Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So? Did You Take a Break From Social Media?

We didn't post or tweet anything over the long-weekend and we survived. How about you?

It was hard at first not to whip out the iPhone and check my Twitter or Facebook streams, but by Christmas I was almost completely weaned of my technological appendages...but now I am right back in the swing of things again...(good or bad?)

While I am a huge proponent of technology being used for life and learning, I am also a believer in moderation and appropriatness, which is why I bought my eleven year-old a motorized scooter instead of an iPod Touch like many of her friends. I think children should spend their childhood outside with friends not in front of a screen all many of us adults. She will have her fair share of hand-held devices throughout her life, but for now I like the notion of her playing with other real kids instead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Even Facebook and Twitter Need a Christmas Break

So, are you going to give in and check your Facebook stream, favorite blogs, or tweets over the Holidays?

As for us, we will not be blogging, tweeting, or facebooking. We are calling it a micro sabbatical from the social media frenzy. Just food, family, and festivities.

Hopefully we will come back refreshed and ready to continue contributing to the learning explosion.

Maybe you should take a micro sabbatical from your social media friends too, and focus on the friends and family actually sitting next to you around the Christmas tree...just a thought.

Happy Holidays from Treion and Matt!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The formula for change.

When it comes to learning, do you really want to settle for status quo? 

If so, what you are actually saying is that the cost to switch to something different is too high.  That cost could manifest itself as more time, more money, more stress, or some other resource or pain.

You may not know it, but what you're trying to do is this:

That's the formula for Prospect Theory developed by Daniel Kahneman. Essentially it helps weighs risk against reward.  It helps answers the question, "Does it make sense to put forth more effort to achieve something different than what I currently have?" 

Do you want to:
  • Break out
  • Achieve something new 
  • Teach something differently
  • Innovate
  • Move in a different direction
If so, don't worry about the math -- just make it happen and leave the status quo behind. It's a choice only you can make and we hope you join us to do just that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is technology making us dummer?

Photo by: Jimmie_Joe
Yesterday, while listening to the radio, I heard a reporter profess that technology is destroying our ability to learn. One of his poorly-formed arguments was that GPS technology is preventing people from developing spacial intellgence.

If you take his argument further, it's like saying that the printing press, or even computers, have destroyed our ability to learn.

We hold fast to the idea that technology is improving our ability to gain new knowledge and awareness. Technology is what separates man from beast!  Case in point: If not for electricity you wouldn't be learning from this (or other) blogs.

Technology advances our ability to learn, it doesn't repress it. Even more important is that technology begets technology. Said another way, technological advances build upon themselves. It's how we learn. It's how we grow.

Mr. Luddite, you are free to disregard today's technology. But what about that which was invented is years past? Can you disavow one and not the other?

Yet, I must confess that he may have a point in his argument.  Indeed I felt less intelligent after spending time listening to him through satellite radio technology.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Power of Pause

In today's technology-rich world we want everything mobile, relevant, and now. Even as you read this blog you are asking what YOU can take away from it that will be of value.

Here it is...pause more often. Give yourself and others time to think, contemplate, ponder, before jumping on to the next distraction. You'll be amazed how powerful pausing can be. Turn off the music, the phones, the television, the internet, and just think about one thing.

By the way, this is not new, in fact it is ancient. Meditation and prayer has been a healthy staple of religions and cultures for thousands of years. Like with many things, maybe we should learn from our forefathers and make time to pause more often.

Now think about it...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Live life and make time for technology, not the other way around!

Thanks to the tech. gadgets we carry around in our pockets and purses, being a good friend, father, mother, spouse, worker, or citizen requires a lot more work. We are slowly being conditioned to respond to the many reminders, chimes, tones, and other "notifications" that these gadgets enable, and unfortunately, at the expense of our relationshiops and jobs.

Think of how many times you have been talking to someone and before you know it you have your phone out, head down, and fingers ready to respond to the text you just received. How many times have you been on the receiving end of this kind of behavior? (Read this fun blog about cell phone etiquette)

Its time to start respecting your relationships and living your life. Especially this Holiday season! Be human again. We are not saying you need to throw your technology away (we love technology too much to ever suggest this), but we are encouraging you to use it in proportion to what matters most.

So, turn off the chimes, reminders, and notifications, and turn on YOU!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Repetition is the father of all learning

photo by: rosmary
Repetition is the father of all learning.

