Microlearning and Blogs

I was planning on writing a new blog about “learning nuggets”, but instead found a new phrase for this:  Microlearning.  OK, so, let’s turn to Wikipedia to get ourselves a definition:

Microlearning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities. Generally, the term “microlearning” refers to micro-perspectives in the context of learning, education and training.

Great Mark.  Real interesting.  What’s the point?

OK, well, I am speaking with some folks soon to discuss blogging; and when I say blogging, I mean they are starting to blog themselves.  But, blogging is not easy for everyone.  Heck, I have written over 40 blogs here and sometimes I still have a hard time getting my ideas down.  But, let ‘s try to take the pressure away from this process.  First of all, don’t worry about writing the perfect blog (it can’t be done), don’t worry about people liking it (they probably don’t like your shirt your wearing anyway so you can’t please everyone), don’t worry about being perfect – spelling errors are seen as a positive in blogs as it looks like you wrote off the top of your head (see what I did there).

But the biggest worry or struggle I hear from would be bloggers, is “what do I write?”.  A great question which sometimes can feel like quite the dilemma.  But, let’s simplify it with microlearning (blah – it just doesn’t sound as good as learning nuggets).  If you are ever stuck about what to blog, but you want to blog, think of sharing a learning.  But it does not even have to be work related.  Heck, I wrote a blog about finding Mark Doty.).

Listen, it does not need to be an earth shattering blog.  But, we are a large organization with a lot of smart people (but not this guy).  We should be leveraging our intellectual capital every chance we get.

So think about it for second.  What did you learn today?  Yesterday?  Last week that was a microlearning? Maybe a quick tip on e-mail.  An interaction with a vendor?  Feedback from a colleague?  Something your read on the interweb?  And maybe, just maybe, you read an awesome blog and want to agree, disagree or share it with others.

Any hey, I didn’t even touch upon easy other blog topics like praise, questions, ideas and wild and crazy innovations.

So there you go.  I look forward to hearing more about your microlearning.


You have No time to Learn…or do you?

When I speak to people in organizations who have learning resources available, I hear that staff would like to take advantage of some of the resources but they are just too busy and do not have the time.  And you know what?  I agree that they do not have the time.  Almost everyone I speak to usually has a jam-packed day (except for you slackers; yeah, I’m talking to you) and are rushing just to get all of their work in before the end of the day (and night).  And some are not even having a lunch break (unless you call eating at your desk, doing work, a lunch break).  So, for some, the thought of taking a course or watching a video or reading a job-aid is just not feasible.

So there you go.  You are off the hook.


Or you could make the time, even when you are not given the time.  It does not necessarily need to be elearning course or signing up for a workshop.  It could be watching a You tube Video.  Or listening to a podcast.  Or internally, going on the Global Learning Centre and doing a simulation.  Or read a Skill Brief.  Or print a Job Aid.  You could even be reading someone’s blog.  Or maybe externally trying Udacity, Coursera or Lynda.  Whew.  OK, I will pause here to get some past heavyweights thoughts one learning:

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”  – Albert Einstein

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  – Henry Ford

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  W.B. Yeats

There!  Convinced yet?

Listen, I hear you.  There are many days I do not have time to learn also.  But I make time.  It could be 5 minutes here or maybe during my lunch hour or on my smart phone on the way home.   Because really, it is up to you.  And you alone.  I know it would be great if everyone’s manager gave them an hour a day/week/month to do some learning.  But that shouldn’t hold you back.  Imagine looking back in 25 years and say, if only someone gave me time to learn I could have done so much more.  🙂

We have thousands of great resources internally (GLC and other areas) that are free to take for your development.  But no-one can do it but you.

Or not.  It’s up to you.

HR (Orientation) Assistance for Social Profiles

One example that social business advocates constantly tout the power of collaboration is an ‘use case’ of knowledge sharing and team productivity.  It goes something like Mark is working on a project (let’s say it Project Clowns), he looks up the companies ‘expert profiles’ and finds Tom who has tagged himself as “clown” (Tom, come on, I am kidding) and contacts him.  Tom then points Mark in the direction of Sarrah who was the PM on a project he worked on and Sarrah shares with Mark the project plan template (on SharePoint), lessons learned (wiki) and project tasks (Activities).  And the value of expert profiles come through for Mark where he does not need to re-invent the wheel.

