Friday, March 28, 2014

Blended Threads: Global Learning at Coats (A Case Study) #LSCon

How does a large, global manufacturing organization up skill 1,000 front line and middle managers in  core leadership skills? Through a two year program that blends approaches and partners. See how Coats worked with Kineo and The Oxford Group to create a blended solution that works.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kineo Turns 100! 100 months of learning and loving

Kineo turns 100 months old this month, with 100 newsletters under our belts and loads of client projects and industry lauds.

I developed a corporate crush on Kineo in 2006. In fact, one of my earliest blog posts was about this great company that served up lots of great resources to the e-learning and instructional design community. I fell in love and now appear as a milestone on our company journey. (See if you can find it!)

Check out the journey we've been on since 2005!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Douglas Merrill, Big Data Demystified for Learning: What’s Important, What’s Not, and What’s Next #LSCon

These are my live blogged notes from the Thursday morning keynote at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2014, happening this week in Orlando, Florida. Forgive me any typos or incoherence.

  • Co-Founder and CEO of; Former Chief Innovation Officer at Google
  • Author of Getting Organized in the Google Era
  • Has a PhD in Cognitive Science from Princeton and a very nice peacock tattoo sleeve on his left arm

In the last ten years, we’ve created a LOT of information.
3% of all employees are working at 2am local time.
We’re killing our employees, we’re killing ourselves.

On average, the American adult worker works 9 hours a day at their office, but only 2 hours a day doing primary child care.

Big Data -- we think it’s magic. We are so in love with the notion that data can reveal hidden things like magic. 

Big Data is like religion. It is believed without being understood.

Math anxiety causes use to believe without understanding.

We create made up numbers all the time (like that American men are taller than women.) There are outliers in the data than can blow your average.

Listen to your customers, but not too carefully….“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have asked for a faster horse.” ~Henry Ford

The downside of focus groups – you ask customers questions and they want to please you – they want to give you answers they think you want. They can’t envisage answers that they don’t know.

Google results – no one clicks NEXT to look at the second results page – you’re in the top three to four results or you don’t matter.  Google customers asked for 20 results on a page, so Google listened to customers from their focus groups and went from 10 to 20 results. The problem – the search results went from .25 milliseconds to half a second and search completion results went down! People really wanted speed.

Crowdsourcing is a precision tool. It gives you an amazing amount of information. He shares a story of how pilots came up with the best routes and discovered the Jet Stream – by sharing their flight logs.

Go Do Something:

We are part of the problem…statistically, if we hire people -- we're going to hire people who are just like us. White men hire white men. White women hire white women. etc. 

Force diversity into your plan. This creates a broader decision tree. When you're hiring people, hire for diversity. Diversity matters. We all think about the world in the context of the company that we live with. 

You're promoting wrong. You're more likely to hire people who look like you; you're more likely to promote people who look like you. Blow up the reviewing process. At Google, all reviews are public. Every quarter was a full 360 review. All those reviews were entirely public in name - you see what I thought your strengths were; your opportunities for improvements (aka weaknesses); a field for anon feedback; list three employees who are worse than this person, three who are better. Crowdsourcing the likelihood of how well you were doing. If people who are worse than you are higher than you in rank, you should probably be promoted.

Develop people, not just apps. If people talk like you, you're more likely to understand them and then promote them, etc. Development process don't capture what people actually do.

People do what you measure. People do what we tell them to do, even if it's dumb.

We can do better. We can use data that create value for our companies.

Top Tips for Writing Better ELearning Scripts (Session slides from #LSCon)

These are my slides from my session yesterday at Learning Solutions here in Orlando: Top Tips for Writing Better ELearning Scripts.

Writing better e learning from Cammy Bean

Want more top tips? Check out the top tips page on the Kineo website! 

Some weird formatting things happened when I converted this from Keynote to PPT and then uploaded to Slideshare. Please forgive me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will Thalheimer, Subscription Learning: A Fundamentally Different Form of eLearning #LSCon

These are my live blogged notes from a session at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2014, happening this week in Orlando, Florida. Forgive me any typos or incoherence.

Will Thalheimer, PhD. Will at Work Learning.

Every year Will reads over 200 articles on learning and learning research. He's been talking about subscription learning--moving away from single learning events to provide experiences that ensure better retention and on the job application.

