don’t understand people’s needs like we do.” etc etc…

  

Here are the tips I heard from JD and some of the attendees today and my own 2-cents on the topic:

  • Get a wiki
  • Don’t try to moderate everything – let it go and let the contributors find the balance
  • Keep a formal controlled space for the content that your company is not willing to leave in the hands of the users
  • Teach (or encourage) contributors what makes a good contribution
  • Help content-generators to “think SEO”
  • Ask people to jump in and share a story. And thank them when they do.
  • Add a little points system for sharing. People won’t generate content to get the points, but some (yes, ONLY some) will dig it and appreciate the “thanks”.
  • Keep your eye on what is happening on your system or in the organisation (report, if necessary) and use that to think about what topics are hot, where people have picked up content after a formal learning initiative etc..
  • Ask your users (consumers and content-generators) what functions or support they want on the platforms you use
  • Ask people to create little video-blogs to tell more about “how” they do what they do rathe than just writing on the “what”
  • Look for early-adopters in the organisations and whisper “requests to share” in their ears. When the latecomers start looking around, at least they will see something useful.
  • Get top-level managers to “narrate their work”. When the top-guy is doin this, it sends a message to people that it’s OK to share. But be careful with the tone.. If you can feel that your top-guy is really not the guy to set the right tone with that, DON’T ask!


Thanks for reading

D

“Who taught the termites civil engineering?” (Sugata Mitra reminds us how we are all wired to learn by themselves)

In a true lesson of what keynote speaking should be, Sugata Mitra has taken the stage at ATD2015 to talk to us about how our world has changed and what this means for education. A funny, charming, entrepreneurial raconteur what he has to say is possibly the most important lesson for people in the world of education. Really.


The history of education

It’s only been a hundred years since we lived without telephones, computers and rapid transport. And that was the world for 100s of 1000s years before. How that world operated defined how we develop people.

Before we lived in today’s technologically enabled world, people needed to obey, repeat and not be creative. They needed to be able to sit still to read and write on paper and they needed to be able to do arithmetic in their heads. They needed to be able to stand still and do the same thing over and over again according to the rules.
In that world, there was a system whose sole job was to produce those people: School. The role of the school was to create this vast empire of conformity, knowledge and industrial repetition by telling people what they needed to know and making sure they did it right.

That world is gone. One day, our grandchildren will ask us “Hey grandpa. What does ‘knowing’ mean?”

How do children really learn today?

Mitra told us about an experiment he ran in an Indian slum in the late 90s: Placing a simple internet-connected computer in a hole-a-wall 3-feet from the ground, he waited to see what happened. 

Children arrived. They asked “What is it?” He replied “I don’t know” and left them to it, giving no support at all.

8 hours later, they had figured it out, were browsing and 8yr-olds were teaching 6yr-olds how to do it.

After more research and observation, Mitra concluded that unsupervised children anywhere in the undeveloped world given access to an Internet enabled computer will, without any training, in 9 months get to the same computer-literacy level as an office secretary in the West.

In short: Children don’t need teachers.

All they need is broadband, collaboration and encouragement!

  
Closing and reflections from a father

There is nothing else I want to say about Mitra’s keynote content right now. Nothing could do it more justice than saying that the answer to the above photo question is a resounding “Yes”.

But as a father of 3 small children, I do feel obliged to say something more. If children can do all this (and they can!) what is a risk if we don’t let them? If we keep telling them the answers, where will they end up? If we keep testing them to standards we have invented for ourselves, how can we expect something new? If we stifle their innate creative drive to figure things out, follow their own path and invent their own answers, where will the joy be? How will they find their passions? How will they innovate?

And sure, if we do keep telling, testing, standardising and stifling, everything will be “safe” and I won’t have to worry about “where they end up”.

But maybe I should just let it go?


