happy new y….no, wait it’s only 11

31 12 2006

for the past four new years i’ve found myself in exactly the position i’m in right now.  limbo.

after forty years of living in the eastern time zone, my idea of new years celebration is tied to the dropping of that ball above times square in new york.  to me, that moment is when the new year begins.  but it happened two hours ago and people here in california are still waiting to pour the champagne and find their date for the big kiss at midnight.  56 minutes from now.

the second year i was here i decided to celebrate when new york did.  boy did i get some strange reactions when I was being all gushy and happy at 9 in the evening! 

by this time of the evening on new years eve (50 minutes from midnight), i’m over it.  time square is almost empty by now, except all that confetti and noisemakers and plastic champagne glasses.

but here people are rushing down the sidewalk to get to where ever they want to be in 48 minutes when they are going so celebrate the year being 3 hours old.    LOL

i’ve made most of the adjustments to west coast living.  i never wake my parents up at 1:00 in the morning by calling at 10pm any more.  i get that the business day is in the morning here.  the afternoon is just for us west coasters.  but after four new year’s eves, i still don’t get why new years starts three hours after the ball has dropped.

whether you’ve been to bed and are awake again in the new year or waiting it out like all these people around here, i want to thank all of you who have shared so much of yourselves with me in 2006.  once again i’ve learned more this past year than i’ll ever remember, but i wouldn’t change anything about the year that has been.

2007 is full of new opportunities, new friends and new ideas.  if only the last 40 minutes of this wait would just disappear!


well jay did it!

31 12 2006

sometimes i feel compelled to do whatever jay is doing.  so here are my results from the superhero personality quiz.  well it is new year’s eve.  what the heck!

Your results:
You are Spider-ManSpidey

The Flash
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Iron Man

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

tweaked on twitter?

26 12 2006

while kathy sierra, does refer to twitter as "the new crackberry" in her post the asymptomatic twitter curve. here target for blame in our information overload struggles is clearly time magazine’s person of the year.


twitter is just another indication of our continuing, if not growing, inability  to manage the information we confront and create at any time.  she squarely lays the responsibility for this mismanagement on the individual – versus external actors.  of course it’s the external actors that we’d like to blame for overloading us.

kathy discusses linda stone’s concept of continuous partial attention.  stone says on her wiki:

To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention —
CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the
network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be
connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for
the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment.
To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to

Csikszentmihalyikathy links this to mihaly csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory by showing how our continuous partial attention never gives us the chance to focus and spend time with ideas th
us making it near to impossible for us to achieve any resemblance of flow.

i can say that this is definitely true in my case.  in fact stone’s thoughts were chilling to me.  it felt like she was inside my cluttered mind taking inventory.  while I have been able to keep myself from getting sucked into some applications (second life being front and center for me.  I just know myself and the day I create an sl avatar could very well be the last day I see real sunlight!), I have my weak points. monitoring the continuous launching of new and better (and worse) web 2.0 applications has been nearly a daily obsession for me.  i’m sure i have several hundred user accounts set up.  several times recently i’ve tried to create an account and found that someone has already registered my favored user name (dcleesfo).  indignant i would check out who it was, only to find that it was me.

another place where i lose myself to continuous partial attention is all the darned community sites.  let’s see, i have memberships/user accounts at:

  • zimbio
  • my yahoo
  • yahoo groups
    • trdev
    • communities of practice
    • evaluating elearning
    • roi.net
    • linkedin bloggers
    • salt
  • google
  • google groups
    • learning circuits blog author team
    • blogger help
  • flicker
  • msn
  • pbwiki forums
  • learning flow
  • myspace
  • elgg.net
  • elggspaces
  • linkedin
  • ilearnium.com

and that’s only the the CoP’s I can remember that relate to my work!!!  there are easily another handful of sites i am a member of related to my personal life. 

on top of all of this pile on the fact that I’m a gemini.  we have a reputation for havingAlanis_god very powerful curiosities and a "need to know" that finds us jumping from topic to topic a the slightest provocation. i’ve said for a long time that giving a gemini internet access is once again proof that, if she does exist, god definitely has a sense of humor.  i thought this was  going to be a quickly post and then i’d grab some dinner.  but when i went to kathy’s site to grab the permalink for  the link to her post i saw two other posts i just had to read.  then i lost an hour getting the link and quote from linda stone’s wiki!!!  we  wont even discuss tracking down this picture of alanis morisette!!!!!  yes, my mental image of god these days tends to be morisette’s portrayal of god in kevin smith’s dogma.