Explore the Concept

Research tells us that if we surface a learner’s prior knowledge, they will learn more deeply.

What does it mean to subscribe to a magazine?

Scheduling of learning events:
  • One-time events
  • Multiple events
  • Subscription 

A subscription model—nuggets of learning that are five minutes or less, over time.

Characteristics of subscription learning:
  • Learners are subscribed or subscribe
  • Many learning events
  • Usually short
  • Usually tech enabled
  • Usually relies on push technology
  • Usually utilizes the spacing effect
  • Engaging any particular learning event may be optional
  • Usually good to vary the types of events

The Learning Landscape

Learning (build understanding)> Remembering > On-the-job performance (apply what you've learned) > individual results/organizational results.  There's also prompting (job aids, signage, performance support)

Learning and Forgetting Curve:
During Learning/After Learning -- if people start at one point, ramp up through the learning process, and then end up only slightly ahead of where they started -- have we maximized learning?

We better design learning and include after learning follow-up.

The Decisive Dozen
  • content
  • exposure
  • guiding attention
  • creating correct conceptions
  • repetition
  • feedback
  • variation
  • retrieval practice
  • context alignment
  • spacing
  • persuasion
  • perseverance
Research -- repetition works! The more we repeat, the better. (Example: low volume hospital has more cancer deaths in surgery - the more we do things, the better we get).

Repetition is better when the same learning content is in a slightly different form -- flip things around more.  By switching the words around you can more the double the learning impact.

Why is repetition so powerful? Helps us absorb what we missed earlier. It strengthens and enriches what we know.

"The spacing effect is one of the oldest and best documented phenomena in the history of learning and memory research." (Research -- he cited the author but I missed it).

So why don't we use it more often?

Widely spaced repletion can provide the best retention results.

Over time we get gradually better.

Ethical moments -- simulations and spaced experiences to keep people above the retrieval threshold. (Dr. JC Kinnamon). 

During initial learning -- when we give people non-spaced learning, it LOOKS like they get it better. But if, on day 3, the learning was actually spaced--they retained it better 3 days later.

A few summary points:
Repetitions support learning
spaced repetitions are generally more effective
Spacing helps minimize forgetting
wider spacing are generally more effective...

You can use lots of different tools and tech to provide spaced learning:
email, text, e-learning

Use delayed emails (this is easy to set up in Outlook).
Email marketing platforms. 
Send out a question in the email -- then send the answer the next day.

Duolingo -- a subscription learning app won Apple's App of the Year.

Tools that can support spaced learning: 
  • NexLearn's Simwriter platform (incudes microlearning objects)
  • (an open source tool)
  • More providers here:
Of course, good instructional design still counts in subscription learning.

"This won't work. I need proof they've taken the course!" You can provide a test -- give them a subscription learning thread and then give them an authentic test to "prove".

What if the subscription learning materials "comes out" of the CEO's office.

How to get good at subscription learning? Try it out! Use different approaches. Get feedback, then improve.

"Just because people are resistant, doesn't mean you should give up."

Soren Kaplan, Leapfrogging to Learning Breakthroughs and Innovation, Opening Keynote at #LSCon

These are my live blogged notes for the opening keynote at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions 2014, happening this week in Orlando, Florida. Forgive me any typos or incoherence.

Soren Kaplan, Redefining Innovation: Harness the power of surprise for business breakthroughs.

So how do we create breakthrough innovations?

1. Rethink your role. Instead of a lawyer billing by the 6 minute increment, bill by how quickly they can resolve the case. Give them a different incentive.

Understand what business you’re really in. A drill company is in the hole business. 

What business are YOU in? eLearning, training, education, professional dev? How do you think about what you’re providing. Maybe there’s a different way to think about what you’re doing.

2. Fall in love with problems, not solutions.

E.g., the guy who founded Open Table had a different solution at first. But he redefined the solution based on the problems that he learned restaurants had (they didn’t know WHO was at their restaurant – and so now Open Table is really a back end CRM).

Solve a problem, don’t fall in love with your solution.

What business problems are YOU solving? Hint: the answer isn’t “learning”. It’s probably something else. Learning is a way, perhaps, of addressing the real business problem.

