Another dot in the blogosphere?

SSI Enables followup 3

Posted on: April 20, 2016

I processed over 50 statements from the SSI Enables poll and am responding to those that had clear questions.

I started by responding to backchannel questions in part 1, and questions on work culture and worker-learner mindset in part 2.


How do you enhance Employee Motivation and provide a Conducive Learning Environment to promote Workplace Learning?

How to schedule learning for staff who work shifts in an operation that serves customers 24/7, 15h/day? Many of whom does not have access to computer at work and learning should preferably take place within working hours, i.e. not ‘eat’ into staff’s own time.

I am guessing that these questions are more about getting certified while still embedded at work instead of my topic of personalised learning.

To quickly recap, a personalised learning network (PLN) is based on just-in-time, informal, interstitial, and immediately meaningful forms of learning. This sort of learning happens continuously and is not bound by time or space. A worker learns because s/he wants to and the impact is almost immediate because learning is applied quickly at work.

A PLN might be useful in the workplace-based pursuit of a certificate or it might not.

There could be a few scenarios for workplace-based learning depending on contexts.

One is to set aside dedicated time and physical space for individual or group learning. This could take the form of a time of day or week, and a comfortable room with Internet-connected devices. All these are built on a policy of do-not-disturb-while-learning and are prioritised as much as mentoring, coaching, apprenticeship, or internship.

Another is remote-based work. The remote location could be the worker’s home or other sites. In social work, the latter might be vital since service workers might visit homes, work sites, and other locations. As they do this, they might collect data and document their experiences. These could be part of an iterative problem-seeking and problem-solving process. A skilful and informed leader could build these into the certification of the worker because evidence by, say, an e-portfolio is more important than decontextualised grades.

A third possibility is a hybrid of the two main methods above.

Learning as a group through social media means having different ideas and views posted at random times. These can be difficult to track, know the current main ideas / issues being discussed, and how to contribute effectively in the discussion and learning, etc.

It works need a moderator or administrator to have an overview to see what bring populated by the group members.

Can we do this without one?

How to create that mental picture so that members can see and get a graphic overview rather than having to read all comments, views etc.

You can try to distill wisdoms or create a clearinghouse system. Such systems could risk focusing mainly on what a leader or manager views as important. This does not guarantee that the worker-learner will connect with the ideas as intended.

A centralised approach might be important on occasion, but I do not recommend it as the be-all and end-all. Top-down messaging can come across as propaganda and is easy to ignore.

If your goal is to promote individual and personal learning, I recommend a rise above strategy or the monitoring methods I mentioned during my keynote. I will not repeat the latter here.

A rise above strategy is to model and teach a metacognitive method of reflective and summary learning. Questions that could guide thinking include (but are not limited to)

  • What did I just find out?
  • Why was this information important to me?
  • How might it help my organisation?
  • How do I share what I know?

To bring this line of questioning back to PLNs, I illustrate how powerful serendipitous learning can be.

In my initial draft of my answer to the last question, I seemed to dismiss a moderator’s role. That was not my intention. I simply think it not wise because this is a lot of work. It could employed if one or a few individuals are highly motivated enough to sustain it over the long haul.

While writing, I read a tweet by @tucksoon who is in my PLN.

He was referring to Twitter’s algorithmic and automatic curation of critical tweets. The more you follow the right sorts of people, the more relevant information you are likely to receive, even in summarised or bite-sized form.

In this case, the moderator is one or more algorithms tell you what the most important tweets are or let you know what you should not miss.

My point is this: If you are going to embrace a social media-enabled PLN, do what it affords instead of only relying on what you know or are comfortable with. In the case of content moderation, the old way is human intensive while the new is automatic and increasingly intelligent.

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