Monthly Archives: February 2012


I was introduced to a new acronym recently – as though we didn’t have enough of them to contend with. In an exchange with Mark Britz, he made reference to a PLN and a PPN. Of course I knew what a Personal Learning Network is, but Mark kindly explained that a PPN was a Personal Performance Network.

What a fascinating idea.

Most of us have some kind of ‘go-to’ cadre of people to turn to when we need answers, but we should take a closer look at the context in which we make those requests because I believe it important to make the distinction between those who facilitate new knowledge and those who help improve our performance in the workplace.

There is, of course, a lot of discussion about the links between learning and performance so I won’t get into the details here, but as we refine our ‘network learning’, this PLN/PPN semantic becomes crucial. I see those “at the moment of need” queries and quests directly related to performance. That is, we likely have a problem that needs solving, or we may be trying to refine or validate the solution to a particular challenge. In those instances we likely want to tap into a fairly vertical channel of contacts: peers, colleagues, specific SMEs, etc.  These are the folks who can help us with workplace issues relatively quickly, and thus ensure we keep “performing”.

As time goes by, I now see a my PLN in a different light. I see it as a less structured, serendipitous, free-flowing kind of network. Granted, there may be some folks who exist in both lists, but where the PLN feeds me morsels of learning on a fairly regular basis, I still have to do some filtering, sorting, and categorizing before I can make use of them.  The PPN is far more focused and works kind of like a stimulus/response mechanism. You can put out a general (or directed) call for assistance or information, then sort through the responses.*

This subtle shift in the way in which we interact with and manage our network should become the catalyst for the other ways in which we seek and process knowledge from our go-to people and thought-leaders.  It might also improve our abilities to tap into the right people at the right time, for the right purpose; whether we are trying to tap into the collective expertise of those on the leading edges of the field, or if we’re just trying to solve a workplace problem quickly. Drawing the lines between PLN and PPN could make all the difference in the world.

Nice Conflict: Critical skills for L&D (Part 1)

Through following Angela Maiers, I happened to see the most recent stream of the weekly #LeadershipChat, and the topic was drawn from the book “Have a Nice Conflict“,

As Lisa Petrilli notes in her summary, rather than being a source of frustration and loss to business, conflict has the potential to be a spark for change, innovation, new relationships, and shared understanding. Of course, this does require a significant change in mindset on both sides of the communication equation.

We’re all aware of conflict and it’s potential for damage to business. In fact, a recent stat thrown out in the chat was that conflict cost the US economy an estimated $395Bn per year (based on an average of 2.8 hours per week in some state of conflict. While some may argue that’s just the cost of doing business, big numbers like that are somewhat hard to ignore).

So what does this all mean for L&D professionals?

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Welcome new bloggers!

Thanks to Melissa Venable, you may have found your way here, so Welcome!

Blogging, as I’m sure Melissa has told you, is a highly personal experience and it’s one that takes a lot of dedication and habit to really make worthwhile.  By that I mean worthwhile in the sense of making it a learning tool for you, as opposed to collecting a huge list of followers.  In many respects, this medium is no different than keeping a paper-based journal because you’re writing down the thoughts that come to you through the day, week, minute, whatever works for you.  However, the difference here is the ability to connect, link, and share content.

What is required of you as the blogger is to take a look back through your archive every so often.  See what you were thinking about a month ago, a year ago, whatever.  See if your views or perspectives have changed…then write about it!

Done correctly, it can be a rewarding experience, and there’s no shortage of expertise & resources out there for how to make a blog a truly effective tool for your own learning.

Let me know what you think about  your new blogging experience!

Reflections on #lrnchat 09 Feb

I had the chance to jump back into the Thursday evening #lrnchat and I was glad I did, because the topic was manna for techno-geeks like me: TECH!

In all seriousness, we had some good questions and they forced us to think about the nature and role of technology in learning and in our lives. Read the rest of this entry

To LMS, or not to LMS. That is (or, is not) the Question

I get asked, occasionally, about how to plan for technology selection to support learning: LMS, authoring apps, etc. Much to my surprise I didn’t have a post immediately handy, so it seemed timely to do so in response to a recent Twitter query.

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Guest Blog Post for

I’m thrilled to share my second Guest Blog entry for the good folks over at  In this installment, I share some of my experiences for making your internal learning initiatives a true bestseller.

I look forward to your comments and other tips on this all-important part of the development/deployment process.

iBooks2/iBook Author Update

It’s nice to know that even some of the tech giants can listen to post-launch reaction and make some adjustments on the fly.

Apple received some pretty scathing commentary from a lot of folks with regard to their seemingly restrictive EULA, namely the extortionate rather steep cut of each sold offering (30%), an apparent loss of author copyright, and the distribution limitation of any iBA output to the iTunes Store.  I even offered a few thoughts on the matter.

However, according to Mashable, there’s been a change afoot in the EULA.

In a nutshell, Apple has clarified the restrictions on distribution such that the only place you will find a .ibooks file is through iTunes.  Other output formats can be distributed elsewhere.  Oh yeah, and you don’t give up any of your rights as the author/creator.

It’s a start.  The still need to sort out their end/output file size and the cost of doing business with Apple, but I’m sure some folks are starting to breathe easier.

Reflections on chat2lrn: The Business/Education gap.

My participation in #chat2lrn has been limited but I wanted to provide my first reflection on the experience, starting with the most recent discussion about Business and Education.

Having operated in both environments, I think I’m safe in saying that these two worlds rarely seem to meet. Education has a role to prepare learners for the world of work, and many institutions do make some efforts to find out what business wants of their grads.

So, here’s a summary and reflection on this ongoing issue.

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Reflections on a “Magical” #lrnchat – Early Edition 03 Feb

The early edition of #lrnchat this week had a very special topic: Magic.

I get a real charge out of these innovative approaches to the chats. Sadly, I had a scheduling overlap so I’m combining my observations from the early part of the chat with a review of the transcript, along with a few of my own thoughts.

Everyone has their own impressions about the idea of Magic. Whether they consider it from the viewpoint of illusionists or seeing something happening in their lives that fills them with wonder, many believe there is Magic all around us.

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