Monday, April 27, 2009

Monty Python gets it.

To extend last week's post on who owns information, how about this: Monty Python put free videos on YouTube, in better quality than the bootlegged ones -- and sold 23 THOUSAND PERCENT more DVDs

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Owns Information?

A 'social learning' theme keeps kicking dust in my direction, first when the TR-DEV Yahoo group folded (see post below from January 24), and again the other night. Clark Quinn, Marcia Conner, and others have begun a wonderful Thursday-night Twitter gathering (8pm EST; #lrnchat). Conversation turned to the willingness to share information, and I noted that it is often management that is reticent to share data. My grad school research on communities of practice included an interesting 2000 article on communities, why people freely participate in them, and why they are willing to share.

In the virtual communities under study, Wasko and Faraj (2000) found that people participate because they feel knowledge is a public good and should be shared out of a sense of moral obligation and community, rather than self-interest. This is positioned in contrast to the organizational view that knowledge is a private good owned by the organization or individual members. Wasko and Faraj interpret their findings to indicate that self-interest (to include organizational control or institutionalized CoPs) “denigrates” (p.171) the community. Essentially, members share from feelings of doing the right thing, and engage in intellectual exchange for its own sake.

Additionally, Wasko and Faraj found that community members act out of community interest, not self interest, and concluded that knowledge is owned and maintained neither by the organization nor by the individual, but by the community itself.

Your thoughts?

The full citation is Wasko, M. & Faraj, S. (2000). “It is what one does”: Why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. Journal of Strategic Information Systems 9(2-3), 155-173.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009 Top Ten Tools for Learning Professionals

Each year Jane Hart of the UK's Centre for Learning and Perfomance Technologies invites practitioners to submit their "Top 10 Tools for Learning Professionals". Here's mine; be sure to check out the lists others have submitted.

1. iPhone. It completes me. Much more computer than phone, it’s on this list because of the apps (which count as “software”, I should think). It’s a mobile one-stop repository for productivity tools (Google, Evernote); entertainment tools (Pandora radio, Flixster), job aids (the first-aid reference Pocket Aid: even when out of phone range the reference material still works); and fun and games including real-time handheld Scrabble with friends anywhere in the world. Also excellent for settling barroom arguments, not that I’d know.

2. Google reader: Pops up on my IGoogle home page with everything I want to follow, with minimal clutter and fuss.

3. PowerPoint: Still the best, least expensive, and most user-familiar “authoring tool” available. Good e-learning is about design, not software.

4. SnagIt: My single most-used application, ahead even of Word and PowerPoint. Very inexpensive., and version 9 is very robust, with excellent editing capabilities. From Techsmith.

5. Fireworks. I still say this beats Photoshop hands-down for creating graphics for the web and editing photos.

6. Quia: Inexpensive one-stop site for unlimited-use quizzes, Flash games, evaluations. Statistical feedback on quizzes rivals that provided by many much-pricier LMSs.

7. YouTube. The woefully misused “comment feature” is excellent for generating learner response and interaction with video/instructor. See, for instance, what Tonya TKO did.

8. Skype. I have lots of colleagues in the UK and Australia; this lets me talk to them via text or VOIP for free. For about US .17/minute I can also call most landlines worldwide from anywhere in the world without racking up extra charges on my cell plan. Can’t beat that.

9. Twitter. Any hour, day or night, there are dozens of people on Twitter who want to talk about things I didn’t know I wanted to talk about. And all in 140 characters or less. For those who believe it’s just self-centered updates, see some of the social learning experiments going on. “SLQOTD”, for instance, asks one social learning question of the day, to which anyone can respond. As of this writing: Day 80+ and counting.

10. WizIQ: FREE virtual classroom tool with good VOIP, some features to rival the big vendors. Some of the big boys don’t yet offer the object-oriented whiteboard that WizIQ has had from Day 1.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Can Your People Pass the Banana Test?

I'm researching an upcoming live-online session, "Tips for the Positive Deviant" and just ran into this anecdote:

During a positive deviance workshop designed to surface strategies for curtailing the spread of AIDS/HIV in Myanmar, "The group consisted of prostitutes -- nearly all of whom insisted she faithfully made her clients use condoms. The moment of truth occurred when each participant was asked to apply a condom to a banana. Varying degrees of dexterity quickly differentiated the pretenders from the practitioners...With the right exercises, many organizations could profit from appropriate reincarnations of the 'banana test'."*

We talk a lot about "assessment" of our learners, but do our assessments pack the punch of the banana test?

From Pascale, R. & Sternin, J.(May,2005). Your company's secret change agents. Harvard Business Review.