See also:

Julie Dirkson on the Science of Behaviour Change

ATD2015 session M221 is with Julie Dirksen, who is interested in the funny side of human behaviour. Why do humans do what they do? And why don’t they do what they should do? We teach people things and test them to prove that they know it. We run skills assessment sessions, training sessions and do all sorts of things to be sure that people are able do what they need to do, but they still don’t. Think compliance, think about new processes, think about systems you introduce.. How come all that learning doesn’t create sustainable behavioural change? (Or just ANY change). Let’s find out…



We are all two people

The first problem Dirksen sees is that we are all two people: We have a “rider” (the one who knows where he wants to go) and an “elephant” (the emotional beast that needs to start walking). If you want the elephant to advance, you send him a message. But the elephant doesn’t always do what the rider asks.
An example: You are told that exercise is good for you. The rider says “Awesome! Let’s plan some fitness activities and start doing it. I am bound to see some results in a few weeks.” But the elephant says “That sounds awful. “The Voice” is on the television and I’m eating my burger.”

Who is going to win?

What is going on

Dirksen explains that the rider (rational) is the one who thinks of the future and who judges what is good and bad in the long-term. But the elephant (emotional) only cares about now. So I can easily have conflict.

The elephant is asking how easy the reward is compared to the effort required and how big the reward is perceived to be. If he sees a small win now and it’s easy to achieve, he will prefer that to a small win much later. If the effort is perceived as high, then the reward may not seem worth it. Unless the reward is high enough. Or I’m going to get some output quickly.

How can I do this?

What we need to do is show the elephant a better balance in terms of size, tangibility and immediacy of the reward. If you know the tax declaration is required tomorrow, you can probably convince the elephant that sleep is not so interesting tonight after all.

OK, tell me how!

Here are Dirksen’s tips for bringing some of that balance to get some real behavioural change.


Change the size of the reward. Maybe.

Even if you can’t change her real reward, you can maybe add in some points or badges or cash or prizes. Dirksen suggest this might work to get the fire started a little, but if you are using too much of this type of extrinsic reward style, what you will really do is reinforce the behaviour of “Doing it for the other reward” rather than doing it because it’s good, the right thing to do. This might work for a little while, but Dirksen suggests that eventually those rewards will not seems as appealing. There are only so many sweets you can offer before the kids are “full” and won’t tidy their rooms for sweets anymore.

Make the reward more tangible

Dirksen shared an example of research where people were shown the tangible impact of using too much paper: During a speech about reducing paper use, one group of people is shown a video of trees being cut down. Another group is not. After the course, as participants are leaving the room, the facilitator knocks over a glass of water and stands back to see what happens when people are offered paper towels to clean up the water. Results? Those who had seen the video used on average 25% less paper towels.

In the training world, if we want to make things more tangible, we can use roleplays, simulations my, trials, observations, tinkering etc..

But Dirksen says it is absolutely key to make the elephant see the tangibliity, not the rider. To do this, you have to create some feeling, not more knowledge for the rider. Examples:

  • Don’t tell smokers it is bad, make them smoke so much they feel sick. Then repeat, until the elephant feels sick!
  • Find ways to visibly show progress to learners. As they get better, reinforce success by showing them “the progress bar” going up


Make it easier

No-one wants to put too much effort into something. So we need to make it easierf or the elephant to move forward.

One example is the use of prepared scripting. Get your learners to prepare in advance what they will do when the time comes. That way they won’t have to think too much. “If I get into situation X, I will do Y.” (This can help with the 20-second rule we saw from Dick Ruhe yesterday.)

Another way to make it easier is to help the elephant understand what others do. The elephant wants to blend in. If it has to think for itself about what is right, it will give up and take the easy habitual option. But if it gets a clear sign about what is the socially accepted norm, it will just naturally want to confirm. So: Share stories!

That’s all folks!

Crowdsourcing learning design with Larry Israelite

For the final session of ATD2015 day 1, SU401 address the topic of “crowdsourcing”. According our speaker Larry Israelite, the learning world has a problem: Often, we are not in the right place, nor fast enough to respond to business needs. Crowdsourcing can help. “But”, he hears us say, “we already do that. We have subject matter experts who help us.” Good start, but an SME is not a crowd. So how is the concept of crowdsourcing applicable to what we do in learning? Read on…


Who is it good for?

