Category Archives: commentary

Helicopter parenting and college-age depression/anxiety

Recent studies suggests that kids with overinvolved parents and rigidly structured childhoods suffer psychological blowback in college.

via Helicopter parenting is increasingly correlated with college-age depression and anxiety..

My take: I see huge implications on the immediate-future workforce. The kinds of post-secondary students referenced in the book have poor executive function and critical thinking skills. What I see are larger implications for the longer-term future as these traits get passed on to the next generation. So the Slate.com article raises the question about what could be done to stem this tide.

I wasn’t raised by helicopter parents, but inherited anxiety issues left me afraid to fail for a long time.  Now, it’s a lot less of a concern because I see failure as part of the “new ideas” cycle. So many people forget that failure is also learning so we do our kids (and, by extension, our learners) a huge disservice by not allowing them to fail (safely). If you’re afraid to fail, you won’t take risks. Risk-taking is part of Innovation. Without innovation, we see people living in the “we’ve always done it that way” world and, well,  we know what that’s like.

Let’s start by enabling safe-fail environments and some reinforcement of executive function and critical thinking. We might be able to get a head-start in the workplace while the Higher Ed institutions try the same things at their end.

Advertisements

Video Contribution to #WOLweek

Here is my first iMovie effort and it’s talking about my current work project and some of the challenges we face down the road. Yes, there are some flaws in the video but I had a lot of fun learning the tool and the processes.

I am definitely interested in speaking with Moodle experts about the long-term use/re-use of our learning assets and how we manage resource/assignment updates over their lifecycle. I’d also be interested in speaking with folks who have migrated from Moodle to TotaraLMS.

My Guest Blog for Learning Rebels on ATD ICE and the Backchannel

From Shannon Tipton, the Learning Rebel

Not Attending ATD ICE? The Backchannel Saves the Day

I’ll be there! Oh, shucks – you won’t be? I’m truly sorry to have missed you. (Cue sad face)

A close network friend of mine won’t be there either. (Cue another sad face)

But won’t he? He will be there in spirit. In the Backchannel. That’s the beauty of technology these days, we can be anywhere and pretty much have a front row seat. I asked Mark to give me his insights as to how he will be participating from afar and his advice on making use of the backchannel.

via Guest Blogger, Mark Sheppard: Not Attending ATD ICE? The Backchannel Saves the Day – Learning Rebels.

3 Characteristics of High Impact Learning Departments: Laura Overton Interview | Totara LMS

3 Characteristics of High Impact Learning Departments: Laura Overton Interview

March 18, 2015

[Steve Rayson] I really like data, whilst I am interested in someone’s views I am particularly interested in evidence and insights based on data. Thus I was excited this week to catch up with Laura Overton. Laura is the MD at Towards Maturity and runs one of the largest corporate learning data collection projects.

via 3 Characteristics of High Impact Learning Departments: Laura Overton Interview | Totara LMS.

My Take: Laura boils departmental success down to 3 key factors based on research and analysis across a number of L&D professionals.  What’s important to note, at least for me, is that these three points are not new. They should not be earth-shattering revelations for anyone.  I think what is really disturbing is that we have to keep saying it (particularly point #3) and that we need the research to back it up.

Will at Work Learning: Net Promoter Score — Maybe Fine for Marketing, Stupid for Training

From Will Thalheimer…

More and more training departments are considering the use of the Net Promoter Score as a question–or the central question–on their smile sheets.

This is one of the stupidest ideas yet for smile sheets, but I understand the impetus–traditional smile sheets provide poor information. In this blog post I am going to try and put a finely-honed dagger through the heart of this idea.

via Will at Work Learning: Net Promoter Score — Maybe Fine for Marketing, Stupid for Training.

My take: something done poorly is best not done at all…and that sums up most of my feeling on the use of smiley sheets as the sole measure of “training success”. I recall my days as a MCSE / MCT for a major corporate training provider here in Canada. Microsoft Curriculum demanded a feedback form after every class. We were even supposed to send them to MS Canada, but apparently even they didn’t bother looking at them in detail.  However, woe betide any MCT who didn’t score highly.  As for me? I was less concerned about the numerical scores.  I used to tell my students, “a 5 or 6 out of 7 with some comments about what you feel needs improvement is of much more value to me than a 7 out of 7 with no comments at all.”

