Thursday, April 23, 2009

technology as tool

great session this morning with another consultant researching / reviewing organisation's ICT needs. Finding synergies in thinking about technology supporting process and communication, however, recognising the diverse needs of sme business. I posed the question to our executives, yesterday - what would our business look like if we all came to work with a laptop and no internal IT support? Later today, the interface of organisation re-structure hit as we physically relocated staff around the office to assist the implementation of the re-alignment of administrative processes. I'm excited! I'm out of the private office and into an open floor plan - right in amongst it! The pressures of change are bringing out some great thinking and communication, but we still have a problem with reaching out to our workers in external offices. Oh for a web conferencing system!
It is the age old problem of us and them, as referred to in my last post. I have to tie myself down & remember, not everyone likes technology, not everyone wants to use it to improve communications or smooth & enable processes. Lots of people are scared of loosing control, lots of people are still in the head space of `knowledge is power', ergo: don't share information, let alone client information....  but I just kind of feel that if I could get them online once a week, f2f with the admin people, updating, "what's happening in my world of client contact etc", we would be a much more effective organisation. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

networking at work when you're not there

http://davidcoethica.wordpress.com/ 
this guy heads up lots of good stuff, but I disagree with point 8 of this post.
Flexible working
"I want to look particularly at remote / at home working rather than manipulating hours in the office. We have the technology, what we don’t have is the culture, yet. The single biggest obstacle to employees working from home is poor management techniques. Managers like to look over people’s shoulders and see them working. "
it's not about the managers, it's the whole workplace culture thing. Workplaces and people thrive on f2f contact. I've worked in large public service workplaces, large corporate workplaces, SME businesses, as a consultant and as a contract worker working `from home'. If you're not f2f'ing you're not part of the company. Remote offices and external workers have always known this. David is right when he says we don't have the culture. A recent post from a manager in Tasmania described the affray that occurred within his business when they set up an interstate office. The us and them culture quickly threatened to wreck the project they were all working on. This is about human personality and the intrinsic need to build trust and relationships through face to face connection. Workplaces are dynamic systems reliant on networking. If businesses are going to benefit from the opportunities new technologies offer, they need to embrace the oldest social systems.

new world order

for the past 2 months, I've been playing around with linkedin and twitter and researching data and knowledge managagement needs for my organisation. Every day something new impacts on me. I thought I'd sorted the knowledge management problem until I came across this site.  http://www.sharepointalternative.com/comparison
So what do we do? How is a simple training manager like me supposed to know what's the best solution. Every cat and dog is out there touting their software and I've been tasked with finding a data and knowledge management solution for my organisation. Then there's the e-platform. e-learning, LMS, TMS, social networking and education management groups on linkedin.  Someone asked me if I had a list of functional specs the other day, and you know what, I think I'm actually starting to develop one.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

twittering blogs

The Twitter world is morphing so fast, I'm not sure where it will take us. I see smart users using it to post commentry via linking out to news articles that have caught their attention. Most frequently these articles are not even commented upon, simply a headline and a link. The commentary is in the Twitterer's blog. How good would it be, to be a lecturer and to use a blog for presenting the lecture and the Twitter to alert your students that there was a new post? How will this work within the traditional LMS system?
I just read a great blog about using the social networking sites for job hunting purposes http://ow.ly/20Hr and that has led me to look at using a service to shorten urls that I want to post and that has led me to go back and have a look at using a Twitter `client' service. So much to know. How will all of this affect knowledge managment within organisations? There is already a lot written about whether corporates should allow their employees to blog and whether it's good to have a corporate blog profile, and how to set up a corporate policy about blogging, twitter just outstrips all of this. It doesn't matter if you put up a firewall at work and restrict access, twitterers will just use their phones.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

LinkedIn learnings

Over the last few weeks I have been increasing my use of LinkedIn. It started with adding a few more contacts from my Outlook contact list. As I logged in each day, I noticed that when I added someone to my contacts, they would go and have a look at my profile. So I started appearing in searches more often. I think this raises your profile so that you then start appearing in other searches. There's a little link on the right of the page that tells you how many times you have appeared in searches. When you click on it you get a whole list of people from the industry that was searching on you or someone like you - eg: a search by an education manager for a training manager. Suddenly you're `LinkedIn' into a whole industry! The other thing you can do is to look at the contacts of one of your contacts. Say you have some consultants in your contacts, go and look at who they know. This is very very powerful networking.
My interest in the site really took off when I signed onto a couple of groups. The groups are particularly interesting because I get feeds from them that allow me to scroll through their content and hone in on matters of interest.
Now I am building a focus group for professional consultants who work with our business. The group will allow professional discussion amongst it's members, on matters relevant to their virtual workplace. In a business where staff are spread nationally and globally and are often employed on a consulting basis, it can be very difficult to get a sense of work community and belonging. I decided to trial the use of LinkedIn, because it has the added benefit of professional networking described above. For consultants, this is more valuable than going to an internal organisation site and simply using a sterile forum on that site. It also provides a number of other facilities, such as the ability to put widgets on the page, such as slideshare, or a link to a blog. Hopefully we will get some form of document sharing available soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

elearning - the argument continues

I'm embroiled in the arguments for and against e-learning. Really, isn't it just about delivery methodology? After all, how do most adults in the workplace access the information they need to manage their daily life? Isn't learning for the workplace all about managing and applying information?

How many people do you see absorbing vast amounts of information about the world they live in from newspapers, tv, websites and so on, then applying these bits of information in their daily life?

"Hello Dear, I saw some information about a reduction in interest rates in the paper today. I'm just going online to check out a bank rate comparison site and then we'll have a look at whether we can get a better deal with our mortgage."

"Oh look there's a cyclone warning for the gulf. Maybe we need to change our travel plans for next week."

I haven't heard anyone argue that workplace learning isn't about information management

Catherine Lombardozzi in http://learningjournal.wordpress.com/2009/01/ defines the skills needed for the application of learning in the workplace.

Maybe the elearning argument is actually about the effectiveness of trying to deliver and embed these skills via an electronic medium.....