The man sitting next to me works for the U.S. Federal Government’s procurement department. He needs to be sure that people around the world and across departments comply to rule and regulations, follow processes and do a good job. He gets a request for some formal learning programme. He makes it. He facilitates it. Now he wants to know if people learnt something. It’s time to test them. 

According to speaker Larry Israelite, our learning designer will have to book a meeting with a (busy) subject-matter-expert in order to create a test. And after his first design effort, he will no doubt go back to that busy person to correct and refine the test. If he instead asked the crowd to make the test for him, he would get much faster to a perfectly acceptable test.

How does it work?

In 1906, a British statistician Francis Galton observed during a country fair that the average answer of a crowd of about 800 people guessing the weight of an ox was correct to within 1% of the actual answer. He proposed that provided the size of the crowd hit a critical-mass, this would always be the case: The crowd is smarter than the sum of its parts. And its right.

To see the principle in action, our speaker asked us to make a test together using an online tool from Smarterer. The 200-odd attendees created quiz questions on “the 80s” related to different categories (trends, movies, hair-bands). Then we corrected the test questions that other people had written: Are the answer options correct? Is the question clear? Are there issues with the answers cited as correct? etc.. Within about 5 minutes, we had a test of 300 questions, signed-off by over 100 people.

My first reaction was: This is awesome! Crowdsourcing is brilliant. Where is the app for this? I want it!

Then I thought a little more…


Firstly, what about skills?
My neighbour made a knowledge-based training programme. For him, it might be interesting to test that knowledge. But how much do I really care about knowledge testing? How can I get the crowd involved in skills-assessment?


Actually, do I even care about testing at all?
If I slow down a bit and think about the final result I want from my learning initiative, it is hardly ever (never?) really about people passing a test. What I want is for people to do what they are supposed to do, to get the business results I need. Provided they are consistently doing that, do I really care what they learnt or how? Wouldn’t it be better to put the crowd’s wisdom and resources into we be putting more effort into supporting actual performance in the real workplace?


And finally: Am I really sold on the wisdom of the crowd? 
In Francis Galton’s original crowdsourcing experiment, the participants were “country-folk” living in an era of agriculture and farming. They might have known a thing or two about oxen. And they could see the ox, a physical thing, “weighed-up of” real facts.

But today, we were talking about people-culture, movies and random 80s opinion. There was no ox in the room and the questions did not concern physical factual attributes. Yes, we made a test together and yes we agreed on the questions and answers. But were we right? And if we are not yet sure and this has to be checked, then didn’t we just lose the whole (speed) mission of crowdsourcing the test creation in the first place (instead of just asking an “80s SME”) ?

I suppose therefore that this question of crowdsourcing expertise and testing is not about speed and test answers at all, but about trust and control. Can our U.S Federal Government learning designer put his faith in the crowd of government employees to make his test? Or will he feel the continued need to control and verify everything with someone who knows best?

To be or not to be, THAT is the question.

Should I ask the crowd?

Aaron Silvers and Megan Bowe on (the philosophy of) content wrangling

ATD TK 2015, session TH304 is about content wrangling. The word (wrangling) seems to fit the first speaker, Aaron Silvers. A very peaceful looking man, I can imagine him coming in to put order into the mess and bring everything together. As a learning designer, technologist and strategist, he has worked with the NFL, US departments of defence, homeland security and education …and plenty of others. His equally cool co-speaker Megan Bowe works at Knewton, is a principal at consultancy company “Making Better” and co-created the “Up to All of Us” community.

 

Would you like to audit all the content in the organisation to know what is out there and to organise it better? Or set-up a platform to improve social learning and sharing of expertise and content? Or make existing materials more easy to search and digest?

If the answer is yes, you need to do a good job of content wrangling: Find what you have and make it usable for your people.

