Posts Tagged ‘Web 2.0’

by Rich Mesch

Please join Reni Gorman and I at mLearnCon 2011 in San Jose, CA from June 20-23. Reni and I will be speaking on June 21; our topic is “Mobile Learning is SO 10 Minutes Ago… Mobile Performance is NOW!” Here’s a summary of our session; we hope to see you there!

Imagine going out and buying a shiny new sports car. Now imagine hitching up a horse to it, and having the horse drag your car to work every day.

Sound crazy? Sure it does. So why are people still using mobile devices to deliver e-learning courses?

Years ago, Nicholas Negroponte insisted that in the not-too-distant future, we would all be wearing our computers. He was envisioning complex eyepieces and finger sensors with wires running up your sleeves. He had the right idea but the wrong form factor; he didn’t foresee that we’d be carrying our computers in our pockets and calling them “phones.”

Mobile learning is on everybody’s to-do list, and why not? Who wouldn’t want learning that could follow an employee no matter where she went? But like so many emerging technologies, we need to look past the gloss of the possible to the reality of the useful. Today’s smart phones have nearly as many capabilities as our desktop computers, but that doesn’t mean we use them the same way. And when we try to deliver learning to a mobile device the same way we deliver it to a desktop computer, we miss the point of having a mobile device to begin with. (more…)


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by Paula Jayne White, Ph.D.

A few months ago, I received a video featuring a fictional conversation between Philadelphia Phillies greats Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth.  Unlike most joke emails, this one made me stop and watch, despite my normal instinct to skip or delete.  (Because of strong language, I don’t include the clip here, but interested adults can easily find it on YouTube.) 

I knew instantly that I was hooked.  The more videos like this that I found – with their lego-like characters and flat computer voices—the more I wanted to watch—no matter the content.  This one, for example, gives new meaning to the concept of the home makeover show:


Even insurance giant Geico uses them in their ads:


The text-to-video technology enabling these videos, created by xtranormal.com, is simple—“if you know how to type, you can make movies!”  Intriguing and fun, but not really a learning tool, right? 


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by Reni Gorman

I agree with Paula Jayne, social networking should not be about adding people to your network willy nilly to get the highest number of connections. All too often I get a LinkedIn request from someone whose name just doesn’t ring a bell. There I sit, agonizing over who this could be and wondering why I don’t remember them. Then I write back and say: “I am sorry, can you remind me how we know each other?” Sometimes I get no reply, other times I get a reply that says: “We don’t know each other directly but we both worked for ABC Company.” It all depends on where you draw the line.

However, I do believe there are other reasons to connect even when you don’t know the person previously. In fact, isn’t that what social media is about? Making new connections you didn’t have before? I don’t look at it as just a tool to put my address book online, I look at it also as a tool to find new contacts, for various reasons. The benefit of the social web is that I can see into my friend’s contact list and connect with people who I would not have connected with otherwise. For example, I interview people for PDG’s Strategy Consulting team and often after the interview, they send me a LinkedIn request—and I accept. Especially if I spoke to them, I liked them, and I feel we had a connection. I have sometimes received requests to connect with people who have read my blog, sent me theirs, are in the same industry and want to be connected—and I accept. And despite all the examples I just gave you, I still don’t consider myself an Open Networker, who, according to Wikipedia, is a member of a business-oriented social networking site such as LinkedIn who positively encourages connections from any other member, whether or not they have had a previous business relationship.

Paula Jayne also talks about the need to contact everyone in her contact list once a month.. I don’t think having people in your network means you have to contact them once a month or at any other interval. I know people with whom I only speak once a year and there is nothing wrong with that in my eyes. Based on the examples above, I have contacts I may never reconnect with—and I am okay with that too. I might even eventually remove them—once I no longer remember them. The goal of my network is not necessarily to have “relationships” with every single person, it is to have connections that can help me and who I can help when needed. Isn’t that the goal of networking to begin with? Social media allows me to do something I could not do before and that is to see my connections’ connections’ connections and so on. It is, therefore, about connections—therein lies the power.

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by Paula Jayne White, Ph.D.