3. Go outside to stretch the inside.

Surprise yourself and your team to come up with insights that will surprise other people. You need to disengage your auto pilot.

Kaplan went out to research his book and looked for books with the words “Surprise” in the title. All the business books were about eliminating surprises, No surprise. InNOvation.

We need an element of surprise and uncertainty in order to innovate.

Intuit (the makers of QuickBooks which completely disrupted the small business accounting market) – have an official company value: “Savor Surprise”.

Cool things they’ve done at Inuit:
  • The innovation wall of fame. Not just product innovation. But HR: Immersive college recruiting.
  • TechKnow Bar – you can walk right up to the IT desk and get help (like the Apple Genius Bar)
  • Customers come in once a month so they can hear directly from them…

Design for Delight:
Deep customer empathy, go broader to go narrow, rapid experiments with customers.

Test and learn as you go.

Adopt a business model

How can we be the _________ of ___________? (the Apple of IT Support? The Starbucks of eLearning?)

Provide “experimentation time”
  • Atlassian has FedExDays – you can take the day off but you have to deliver something of value overnight.
  • Could just be 30 mins at the end of your team meetings? Ask: “what opportunities do we have to innovate?”

Bring the outside in:
Coke hired people from Xbox to bring in new perspectives.

You have to try new things and be OK with looking a little stupid sometimes.

The idea behind innovation – we try things out, we experiment, we learn something (it’s not failure), and we move on. We get comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.

  • WD-40 -- 39 failures to get to one big breakthrough.
  • For the first two years, Wikipedia had 24 entries (they had a seven step review process!) -- so they decided to open it up instead.
  • The founder of Wrigley was selling soap and baking soda. He was giving people gum as a perk...
  • The iPhone was 3 years in development (an eternity in technology).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Gearing up for Learning Solutions March 17-21 #LSCon

The fact that it snowed this week and my yard remains a frozen tundra makes next week's journey to sunny Orlando for the eLearning Guild's Learning Solutions 2014 conference all the sweeter.

Here's what I'm up to while I'm there:


  • I'm running my third edition of The Accidental Instructional Designer full day pre-con Certificate Program from 8:30-4:30. I'm sure it's not too late to secure a spot if you can't stand the thought of missing out on a day of conversation and exploration of the e-learning landscape.


  • 2:15-3:15  Top Tips for Writing Better eLearning Script I'm really excited for this session, and not just because I used American Typewriter font for my slides. Crafting a compelling e-learning script requires a lot more than just slapping text bullets on a screen. Join me in what I hope will be a lively discussion and one that will give practical ideas you can start using in your next project.
  • 4:00-4:45 Finds me at the Technology Learning Stage. I'll be talking about Adapt, the new open source responsive eLearning authoring tool. Come hear what it's all about, check out loads of examples, and learn how you can get involved in the growing Adapt community.


  • 11:45 I'll be hosting a lunch table as part of this year's Docent program. Topic: Instructional Design and whatever else people want to talk about. The Guild started the Docent program at last year's DevLearn and it was a big hit.
  • 2:00 Join me and Gary Droghini from Coats as we weave a thrilling tale about blended learning and partnership: Blended Threads: Global Leadership Training at Coats. Coats is the world's leading manufacturer of threads. In fact, you're most likely wearing something with their threads in them right now. Find out how Coats, in partnership with Kineo and the Oxford Group, created a multi-year blended program to up skill front line and middle manager on core leadership skills.

Not at the conference? The backchannel will be active, so follow along with #LSCon.

I'll be taking notes and sharing my resources so keep your eye here for more to come.

Find out more about Learning Solutions.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Springtime in New York? Join us for Kineo Konnect on April 9th!

Kineo Networking & Insights Breakfast April 9th

It will be spring one of these days, I promise! And what sounds better than an early Spring morning with  your L&D colleagues for deep discussion and shared delight in the melting of the snow?

Join Kineo for a free networking and insights event on Wednesday, April 9th from 8:30am - 10:30am in Manhattan.

We'll be tackling the subject of compliance, discussing the good, the bad and the ugly, and how to develop programs that create lasting change. Mark your calendars and reserve your spot, you won't want to miss this!

Attendance is free, but space is limited. To reserve your spot, please email Further details will be provided, upon confirmation.