 

Megan tells us the primary steps for getting your content in order:

  • First, you need to get everything together (inventory) and know what you have, what you can delete and what you need more of (audit)
  • Next, think about how your people search for content, so you can create an effective “tagging taxonomy” to improve search of that content. Megan’s suggestion for doing this effectively is to do a card-sorting exercise with the users/stakeholders in the organisation. Together, they will create the right structure for the content.
  • Now think about how small you can make content, so that it is effective, but easy to swallow (granularity)
  • Then make things modular, so that content can stand alone. This will allow you to put things in the right order and also re-use content for multiple uses.

 

Once your content is broken down into the right collections of granular and modular well-tagged pieces, it’s time to think about how and where you will put it all together.

Back on the mic, Aaron Silvers says that when we do this, we must remember the mission of our work and the context of today’s business: Our aim is to make it easier for a responsive organisation to pull out content, even when the context or environment changes. We have to be sure that what we make is effective today, as well as sustainable for the future.

Silvers suggests that we take a lean approach to this work, focussing on what really matters: Where are our users? Who are they? What are they trying to do? And why?

 

Rather than get into the technology of content platforms at this point, the formal part of the session came to what seemed to be an abrupt end, opening the floor to any and all questions.

Not being a real techy guy and never building systems for corporate learning, I wondered why I was in this session for a while. But when I looked a little closer at what was being discussed, I realised that what Silvers and Bowe have done is give an effective and lean approach to consulting with customers and organising things (anything) in a given context.

I can imagine (I know, I’m a geek) going home to my DVD collection like a character from “High Fidelity” and getting all that film in order, searchable and chunked down into “all the best bits” for consumption by friends and family. But their work is much more than that…

When they talked about card-sorting, it reminded me of courses on metaphysics, Pirsig’s books (“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and “Lila”) and how the structure you give to something defines the experience you have of the world. There is beauty in this functional work. Silvers and Bowe are not wrangling content at all. They are defining purpose and values for the organisation, creating the space for breathing creativity and innovation.

 

Humans like to categorise and structure things. It brings comfortable order and a sense of safety. But the way these categories and structures are defined can change the way we experience things.

For example, if I look out of my window to Las Vegas Boulevard, I may compartmentalise what I see into buildings, water, people and lights. If I were thinking about making changes to that environment or its processes, I might then think of how the space is used and the efficient flow of traffic. But if I break down that same vision into entertainment activities, advertisements and mood, I would have a completely different vision. And that vision could lead me to work instead on improving the user experience or linking publicity to user emotions.

Our perception defines our reality and our subsequent behaviour.

And so, the work of “putting things in order” is not to be overlooked. Get it wrong and you may have an impossible mess that no-one can deal with. Or you may have a specific vision that leads to specific (potentially undesired) outputs. Get it right and you will give people the power to see new things, find more value and create change.

You might also find the answer to the questions that opened this blog-post.

 

Thanks for reading!
@dan_steer

ps For more “how-to” information on content wrangling, go here: http://eepurl.com/LpdwD

JD Dillon on Breaking Down Silos to Release Organisational Potential

First things first: JD just saved my conference. My first iteration of “Practical Use of Social Media for Formal Learning” was at 10.30 this morning. At exactly 10.10 my computer battery announced it was going to run out. And yes, I had left my US adaptor in my hotel… across the road… …again. Just before it actually did die, I got everything onto JDs computer and all went well. So thanks!

 

So we know JD is useful, but what does he have to say about breaking down silos in an organisation to create better sharing, more sociability and more learning? When an organisation changes and grows, how do you keep people up-to-date, talking, asking questions and passing on their expertise?

His first reflection was to make an internal Wiki. His mission was to get away from individual department owned silos of protected information and centralise things. His tool of choice was “Confluence” because in addition to the classic Wiki style, people could create forums (fora?), comment and like things. If it’s good enough for Facebook…

Confluence brought some changes that JD is proud of by creating a better flow of meaningful information. And gradually, it started to change the way people thought about “social learning”. This is what JD says about making it actually happen…

 

First of all, you need to get some content online, so that when other come online they can see the value. If there is nothing there, people won’t see the value. In Kaplan, this consisted of 2 main approaches: 1) JD himself did some regular writing and 2) specific early-adopter-types were also (slyly, on the side) asked to get on there and add something.

