Category Archives: futures

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.

Little ol’ me on a big, big stage Down Under

I am thrilled and humbled to share the news that I have accepted an invitation to speak at the 2015 EduTECH congress in Brisbane, AU, in June.

To say that I am floored and in a little bit of shock would be like describing Arthur C. Clarke as a guy who “wrote a little”.

This event is different from most L&D gatherings in that the speakers all use a TED-style format for their talks, and this is definitely terra incognita for me. So, I’m going to engage in a little ‘working out loud’ as I share some of my preparations and thoughts as I get ready for this “talk of a lifetime”.  That said, I am especially looking forward to meeting Ryan Tracey at this event, and hopefully Helen Blunden as well.

This kind of reward is not a singular one. I thank my friends, colleagues, my PLN, and my wife, for their support, encouragement, and inspiration. I will be standing on the shoulders of giants as I take that stage.

Flexible working is smart working –

Flexible working is currently causing a lot of debate. The introduction of our unlimited leave policy got the world talking. Opinions have been divided – some people are staunchly against it, others don’t understand how it can be implemented, while Virgin’s careers inbox has never been fuller.

via Flexible working is smart working –


My take: Sir Richard Branson has never been one to do things in a conventional fashion and this initiative certainly ranks with one of his more unorthodox moves.  However, it seems to be paying some dividends and will likely form the basis of future research in organizational development.

Brain Research on use of Smartphones

I came across this interesting article on the Toronto Star this morning.  Participants who used smartphones and more traditional mobile phones were compared using EEG (electroencephalogram).  The results were interesting, but researchers say that it’s far too early to tell if the changes observed are good or bad for us in the long run.

I wonder what the implications are for L&D and whether or not we should harness the changes without knowing the longer-term effects?

Enjoy the read!


Quick Update

Pardon me while I blow the dust off the blog.

My day job has been full and rich of late, leaving precious time to carefully craft suitable offerings here. However, here are a few highlights:

  • I completed a major ID undertaking that occupied the entire month of June. This entailed the design of the Training Plan for a new course encompassing the common foundational training for all RCAF aircraft technicians. The next phase of the project is to lead the development of the entire 3 month course and all the learning assets.
  • I am currently engaged in a new Stanford MOOC on Design Thinking. So far it’s fascinating and very inspiring. I even managed to entice my PLN colleague Bianca Woods to join in the fun.
  • I am also training for my first ever half-marathon. I’m training 5 days out of 7. While that time is great for clearing my head, I haven’t found a way to blog while running. I am now accepting suggestions for this challenge.

Coming up next, my own take on Lifehacker’s “How I Work”.

Welcome to the new Hitch Hiker’s Guide!!

Greetings, welcome, and – hopefully – welcome back!

After some deep consideration, I decided on a small exercise in re-branding. While my ‘elearningguy’ handle represented a lot of what I was doing when I created it, it’s not reflective of all my activities, nor is it completely indicative of who I am as a Learning & Development professional.

I will leave the other site available as a redirect page for a while and allow direct followers to change/update bookmarks.

Thanks for following me as I take the next leg of the journey.

My Forecasts for 2012

This post shares the concluding part of my presentation/workshop for CSTD Durham Region Chapter. I was asked to take a look ahead to see what things might be gaining mainstream acceptance for workplace learning.

Dropping the “e”.

Let’s face it, sticking an “e” in front of anything was fine 15 yrs ago, but with the embedding of web-based ‘everything’ in our daily lives it seems a little superfluous. Initially it was applied as a distinguishing factor between ILT and anything computer-based, but then we added “m-learning” to the mix to distinguish between a desktop/laptop device and anything that was “mobile” (smartphone, tablet, PDA, etc.). What about learning that may be supported through a game console?

However, learning is learning, regardless of where it takes place and what’s used to support it. The more we draw imaginary lines between the different modalities, the harder it will be to integrate them right from the concept phase.