Great.  But that is assuming/hoping Tom has tagged himself.  Because if he did not, my search on “clowns” would show up empty.  And I see the value of being able to connect with over 15,000 employees we have (though sometime it seems like we are only a company of 100 people).  But, how do we get people to add and update tags to their profile?  Well, here are my suggestions:

Orientation/New employees: part of the welcome package should be a requirement that they go and update their profile.  Really, it would only be 10 minutes to tag yourself, add a picture, add some ‘about me’ content.  This would be a great introduction to new employees to the collaboration suite, allow them to find people similar to themselves, read blogs,  and feel part of the Sun Life community.

Yearly Review/Career Goals:  Every year employees document their goals in Workday.  How about at this time, have a requirement to update/refresh profiles based on past year work (projects, eduction, achievements, etc).  This just becomes part of the process.  And thus, at least all profiles are updated on a yearly basis.

Anyway, if we truly want to be a social business enterprise, we will need the data/participation to leverage it’s value.

ROI and Innovation

Rob Cottingham

I came across this cartoon the other day and it really hit home about the focus on ROI.   Listen, don’t get me wrong – I understand the importance of measuring ROI. But sometimes, it is not as easy as A+B=C. Sometimes you need to just let it incubate. Let folks try it, stretch it, taste it and see what they can come up with. You never know…a new wheel might be around the corner.

No thank you (aka – Email becomes a dangerous distraction)

Bloggers note:  I am a nice guy…

Listen, we are all busy.  You’re busy.  I am busy.  Time sometimes is short.  We all need to get things done by the end of the day.  One of the things I do throughout the day is read and answer e-mails…as I am sure you do also.  So, what I have come to dislike is when I get an e-mail in my in-box, I open it and it only says those dreaded 2 words:

Thank you.

Yes, I know it is polite.  Yes, it is good to build relationships by being appreciative.  But, sometimes these e-mails start to add up.  Take a look at the following link for a great article on how  Email becomes a dangerous distraction:

Here are a few points:

“In a study last year, Dr Thomas Jackson of Loughborough University, England, found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your train of thought after interruption by email (bit.ly/email2). So people who check their email every five minutes waste 81/2hours a week figuring out what they were doing moments before.”

“It had been assumed that email doesn’t cause interruptions because the recipient chooses when to check for and respond to email (bit.ly/email3). But Dr Jackson found that people tend to respond to email as it arrives, taking an average of only one minute and 44 seconds to act upon a new email notification; 70% of alerts got a reaction within six seconds. That’s faster than letting the phone ring three times.”


So, I not saying I do not be polite…but I suppose, at times, think if it is adding value to the end reader.   So, you might think I am a crusty person…no, I just am another busy person trying to maximize my time and get through the day.

So anyway, thank you for reading this blog. 😉

Chief Knowledge Officer

I just read an interesting article called The Four Personas of the Next-Generation CIO.  The four personas listed are:

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Integration
  3. Intelligence
  4. Innovation

But I believe they are missing the fifth “i” (like the 5th Beatle) which is: Information.  And what is information?  Well, it is everything employees are doing within (and outside) the firewall.  Such as content, knowledge and data.  Plus, with the explosion of social media (or social business) in organizations, there is information everywhere in blogs, forums, status updates, documents, IM’s, wikis, etc.  Who is managing all of this information?  Driving out best practices?  Ensuring that the knowledge of the company is used, leveraged   and re-used?

And that is where the fifth “i” comes into play.  And I feel it does not belong under the CIO.  I actually believe this is a future role for many organizations.  For the heck of it, let’s modify it (so it is not CIO), to read CKO – Chief Knowledge Officer.

As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”.  But if organization do not properly capture and utilize this knowledge, then they are missing out on a competitive advantage.  But who now is accountable to “empower this knowledge”?

You got it – the Chief Knowledge Officer.

The Change Bus

Within the Enterprise, change is part of everyday life. But there are still those folks who expend a great amount of energy resisting change. But, as change happens faster and faster, those resisters have less time to try and stop the change. So, let’s all get aboard the change bus to see who is who:

Drivers: Those who drive out change/early adopters. They are the ones who drive the bus, and plow forward through the storms.

Passengers: Although they won’t be first to change, they will get on the bus and go along with any change that happens.

Road Kill: Those who resist change.