Social networking has become the modern arcade game for some– a relentless pursuit to earn the high score by adding the largest number of contacts.  Bemused, I watch friends pounce on new contacts: friends of friends they barely know; local celebrities; acquaintances with whom they spoke just once.  And I laugh when they tweet, “Just added my 2000th contact!” or “Joe Smith is my 1500th friend on Facebook!” 

I think too of the day when, clad in sleep pants and a Penn State sweatshirt overdue for the laundry, I armed myself for serious networking.  Hours later, I emerged glassy-eyed, having sent 25 invitations to connect.  The funny part is that, like my contact-collecting friends, I really hadn’t networked at all.  Instead, we found ourselves caught in the trap of mistaking contact collection with actual networking.

For sellers, it’s easy to fall into this same trap.  Accustomed to numbers and quotas, we see social networking as an expedient and highly-effective means to broaden our contacts without having to put in the long hours that face-to-face networking requires.  Because time is money, more contacts in fewer hours should be a good thing.  But it isn’t exactly.

Here’s the issue: When used in the way that I described here, social networking is missing the conversation and mutual information sharing that turn contacts into relationships.  In other words, it isn’t social!  People you “know” only by virtue of what they have posted on their social network pages are unlikely to go to bat for you—or you for them—simply because you don’t actually know each other at all.  That’s why, no matter how efficiently modern technology helps us to gather contacts, we still need to do the hard work of meeting people, talking to them, getting to know them one-on-one, if our networking efforts are to succeed.

For this reason, collecting random contacts is counterproductive as well.  At current count, with 479 people in my combined social networks (with some overlaps) I need to spend over 70 hours per month just to have 10 minutes of interaction with each contact.   Multiply this number by a factor of 5 or 10, and you can see why having a massive contact network is tantamount to having no network at all.  There just isn’t time to build relationships with that many people. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love social networking.  Used judiciously, it helps us meet and organize our contacts.  It provides a springboard for keeping up with people and for reaching out to them personally about things that matter to them.  And it’s fun, too!  But numbers in the database don’t mean real contacts, and invitations to connect are no substitute for real conversations.   We still need to get out there and talk to each other.  Which I swear I’ll do just as soon as I send out a few more contact invites

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by Rich Mesch

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of delivering a session on Virtual Worlds at the eLearning Guild’s Online Forums with Susan Hendrich of AstraZeneca. The title of the session was “10,000 Reasons Virtual Worlds Won’t Work for Your Organization…And 10 Good Reasons They Will.” I titled the presentation that way because the more I talked to organizations, the more I heard, “Yeah, we looked at Virtual Worlds, and we realized it wouldn’t work for us.” Now, that’s not too surprising—in a recent post, I talked about Gartner’s Hype Cycle, and how Virtual Worlds were in the Trough of Disillusionment. And the reality is, like any new approach and new technology, there are significant barriers to success. So my thought was, let’s be upfront and honest; let’s talk about all the good reasons why organizations feel they can’t implement Virtual Worlds, and then let’s talk about some things you can do to help drive success.

 I wanted to talk a little bit more on the blog about what those 10 good reasons were. So let’s start in the middle, with #5.

 Reason #5: Virtual Worlds encourage human interaction, instead of replacing it.

Once upon at time we primarily used classes to teach. Experts had information, and they gave it to others. The model looked like this:


That worked for about ten thousand years. About thirty years ago, we started using computers. Except, instead of creating something new, we just allowed the computers to replace the expert. The model looked like this:


Pretty familiar, right? Information was still one-way.

 Just a few years ago, the concept of Web 2.0 came along. The biggest difference with Web 2.0 was that technology was now encouraging participation. The truth is, everybody in an organization has valuable information. And that information needs to flow between everybody, not just from experts outward. And the technology needs to support that and provide the conduit for the communication, not replace it. Whether it’s social networks, mobile applications, or immersive learning, technology needs to keep information flowing from people to people. The model looks more like this:


One of the great things about virtual worlds is they can create the same kind of one-to-one or group-to-group interaction that works so well in real life; the benefit, of course, is that virtual teams that can’t necessarily be in the same room can communicate more effectively. Sure, they could jump on a conference call or a WebEx, but that would eliminate the a lot of the visual and emotional cues that create effective communication… and we’ll talk about that more in my next post!

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