Back to reality!!

Having attended my third Learning Technologies Conference this year I feel pretty up to speed now with the concepts of social learning, networking, online learning, new technologies, smart devices & rapid authoring etc etc.


Every year I attend I get excited about everything that I hear and see and think about the impact that each of these things could have in my own team and organisation. I take these ideas back to the workplace and share what I have heard and seen with my team members and any one else who will listen.


Some are interested and want to know more and be involved in this learning 'revolution'.


Others will listen and humour me, before going back to 'same old same old' way of thinking and only see most of these as only concepts and not things 'that would ever work in practice' or 'I can't see the benefit'


So this is it - Reality Bites !


Don't get me wrong I have been able to influence how learning technologies are viewed and momentum is growing with our own team NING network and creation of a SharePoint site. We now also have two webinar licences and use them for meetings (not delivery yet). There is also an acknowledgement that any new platforms or systems need to have the ability to provide other tools such as discussion forums, blogs etc. But how can we continually influence and bring some of these things to life.


How do you take the concepts of Learning Technologies and make then a reality. Have you any suggestions on ways to influence or spread the word back in 'reality'? 


Have you any examples of what has really worked for you that you can share with this group. I'm guessing that most of us are in the same boat and I'm more than happy to share how I have taken things further

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  • Having seen the ratio jump from 90:9:1 to 90:8:2, I'm feeling quite enthusiastic. The great thing about the conference is that you can meet people on the same wavelength who 'get it'. The downside of the the conference is that we are mostly small teams or individuals who go back to our real worlds and have to step back and re-phrase our arguments - I recognise the dip you initially feel coming back. The upside of this fab community is that you can continue the discussion and debate through to the next level and sense-check some of your own ideas.

    Over the last couple of years I've worked with a group of regional champions who work in the field - equivalent to business users. Mixed success as those who are already early adopters jump on the new tools with vigour and those who aren't, by nature, don't. However I have seen 2 or 3 of them switch from being 'don't do technology' to being active supporters. Its gradual but the moment they can make it relevant and personal to their jobs they can pass on benefits to their peers. It's the usual thing - they don't want to hear it from me but they will listen to a trusted colleague.

    In the last year I've also had some success with introducing webinar technology and have recently launched a piece of scenario based e-learning that introduces some of the newer tools and technologies in the context of the roles that our remote workforce undertake - so social bookmarking or RSS in the context of always staying up to date with latest guidance or research whereever you are, and wikis as collaborative web pages that can help with good practice development with a wider audience than you could reach face to face.

    While I'd like to do a harder sell and convert people to more lightbulb moments by using the 'social learning' terms, the reality is that the softer approach using their framework and reference points probably has more impact. So focusing on (simply) using what we have already more creatively without additional development or cost, (that will be my Sharepoint approach) and highlighting personal benefits relating to time and what matters to them seems to be the way. It's more behavioural change than just developing competence which is more tricky.

    So find some business users, mask the web 2.0 talk (great points from Karyn) and maybe we'll get the contribution ratio up to 3.
    • Well it's a pleasure being part of the 'two' and if only we were all part of the same team for the same organisation. We'd be training via telepathy now !!!!

      Thanks for your reply Katherine and I'm having some success with Sharepoint and webinars at the moment by incorporating them in to our team activity. This soft approach seems to be working with every team member having to facilitate a webinar and use the interactive tools in a fun way

      One of the games is the birthday game that we play - a national newspaper publishes birthdays of celebs and using the annotation tools each of us guesses the age and using the annotation tools to quickly 'write' the age of the celeb. I'm hoping that through these sorts of games my team can start to see how an online session can be designed to incorporate this interactivity. Simple and fun but quite effective - not to mention competitive.

      As for Sharepoint , we've a face to face meeting in March so we've created a workspace and have started discussions on what should be included and members are now adding agenda points and objectives that they would like to see included. I've also created some wiki pages on how to deliver successful webinars, using Audacity to create podcasts - the team have been writing the content themselves and really like this way of putting user guides together. It's much less formal and built on exprience rather than out of a workbook.

      Small steps but the idea is to develop the teams understanding of these tools first so we can start to integrate them in to learning solutions in the future
    • Hey, hey! Great to hear that you're having some success! As you know, I have some insight into your target audience, and I know this is no small achievement. Well done, you!
  • Hi Mike

    I think this is the cry of many an innovator's heart! Several people have remarked that the conference and the exhibition seem to belong to different worlds. Upstairs, it's all about innovation and collaboration and social learning and empowerment and and and and. Downstairs, it's several paces behind as many vendors market tools that make it possible to do things the old way - just faster and with an audit trail.

    Wouldn't you just love to drag all the downstairs people upstairs? Some of the exhibitors do attend the conference, and they are the ones who seem to be pitching their products at a slightly different level. But, for the most part, the people downstairs are selling what the buyers want in order to stay in business. Upstairs is where we talk about stuff that said buyers need to hear, need to know about.

    One thing I have found is that, with skittish people from the 'downstairs' group, it is often safer to avoid using the 2.0 terminology. Don't talk about wikis and blogs, social learning and online collaboration. Talk about leveraging the assets already within the team, saving time away from the day job, making it possible for people to find out what they need without leaving their desks. Remember what their drivers are, and address those. Talk to them about all the lovely free stuff they can take advantage of, saving a fortune on one-size-fits-none materials.

    Don't know if any of this helps!
    • I think that is a really good point Karyn, you need to use language that people can relate to and understand. Make it relevant to them so the 'what's in for me' is very clear.

      I think what I have found as well is just the word technology seems to put people on the defensive as you get the 'Oh I'm not good with technology', 'I hate gadgets', I'm not tekky at all', type of comments and the mind set is so embedded you are fighting a losing battle from the off.

      I also think that if you do get the chance to try something new you can't assume that everyone is on the same page. I wrongly assumed that as soon as I created a network that my wider team would flock to it and take to it like a duck to water - after all everyone's on Facebook aren't they? How wrong I was, it took 12 months just to get about 10-15 people using it on a regular basis.

      I've only recently heard of the 90/8/2 rule so that makes me feel a bit better, but why am I always one of the two ?? It's frustrating.....
    • Stick with us... there are a lot of us 'twos' in this space!
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