As time has gone on, I have fallen further away from Kirkpatrick’s model (Dan Pontefract’s comments on it notwithstanding) and I prefer to use other methods for evaluation. Will is very interested in “mythbusting” in the L&D space and this post is another example of some of the practices that persist in L&D – to our collective detriment.

Millennials: Entitled? Job hoppers? We Think Not

Here is an article from Debbie Landers who is the General Manager, Kenexa & Smarter Workforce at IBM that you should find very interesting as we are seeing an influx of Millenials coming into the workforce. According to the numbers Millenials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 so getting a grounded understanding of who they are is definitely important.

A new study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths, has busted numerous myths typically associated with Millennials at the workplace.

via The Millennials: Entitled? Job hoppers? We Think Not. – The Human Resources Social Network.

My take: While there are a few questionable assumptions in this article (Digital Natives, Generational Learners, etc.) I feel it important that we have sufficient empathy for the diverse nature of our learner community. Needs, wants, motivations, and goals, will be different for all.

Share your thoughts on the myths busted in the study.  Did the study go too far? Or not far enough?

REBLOG | No I won’t speak at your event … for “exposure”

This came to my attention via Jane Hart through my Twitter feed.

I admit, I’m conflicted.

One one hand I get what he is saying, in that if you’re charging people to attend and event, it doesn’t necessarily align with asking speakers to donate their time when participants are paying for the privilege.

On the other hand, not all of us are so fortunate that we can demand speaking fees if asked to participate. In some cases, us “common folk” may welcome the exposure associated with such requests and – if they make sense – we may well jump at the chance.

What are your thoughts?

No I won’t speak at your event or write for you for “exposure” | Media tips.

What’s the Story on Learning Styles? | Faculty Focus

We have this tendency in higher education to throw babies out with bath water. It derives from dualistic thinking. Either something is right or wrong, it’s in or out, up or down. As mature thinkers, we disavow these dichotomous perspectives, but then find their simplicity hard to resist. They make complicated things easy.

[…]

Any number of us have had our doubts about learning styles. The instruments that detect, name, and classify these various approaches to learning just seemed too straightforward. How can there by only two or even four styles? And how can every learner fit neatly into one of those boxes? We also worried about how students responded to them. “I’m a visual learner,” one told me, “I don’t do textbooks.” A certain learning style then excuses one from other learning modalities?

via What’s the Story on Learning Styles? | Faculty Focus.

My take:  This is a detached and well-reasoned discussion on the polarizing issue of Learning Styles. What I like is that it goes beyond the purported lack of scientific rigour and speaks of the impact on learners themselves, e.g. “I’m a visual learner”.  If nothing else, this article should be required reading on both sides of the ongoing debate.

Mark Bennett – obituary of an education entrepreneur – THE PRACTITIONER HUB

A little under two years ago, Mark Bennett was forced to mark his sixtieth birthday by gathering his employees together and telling them that the company was on the verge of running out of money. He was, as usual, working every hour he could to ensure its survival. For six weeks he had met with three or four potential partners a day, and impressed upon them how iSchool could transform education, and perhaps healthcare and agriculture too, across vast swathes of the world.

via Mark Bennett – obituary of an education entrepreneur – THE PRACTITIONER HUB.

 

My take:  I knew of Mark Bennett’s work by reputation and I was in awe of his efforts to improve education in Africa.  We complain a lot about our networks and our tools, but his challenge make our concerns look petty by comparison.  The world of education has lost a pioneer and a visionary.

Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure | Talk Video | TED.com

Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

via Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure | Talk Video | TED.com.

 

I’ve often wondered, informally, if this applies to the design and development of learning solutions and interactive assets.  Are we more likely to ‘appreciate’ or savour something ostensibly mediocre if we think it took a lot of work to pull together? Conversely, are we more inclined to dismiss something that looks really great, but was pulled together using tools that save on labour or effort?

What comes to mind is a TV commercial from a number of years back for a food product that a woman is getting unwrapped in her kitchen, then mussing up her hair, tossing flour on her face, and then – feigning exhaustion – takes it in to a waiting table of guests who applaud her efforts and remark on how much effort it must have taken.

There’s some validity in comprehending the basic psychology of what we appreciate and what we like, and what our minds tell us about perceived value of effort and cachet.