Cloud-based learning

The concept of basing things in “the cloud” (e.g. making use of the Internet for available/on-demand access anywhere, instead of closed/internal systems) isn’t necessarily new. But, “anywhere” used to mean being tied to a corporate or internal network.

Telework, distributed workforces, business travel all place increasing demands on network infrastructures, so organizations are turning to internet-hosted solutions to help manage costs and improve access. These solutions also include learning content development and hosting.  Learning access is truly becoming more open and accessible.

The beginning of the end for Flash

Adobe Flash is considered to be the premiere animation/interactivity development tool for the web. Although it wasn’t really intended as an authoring tool for learning it has become a de facto standard. This was all well and good until the advent of mobile devices, especially the iPad, and Flash didn’t have support on a lot of these types of devices.  Now that Adobe has dropped app development for mobile, this opens the doors for things like HTML5 to take content from platform to platform with fewer issues.

Content Curation

Curation: finding, collecting, presenting and displaying digital content around predefined sets of criteria and subject matter.

Content curation is the act of continually identifying, selecting and sharing the best and most relevant online content and other online resources.

These two definitions are important to remember because any information “artifact” requires a level of context and interpretation so that a future consumer can make sense of more than just the content; they can see things like impact, relationships with current issues, and other sense-making information.  I predict that information curation is going to become a critical skill for L&D professionals as they share knowledge and disseminate expertise to their consumers.

Opening the social “gates”

Orgs and individuals will formally and deliberately embrace the technologies & practices associated with Social Media (whether internally or more public-facing.) The difference will be that instead of using them for PR purposes, they will be harnessed for learning.  We all know that learning is a social process, so leveraging the technology should be a no-brainer for smart organizations, but much in the same way we saw the fears of granting internet access at individual desktops, we will likely have to go through another round of fear-mongering before these tools are widely available.  However, I anticipate a few major case studies in the offing that smart organizations will read with interest.

So…there we have it.  My own view of things that are likely to happen for L&D in 2012.  Discuss and enjoy!

Guest Blog – OpenSesame

I’m very happy to share that I will be writing another guest blog for the good folks at OpenSesame.

This opportunity came about because of a Twitter exchange today. I saw a great list of recommendations for making your e-learning a “best seller”. The focus of the article was more about external efforts and I though that there was a good basis for similar recommendations for internally-developed resources.

Long story short, I’ll be putting my writing hat on and the good folks at OpenSesame will generously give me a space for my words yet again.

Next challenge – herding the innovation cats

After listening to Steven Berlin Johnson and reading Stefan Lindegaard, I’m very excited about the prospects for driving and fostering true innovation here at the school.  There’s a wealth of talent (military and civilian) to tap into, but I want to move us past that superficial stage of “tossing out ideas”.

Johnson talks a lot about the “slow hunch”, and I think this is where the innovative culture needs some process and administration (for want of a better term).

So here’s what I think I need to know:

  1. What mechanisms can we use to capture ideas (24/7 if necessary)
  2. What level of detail should we require from those ideas?
  3. What protocol do we use to revisit the older ideas to see if the time is right for them?
  4. How do we manage that “idea” lifecycle?
  5. How can we keep promoting innovation when some functional/hierarchical barriers will remain?

I’m very curious to hear what people have to say.  I have a few simple tech-y ideas, but I don’t want to salt the waters just yet.

I have a meeting planned with my colleagues next week and “innovation” is the planned topic for discussion.

Over to you…

CSTD Day 2 Keynote – Steven Berlin Johnson

I didn’t take a lot of notes for this talk because it was a little more of a history lesson on the nature of innovation and how it has evolved over the last few centuries. Content was drawn largely from his book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The natural history of Innovation”.

One of the early threads of his discussion was the evolution of one entity into another wholly unexpected one because of a user-driven innovation (e.g. Lloyd’s of London evolving from coffee house popular with 18th century ship captains to Insurance conglomerate).
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