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Micro-blogging at Work May 30, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I’ve been on Twitter for over a year, and I find great value in the ability to ask questions to a large group of people (ex. friends, peers, etc.) when I need to find information. I often get excellent answers and suggestions that have much more value than a Google search would have yielded. I also enjoy the ability to share helpful resources that I find, and I do my best to answer questions that other people have. It only makes sense that organizations are starting to bring the same concept of Twitter (micro-blogging) in-house to improve communication between employees.

What is micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is the process of sending short text updates that describe what you’re doing and/or thinking to a web site or web application. The messages are available to whomever has subscribed to view your messages. There are many micro-blogging platforms (see below) that allow you to easily track messages from your friends and peers, and they also make it easy to search for messages that were previously posted. All of the information is saved and it can be searched. Read a more detailed definition of micro-blogging.

How can micro-blogging be beneficial at work?

Here are a few examples of how micro-blogging can be beneficial at work. Micro-blogging can be used to:

  • Ask questions
  • Share project updates
  • Make organization-wide announcements (for non-critical information)
  • Build a community (ex. have new employees communicate with each other and share their experiences)
  • Promote a culture of information sharing

We’re in the early stages of a micro-blogging trial at work. I can’t say much about it, but I am very pleased with what I’ve seen so far. I’m seeing employees making connections with co-workers in different divisions, and I’m seeing employees provide each other with assistance on a regular basis. While I can’t articulate a rock-solid business case for micro-blogging, this behavior screams success to me.

Selecting a micro-blogging platform

If you are concerned about your employees sharing confidential or proprietary information, you will probably want to be very careful when selecting a micro-blogging platform. You can use an internally-hosted micro-blogging platform, or you can consider using a solution hosted by a vendor. Some of the most popular platforms are:

Involve the right people

When considering micro-blogging at your organization, you’ll need to make sure to involve the right people. I highly recommend you bring in people from the following departments. Help them understand micro-blogging and why you’re interested in using it:

  • Corporate Communications
  • HR
  • IT
  • Legal

Run a pilot program

Consider running a pilot program, where you use micro-blogging for a small group of users (perhaps the training department?). This will let you get a feel for how the concept works, and you should be able to figure out its potential pretty quickly. (I would also recommend that you jump on Twitter, just to get a quick understanding of how micro-blogging works.)

Good luck, and please leave a comment below if you have experience using micro-blogging at work. I’d love to hear how it is going.

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25 Tools: A Toolbox for Learning Professionals May 22, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Jane Hart recently published the Top 25 Tools for Learning Professionals. This list was compiled by surveying learning professionals from around the world, and a majority of the tools listed are free!

Check out the slides below for an overview of the tools, and be sure to visit Jane’s site for more great information.

Read the Top 25 announcement

Read more about the Top 25 tools

Heading to the Corporate University Summit May 16, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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I will be heading to Chicago on Tuesday for the Corporate University Summit, a corporate learning and development conference. I will be presenting a session on mobile learning on Wednesday, and I plan on spending the rest of the time making connections with peers and absorbing as much I can from the other presenters.

Here are some of the sessions/presentations that sound most interesting to me:

If you will be attending the conference, please say hello! If you will not be in attendance, let me know if you have questions about the conference or any of the presentations. I will be happy to get answers and report back.

Read more about the Corporate University Summit

How to Get the Most Out of a Conference May 7, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Conferences have been on my mind quite a bit lately. I will be presenting a session on mobile learning at the Corporate University Summit in a couple weeks in Chicago, and I’m getting ready to submit a proposal or two for DevLearn. So you can see why I was pleasantly surprised today when I ran across an excellent blog post on how to get the most out of a conference. The post is by Dan McCarthy, and he wrote it over on his Great Leadership blog. Here’s a summary of his suggestions:

  1. Choose your conference wisely.
  2. Take time to to explore and experience the surrounding area.
  3. Try to suspend your judgement, be open minded, curious, and open to possibilities.
  4. Watch your diet and stay fit.
  5. Force yourself to network.
  6. Don’t be one of those attendees that race up and down the trade show isles with a shopping bag, avoiding eye contact with the vendors, and grabbing handfuls of useless junk.
  7. Keep a running list of ideas, insights, and action items; your key take-a-ways from each day.
  8. Have fun, but be on your best behavior.
  9. Ship your stuff back to your office.
  10. Don’t forget to thank your manager for allowing you to attend.
  11. Share something with your team or coworkers.
  12. If you can, offer to be a presenter, break-out facilitator, discussion moderator, or any opportunity to get involved.

Read Dan’s full post, How to Get the Most Out of a Conference, for more information on each of his suggestions. And if you see me at a conference, please stop and introduce yourself!

Additional resources:

The Future of eLearning is Social Learning May 2, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Jane Hart has been creating presentations recently to help explain social learning to her clients. Fortunately for us, she is now sharing some of this content online: Jane is working on a 3-part series related to social learning, and the first 2 parts are now available (and embedded below). Keep an eye out for the third part, which should hopefully be published in a week or two.

These presentations are valuable for several reasons. First, they explain the significance and importance of social learning in simple, people terms without getting overly technical. I would feel very comfortable using these presentations to help educate upper management on the benefits of social learning without hesitation. Second, the presentations describe a solid approach (using Elgg) for getting started with social learning. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the social learning tools out there, and even though I’ve never used Elgg, it seems like it would be a great starting point. Finally, the presentations are extremely portable on SlideShare; you can embed and share them very easily with others. Take a look…

Part 1: The Future of eLearning is Social Learning

Part 2: Using Elgg as as Social Learning Platform

Part 3: Coming soon!