(i hear you laughing up there!)

so what am i to do?  stone’s right.  i have a tremendous need to be connected.  afterall, isn’t that what we keep talking about?  but sierra’s right too, flow definitely seems a far away dream.  while there are plenty of self-help books, tapes, websites, and, yes, even a few good web 2.0 applications out there to help me, they will never help unless i let go of one major error in my working ways.

with web 2.0 we trumpet the shift from the read-only web to the read/write web.  in our enthusiasm i’ve come to realize that many of us have fallen into the trap of focusing on the new aspect of  a technological innovation and forgetting about the strengths of the old.  I have to remember that it’s ok to just read occasionally.  if you don’t think focusing too strongly on the new can be dangerous take a look at graham watt’s comment regarding the race to the south pole on harold jarche’s blog.

finally, it’s my rudimentary understanding of networks that if every node in a network were firing at once no communication would occur.  worse yet,  in the case of  electrical  networks, like our brain for instance, it can lead to explosion or meltdown.

Read the rest of this entry »

a bangladeshi student on social networking

26 12 2006





in this video, atif sattar, a 16-year-old 11th grader in dakar, bangladesh makes a case why social network software like elgg.net is valuable to him. do we really need to worry about "fixing" the schools worldwide? or should we enable students to follow atif’s example?

(found via elgg.net news via Julie Lindsey’s blog)

hold your horses, tom

17 12 2006

my newest blog buddy has been tom haskins.  we met via a dialogue regarding november’s the big question on learning circuits blog.   since then we’ve been commenting back and forth on each other’s blogs and had a bit of backchannel conversation as well by email.  a prime example of the network effect impacting learning.  i find tom’s ideas to be intelligent, stimulating and challenging.  i love that!

his posts in response to lcb’s december big question(s) are no exception.  in two posts, version 3 in 2007 and challenges posed by my forecast he predicts that web 3.0 will emerge in 2007 and the next logical step from what we call web 2.0.  briefly, he sees a vision of content being learner/user centric in not only it’s focus but also in its creation and aggregation.  this will be accomplished in an environment free of the confines of software, websites, hardware, and mobile boundaries.

(before i get into the substance, let me be one of the first to say, that we will not be able to refer to this vision as web 3.0.  as tom predicts, the web, software, hardware, and mobile devices will be blurred together to the point that me might not even view it as the web anymore.  i’m not sure what to call it, but web 3.0 doesn’t work.)

while i pretty much agree with tom’s vision of the future, i do have reservations about the timing.  with the ieee 802.11n standard for wireless broadband not expected to be finalized until 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2007, it is unlikely that the vendors of the mobile devices will be able to gain much traction before the end of the year.  add to this that someone, instructional designers or others, will have to step up and create the paradigms and best practices that will inform the next revolution in learning and we’ll more likely see beta testing and leading edge adoption of tom’s vision nearer to the end of 2008 at best.   i also believe that microsoft vista will have a great impact on "what we end up doing" versus "what we could be doing" in the near future.

finally, while tom raises some very soul searching questions that every learning professional would benefit by answering for themselves, there are other factors which impact the type of change that tom is suggesting.   ulises mejias speaks of his in his short but stimulating article "a nomad’s guide to learning and social software" which appeared on the knowledge tree in 2005.  he says:

these complex tensions include, among other things, issues of access and knowledge diffusion: what factors determine who has access to the technology, and what mechanisms are in place to facilitate or obstruct the diffusion of knowledge from technologized to non-technologized realms of social life.

these non-learning factors will have a major impact on the advancement and adoption of the next paradigm in learning.  as has been the case with web 2.0, learning professionals will not only have to learn and prepare to help learners succeed with the new paradigm. but at the same time we will need to be the cheerleaders and champions of the new approach to our companies, institutions, and the public in general.

surely the beginning efforts of tom’s web 3.0 will appear before this time next year, but it will be a while before we reach the tipping point for these changes. 

so once again, tom.  we agree in the end, but disagree on some of the details.  but isn’t that what this is all about?

Blogged with Flock

blogs and communities

13 12 2006

nancy white has republished her article "blogs and community – launching a new paradigm for online community?" on her own website.  (it was originally published on the knowledge tree in september.) in the light of my last post, let me say that nancy is one of the researchers who i think serves our field well. 