If you don't believe us look at the billboards on the side of the road as you drive into work today. Then look at the signs on top of the taxis and sides of the trains. When you read your news online notice the ads to the right. When you go home and watch the news take note of the 30 second spots.

Repetition is the father of all learning.

Odds are you will see the same thing advertised again and again -- whether it be fast food or fast cars. In advertising it's called an expandable campaign. You see essentially the same message repeated in different forms. The reason? So that you learn about it and when the moment to purchase comes, you'll remember that product.

Repetition is the father of all learning.

Learning other topics (like leadership, time management or how to build a website) can be done the same way. Attend a workshop on the subject. Then find a blog post to ready every day. Find a series of reinforcement videos on YouTube. Follow experts on Twitter and read their tweets. Then, when the moment to use your new knowledge comes, you'll remember what to do.

Remember: Repetition is the father of all learning.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Say it! Write it! Film it! Share it!

Photo by: fotologic
Create it!

It's as simple as that. 

Seth Godin's book, Linchpin, has some great advice to help you change from a cog in the machinery to an artist in your industry or company.

Seth writes, "You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must."

But so often we're afraid of creating. It's really scary to hang your ideas on the wall for others to critique. But that's part of the creation process. Accept the feedback from the people who have something constructive to say. Reject it from the naysayers...and there will be naysayers.

Seth Godin says it this way, "Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself. It's no wonder we're afraid to ship." (Read his full blog post's worth it!)

Our advice? When you feel like you have something to say, say it! Write it! Film it! Share it!

This is the basis of the Learning Explosion. It's how we all learn together.

Friday, December 2, 2011

3 principles to remember when learning online through common consensus

Photo: Steve L. Martin
You've heard of common sense. But have you ever heard of common consensus?

We are all moving so fast that it's sometimes hard to know what is real and what is fake. There are countless examples of impostor ecommerce websites being yanked from the web because they're posing as brand name sites, but are actually defrauding innocent shoppers.

But how many times do we hear of impostor information websites -- those that are peddling their knowledge but are defrauding learners? We would say it's rare that any of these sites are pushed off the web. As a result, you have to be careful what you trust!

One method of separating good information from bad is through the Rule of Common Consensus -- using multiple sites to verify the information. Here are three basic principles you should abide by when learning on the web:

1) Never trust the first response on a forum. WHY? If you find an answer to your question on a public forum, be sure there are multiple answers posted my multiple people. It will add clarity and provide a deeper answer.
2) Triangulate your information with at least two other sites. WHY? You want to verify the answer to your question through multiple independent sources to find the correct information.
3) If your second or third triangulation sources are identical to the first, find more sources. WHY? One of the authors may have found the same source as you and just copied it verbatim. You'll never know if it's correct information or not.

The Rule of Common Consensus is not simply to find as many similar responses as possible. It's to vet out all of the angles of the query and hear different viewpoints. Only when you have all of the information can you verify that the information is solid.

But, after all of this, don't forget the Rule of Common Sense. If what you read seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Complete the Learning

First there came a rock.
Then learning. Then ore.
Then learning. Then metal.
Then learning. Then tools.
Then learning. Then machines.
Then learning. Then factories.
Then learning. Then helicopters.

What was the difference between the first generation of learners and the last?  They all had the same natural resources didn't they? So, why didn't the person who learned about ore just go ahead and build a helicopter?

The same reason that the inventor himself, Leonardo da Vinci, didn't actually build it. The learning wasn't complete. He dreamt up the idea and even made plans for it. He just didn't have the knowledge for how to act on it.

Learning is like a set of Legos. One brick at a time stacked upon another. Eventually you have a remarkable creation like a life-sized giraffe or a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

The question you need to ask yourself is what learning can you complete to help to assemble the next great idea?

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's time to start thinking differently about learning

We recently saw a tweet come across our learning lab that read, "Reading one good books makes you a lot smarter than skimming over 3,000 RSS feeds. (via @gapingvoid)."

While on the surface this comment makes logical sense and rings true to everything we have always been taught. Beware! Things are changing. Books are by no means the only source of credible information anymore. Relevant and proven learning fragments can also be accessed online. And RSS feeds are just one learning strategy you can engage to make that information come to you.

So, in answer to this tweet we simply state, it depends.

If the book you are reading provides all the answers you are seeking around a specific topic, then yes it can be better than skimming 3,000 random RSS feeds. However, if you utilize the power of RSS feeds correctly you could have pertinent information pushed to you that is not only on topic but dynamic as well. In other words, once a book is published it can no longer add new and updated data to its pages. But, a research site that has just published a new ground breaking study can send you new and updated data on that topic immediately. (In this example, the combination of both the book and RSS feeds could be an ideal approach to learning something new.)