 

Secondly, don’t assume that because people can add stuff that they can add stuff. The platform might be there, but people may need help getting skilled in sharing. For Kaplan, JD took the “BT Dare-to-Share” approach of setting up a webcam, inviting in subject matter experts and asking them questions. That created initial content for the platform and also helped people to see how it was done.

 

Thirdly (linked to point 2): Use video. YouTube is the success it is because video works. If experts have messages to share about how things work, this can be shared first with video. Of course, it can be supported by workflow processes, technical documents or SOPs (standard operating procedures). But the entry point of video is more user-pleasing.

 

Point four: Try, try, try. Don’t assume that whatever you planned to do to set up the social community will work. Just get on their and try something. But then measure the results. See what people read and what they don’t. Measure the number of hits a video gets. See what they like. See what they commented on. If it works, do it again. If it doesn’t, try something else.

 

Next: Build on formal learning experiences you already have to get the informal social learning ball rolling. If you have a training happening, use a platform like “Confluence” to create some discussion after the classroom moment. Make that part of the training process and you just created some content, as well as getting people active on the tool.

 

Useful links:
-> BT Dare to Share (video): http://youtu.be/gtVYkEdGtfo
-> Enhance Training and Other Formal Learning with Social Media: https://dansteer.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/enhance-training-and-other-formal-learning-with-social-media
-> Online Community Management Best Practices and Tips: https://dansteer.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/online-community-management-tips-and-best-practices

 

Thanks for reading
And thanks to Kluwer for sponsoring my trip
@dan_steer

 

ATD TK15 wishlist

After a couple of days training in Holland and 2 very long flights, I have arrived in Las Vegas and it’s time for last-minute ATD TK15 planning. As I make my way through the massive amount of session choices for each day, I have compiled my wish-list for the week. If you can help a boy make his dreams come true, let me know…

 

Wish number 1: Bring some real value to the 6 people who are coming to my pre-conf workshop on “Getting Started with Social Media for Training”

6 people have trusted me with 4-hours of their time on Tuesday afternoon before TK15 goes into full-swing. In my pre-conference workshop, we will discover the value of YouTube, Padlet, Pearltrees and Socrative for training. I want them to walk out ready for action…

 

Wish number 2: Turn 15 dollars into 30 on the blackjack table.. .. and walk away

Last year, I took 200 dollars to the casino. I wanted to experience the casino (for the first time) but not get too sucked in. It lasted 43 minutes. I am the worst black-jack player ever.

This year, I’m taking 1 $15 chip and going all-in 🙂

 

Wish number 3: Get a Muppet interview for the Vegas Videos

Every time I go to a conference, I interview speakers and give mini-updates via my YouTube channel. Last year in Las Vegas I spoke with Chad Udell on the amazing possibilities of mobile and Jane Bozarth on building a community culture. At the ICE conference in Washington Anders Gronstedt talked to me about transmedia storytelling and … wait for it … I even managed to get an interview on learning with Sprokit the robot at the Smithsonian 🙂

 

This year, I will follow a session with Michele Lentz from Oracle on bringing the magic of Jim Henson to instructional design. And apparently a real Muppet will be present. That’s got to be worth an interview, right?

 

Wish number 4: Make people make more noise than ever before

It’s sad, but true: I get-off on positive auditive feedback. My wife will tell you that even if she sarcastically says “I love you” during an argument, I still take it positively.

During my previous conference sessions I have convinced participants to make enough noise that JD_Dillon thought there was a train coming through . Can this be beaten?

 

Wish number 5: Follow these sessions and learn something new

Having been to 4 ATD conferences over the last 3 years, it seems harder each time to find new ideas. There are some great sessions planned on wider organisational learning topics which I will follow, like:

 

To get the best from such a conference, it really depends on what focus you have during the week. I’m also hoping to get some new ideas as a trainer and to that end I will also follow:

 

Wish number 6: Make it through the week without being approached with help for any of my “party needs”

You may not know that I am apparently a US-drug-dealer magnet. I don’t know how it happens, but Denver, Dallas, Washington, Vegas, wherever… someone always tries to sell me something horrible. Credit to the last guy, who rather than outright asking “Do you need any crack, brother?” actually chatted me up for a while first with talk about the album he needed money to produce… I made it to my hotel… so far so good.