"blogs and community" is a must read article for anyone interested in communities of practice and/or blogging.  if you are a community leader for a cop, particularly if you are using blog(s) as your primary vehicle in your community, nancy’s thoughts are indispensible.  i’ve been carrying a copy around with me constantly since september.  it’s covered with also sorts of notes and ideas related to my work as community leader of learning circuits blogtony karrer and i have discussed the article which was a major impetus behind our starting the big question on lcb.

not surprisingly, nancy reports that she just found out that this article has been nominated for an edublog award.  congrats to nancy and thanks for the leadership.

can we get a bit more precise?

11 12 2006

recently i’ve been seeing a lot of talk about professionalism amongst our ranks.  i don’t know if there really is more talk about it or i’m just more attuned to it than normal, but in either case, it’s on my radar screen and i think it’s a topic that’s important to our future within the enterprise.

for me it began when the "e" in elearning was raised as an issue with albert ip’s move to remove the "e" from the name of his blog.  does the "e" change who we are or how we are characterized by others?  does the "e" somehow limit us?  at about the same time i was taken to task for the use of an in appropriate word in the title of one of my posts.  the use of a movie character name made me look unprofessional and at risk of being shunned by the internet censor robots because the name might be offensive to some.

it continued as a theme in both of the first two the big question features we conducted on learning circuits blog.  in the october question we used the phrase "learning professionals."   while most participants used the phrase freely, a number of bloggers questioned what the term meant or whether or not calling ourselves professional is appropriate.  their sentiments were most strongly summarized in a statement clive shepard made in response to a comment on his post. 

"…is this [being unaware of key tools and concepts] true of other professionals? somehow i doubt it.  the phrase ‘learning professional’ is a complete misnomer…"

in the november question we used the acronyms ADDIE, HPT, and ISD.  several participants gave us a yellow card for the use of jargon. 

when we discuss concepts we are often not very accurate in what we are putting forwar.  recently i ran across a diagram presenting different types of learning content which included "training," "generic elearning" and "coaching" as content.  perhaps if you’re teaching a course on delivery methodologies, they would be considered content.  every where else, they would most likely represent delivery mechanisms to deliver content.   or we seem to be happy with lose definitions like "informal learning is the other 80% that formal learning isn’t." 

please understand that my concerns and commentary is not from a position of superiority or some other higher ground.  just a few weeks ago stephen downes correctly took me to task for using the phrase "making meaning."  i fall in to the same semantic traps.  while i can’t think of a better alternative, i’m getting a bit over the semantic contortions necessary to talk about what we do using the word learning (which used to simply be a verb).

in our november big question discussion of design models, karl kapp shared this nugget:

I often tell my students that when the ADDIE model is applied in business, it becomes the DI model (Develop and Implement). We really need to, as an industry, work on restoring the lost letters or we will not be aligned with the business units we are supposed to support.

as a field, we are not very rigorous in challenging the little real research that is done.  for example, in their recent survey of their membership on issues regarding informal learning, elearning guild reported that email was the #1 tool for informal learning.  but there is no evidence that the costs of maintaining the email system were included or a portion allocated when the respondent was asked about the amount of their training budget that went to promoting informal learning.  in fact, they were asked for an estimate of the percentage of their budget that goes to informal learning.  with no indication of what the respondent conceives of as informal learning, no indication of the actual breakdown and allocations of  the training budget, no definition of what "the training budget" includes, and no indication of whether all learning – formal and informal – is captured in the training budget or not; the data collected on this question has zero validity.

why is this all a concern?  

recently i read in an article regarding presentations to executives that not only do you need to quantify your arguments.  but that those arguments need to be well researched and documented.  strategic planning and budgeting at the top level of an organization is highly competitive and often cut-throat.  if i can point to such a glaring error in data like the elearning guild’s study, imagine what a well seasoned cfo could expose while she’s looking for programs to cut or to outsource in order to make the budget work.

any of the issues i’ve raised here can effect whether our peers across the organization respect us and trust that we’ve done our homework, or not.

so what can be done?

defining standards is a messy matter.  committee meetings, public soundings, drafts, reviews, re-drafts…bah humbug.   In this day and age of collaborative writing and open source software development, why would we cling to the idea of a centralized fount for direction.  can we develop the wikipedia of professional standards for learning professionals?  who needs to be involved as sponsors to grab peoples’ attention?  what needs to happen to gain participation?  to gain adoption of the concepts industry wide?  is astd’s cplp program the answer or at least a part of the answer?

are we professionals?  if not can we become professionals?  or does it really matter?  i think it does.  and so does mike b, a self-professed programmer who has worked on elearning projects, in a comment to the home post of november’s the big question:

I feel that although it may be simple for others to create content,
that the more effective training will be designed by people who
understand learning styles and who can follow a process that identifies
the best way to present information to the learners.  Mike B.