Keep in mind that just because we have traditionally been conditioned to believe that experts in a field write books, therefore books have all the answers, doesn't mean that experts don't also write blogs, add to communities, and generally contribute to the Learning Explosion taking place online. (Which can then be pushed to you automatically via RSS feeds.) Read more about why we believe "the community" is becoming the new expert.

So, if you really want to learn something new, keep on reading good books, but also utilize the many online tools so that you can take advantage of the immense knowledge base available to you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not All Mutant Wanderers Are Lost

J.R.R. Tolkien said it best, "Not all those who wander are lost."

A Mutant Wanderer will stumble upon something unique. A new idea. A new product. A new process. Something that isn't in their area of expertise, but they stumbled into it and found a new solution to a problem.

But, rather than concealing the information and keeping the knowledge to themselves, they'll share it with everyone. Whether they know it or not, these mutants are creating new learning fragments that become part of the Learning Explosion, fueling it's expansion.

  • Margaret is a language aficionado and has a blog on the topic. However, one day she figured out how to download her Facebook album and posted the instructions on her blog. She wandered into the knowledge and then shared it with everyone. She is a true Mutant Wanderer.
Because many Mutant Wanderers are not considered experts in the information they are creating, you need to be careful of what you accept as fact. Be sure you triangulate this new knowledge with other sources.

  • Vishalicious was a beginner at the bass. He posted on a forum about something he thought he figured out. It seems like good information, but as you read through the comments posted by others you realize that his information is incomplete. His initial post erupted into a classic case of Mutant Learning. Other mutants jumped into the discussion to help teach him and they stayed with him until he fully understood the concepts. That's the power of Mutant Learning!
So go. Wander. Discover and share. Try and lose yourself in new knowledge but remember to return home and share what you've learned.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mutant Creators Among Us

What do Archemedes, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Seth Godin have in common? They were all Mutant Creators.

Mutant Creators discover and build new and innovative products to improve the life and well-being of others around them.

They find a problem, visualize the solution and create it.

They answer the questions asked by Mutant Innovators.

They actively create knowledge, products, methods and theories.

They use their minds and their hands to assemble their creations -- with a saw-board or a keyboard.

They don't hide what they've done. They actively contribute to society.

Become a Mutant Creator! How? Start right now by posting a new idea to your blog, Twitter or Facebook account. It's easier than you think.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who are Mutant Initiators

Mutant Initiators ask questions.

They wonder why it works.

They question what it's all about.

They're curious.

They ask how it's done.

They start the conversation.

Can you answer their questions? If so, join the conversation and create.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are you a Mutant Learner?

If we told you that you have a choice between becoming a Mutant Learner™ or a Zombie Learner™ which would you choose? Yesterday we conducted a webinar for Training Magazine and Citrix discussing this new phenomenon.

To become a Mutant Learner, you need to know how to rapidly evolve. Rather than using using social media to stumble around from site to site wasting time, you can now use social media (and some simple principles) to learn the most effective ways to find, consume and contribute relevant information to your learning needs. This can be done through something we call a Mutant Learning Lab™.

To see the an archived recording of the webinar and to begin your journey to become a Mutant Learner click here. Be sure to leave us your comments on our blog, on Twitter or on Facebook. We'd love to hear about your own mutant experiences!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To Increase Your Professional Online Presence (POP)


Just recently we were asked for interviewing tips by two separate individuals. On further review neither had much of a Professional Online Presence (POP). In today's competitive and technologically savvy world having a POP is essential. There is so much a potential employer can learn about candidates, and so much opportunities for candidates to share about their qualifications and skills. So, think of this short post as a beginners guide to creating an effective POP.

A good place to start would be with LinkedIn. Get as many people as you can, preferably people who you have worked with, to recommend you, and write a positive review. Then join some relevant groups, and enquire about jobs, and look for job postings.

Twitter and Google+ are also great networks to build. Start following industry leaders and tweeting/sharing useful and relevant information.

Some additional online tools you could use to increase your POP are: create mobile sms business cards
2. -- build an infographic resume
3. create a personal/professional web page
4. -- Introduce yourself, your product, idea, business, and more using a webcam

If you haven't already, start creating a POP that pops today. Then confidently share your POP details with potential employers and on your resume.