 

..and speaking of the hotel, I definitely owe fellow-speak Bianca Woods a beer. I was booked at Caesar’s Palace for over $200 a night, but she told me about the Flamingo just across the street. I have already saved $150 a night on the room. Which, by the way, is still awesome! Thanks Bianca!

 

Tune in for updates throughout the week.

Go Learning Geeks!

 

 

Ger Driessen’s Vision of Big Data for Learning and Performance Support

The man from next door (OK, The Netherlands) Ger Driessen kicks off ASTD2014 session SU210 by telling us that we won’t leave with concrete ready to implement tips today, but what he does want is that we be ready for the future of Big Learning Data…

 

What is big data?

Obviously it’s big, says Driessen. But when we talk about big data today, we mean something specific. It’s big, it’s second hand, it’s messy and it’s all about correlation.

In 1439, Gutenberg introduced the printing press. In less than 100 years, more than 8 million books had been printed. (More than in the previous 12 centuries!) This number kept growing at a ridiculous rate until the year 2000, where digital content started to take its place. Today, there is less than 7% of analogue data compared to 93% digital. To be more precise, 1200 exabytes. This number is enormous! Translate it into books, and you can cover the USA 52 times. Burn into onto CD-Roms and pile them up and you’ll get 5 times from Earth to the moon! So, big data is BIG!

The data we have is also very messy and second-hand. As an example, when the USA used to correlate information on pricing into a nice tidy report, they had to spend 250 million to collect data from many many offices. It was a big job. And inefficient: Between the time they had collected the information and the time they had out it all into a report, the data was old and out-of-date. With big-data potential, this will be a problem of the past…

Finally, Driessen underlines that when we talk about big data, we are not thinking in old-fashioned ways about causation, but rather concentrating on correlation and trends. If we can capture trends, we may have useful input for various applications. Like learning.

 

Data is available and applied everywhere

Data can be collected from reports, Internet, tablets and smartphones, GPS and location sensors, wearable technology and pretty much everything! What was the internet for sharing between computers became the internet of things, and now the internet of everything. In the future, we will hook up to the “internet of brains”.

The data collected is being used by Google to find out about flu trends in the USA, by Obama in his election campaigns and by Netflix to feed audience reactions into plot and script-writing of future episodes. Think of an application and you can probably use big-data to bring results.

 

So, what about learning and big-data?

Driessen starts by underlining that in the last few years, the learning focus with big-data has been on evaluation of learning, with a large focus on level 1 and level 2 evaluation. but he says that other examples are far more interesting, because they feed into learning activities, rather than pulling conclusions out of (about) learning that has already take place.

The first interesting example shared by Driessen is of the Bank of America. Faced with a problem in productivity in their call-centre, they were thinking about giving some training to their people. But first they decided to run some people analytics. Using wearable technology, they tracked the movements of their staff to look for trends at work. They quickly realised that most of the staff had extremely limited social contact at work. With the hypothesis that social-contact might lead to better sharing and learning (venting, discussing) they decided not to focus on training, but simply change the shift pattern in the call-centre to get people more in contact with each other. Result? Better productivity!

When it’s not people analytics, companies are using predictive analytics to look at what is currently happening (online) and make predictions. Facebook knows what you and your friends are looking at (and liking) and drives publicity to you that is likely to be interesting. Could the same kind of predictive analysis proactively help people to improve performance at work?

 

What kind of data could we collect to feed into learning + performance support?

According to Driessen, it will be very easy in the future to use devices to collect interesting data on position/metrics, biometrics, use of tools and hardware, social media usage etc… We will be able to track what people are doing and provide proactive input to help them perform better. Although it might be a bit early today, the future is coming….

 

See also:

 

Thanks for reading!

D