Category: Global

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Workplace Learning : 8 Lessons Learned

dscn4331Reflections on what I learned from an eight-week online course with Jane Hart.

  1. I was introduced to Yammer as a learning tool–and found it lacking. Give a company Yammer and everything needs Yammering.:) You can find some of my thoughts about Yammer here.
  2. This was my first experience as a “student” with asynchronous, online learning. I found myself logging in daily to respond to (and learn from) others who were engaged in the many assigned, applied exercises at a different pace than I due to time constraints, time zones, and their job demands. Though I see the practicality of asynchronous online learning for some learners, I found it inefficient and frustrating for me personally.
  3. I came away with a better understanding of the requirements and challenges of creating, conducting, and participating this way–and very much admire and respect how Jane Hart, the workshop administrator, took the time to respond to us individually and collectively in timely fashion.
  4. I (virtually) met interacted with a number of bright, hard-working, interesting people passionate about improving the workplace learning environment from across the world–Ghana, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the USA. I admire their dedication to changing, expanding, and improving how individuals learn within the workplace environment. I am always humbled by the abilities of individuals, for whom English is not their native language, but who nonetheless succeed in mastering materials written in English. We learned together through sharing what we know (–and admitting what we didn’t know) and participating in guided, asynchronous learning experiences created by Jane Hart. Thanks in particular to Sharon Young, Martine Varney, Jennifer Russell, Sally Rhodes, Ivy Mawuko, Renate Aheimer, Catherine Shinners, Chris Coladonato, Carmen Ridaura, and Kristi Ivan for helping me better understand your corporate cultures, the challenges you face in championing new ways of learning, and the many times you made me think.
  5. I definitely exceeded my expected return in investment of the time and dollars I spent participating in this workshop IN LARGE PART as a function of the contributions of those people listed above.
  6. Being personally guided by Jane Hart through her Modern Workplace Learning: A Resource Book for L & D was invaluable. I look forward to the January revision—and participation in future workshops.
  7. I was introduced to or re-introduced to a number of learning tools—-among them PDFpenPro (that I used to annotate the online version of Jane’s book), Evernote (which still for me tries to do and claims to do too much), Grammarly (which allows me to circumvent SOME of the limitations of LinkedIn and Yammer), Pocket, DayOne, Dragon Professional dictation software and Blinkist.
  8. I came away with a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and untapped resources of workplace learning. Jane Hart continues to clarify my vision and expand my learning horizons in blog pieces like her recent contribution dealing with unlocking unused potential. I look forward to sharing these insights with my students as they enter the workforce, in LinkedIn posts,  and by my cascading this knowledge into my consulting work.

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Curious David Revisits His Global Outreach Attempts

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It’s past time for a more systematic global outreach by me and my students. Today I met briefly with some visitors from China. I wished them a Happy New Year of the Monkey. Then I began setting up some “Skype” dates with family and friends in London, Madagascar, Hungary, and Switzerland. I’d love to reconnect with Reidar (are you in Norway or Spain?), Inci (are you still teaching in Turkey?), Irma (we’ve lost touch since our conversations from beautiful Lithuania), Simone in Costa Rica, Anna in Kenya and Miguel Luis in La Mancha, Spain—his blog is marvelous. If you would put me in touch with your Antarctica bride’s maid friend, Emily, I would have reached out to all continents:).

Alison and Lizzy are focused on developing a student guide to Skype. Here are my latest marching orders to them:

Here is their draft in progress. How might it be improved?

Technology is continually improving and changing the way the world interacts with one another. Schools are starting to go from hard cover textbooks to textbooks that are completely online. Other resources that schools utilize are programs that allow students to continue practicing and understanding concepts through online homework and additional help online. Many schools, even at the elementary level, require students to have their own computer in the classroom. With this increase in the usage of technology, face-to-face interactions are suffering due to the ease of using email, cell phones, and social media sites to interact with one another.

Skype is a learning tool that utilizes the world of technology while also incorporating face-to-face interactions with other individuals across the world. In our scenario, Dr. Simpson has used Skype to interact with individuals from other countries for business and education purposes. Additionally, the student research team has interacted with Skype inside and outside of the classroom.

For example, Alison has used Skype in the classroom when teachers wanted to bring in guest speakers. Sometimes these speakers are unavailable to drive or fly to that specific location because they may live halfway across the world or do not have the resources to pay for the trip. By using Skype, guest speakers from Qatar, Africa, and different states were able to present and bring insightful information into the classroom.

From a business point of view, Skype can be used to hold group meetings. For example, if a group of individuals need to get together to interact about plans, presentation details, or other business related aspects, but cannot all be at the same place at the same time, Skype can provide the solution. Skype allows individuals to make group audio calls up to 25 individuals and video calls with up to 10 individuals from anywhere in the world. The video call option is limited though to 100 hours per month, 10 hours per day, and 4 hours per video chat.

Some of the platforms you can access Skype on are computers, cell phones, home phones, tablets, televisions, and video game systems. With having a free account from Skype, one can send messages to one another, simply make voice calls, or hold video chats with individuals from anywhere in the world. Also, one can use the option of screen sharing which allows one to view the other person’s screen. With the new chat feature on Skype, one is able to share files and photos. The files can also be shared while the video chatting feature is being used. With the free version of Skype, an individual can text mobile phones or call landline phones at reasonable rates. To pay for these additional rates, Skype allows one to pay through many different options that may be unique to each country.

To access more features, one can purchase Skype Business. The Skype Business rate starts at $2.00 a month per user. Some of the features of Skype Business that the free version is unable to access are that an individual can video chat with up to 250 people. Also, Skype Business allows you to schedule meetings outside of work in Outlook.

Through the technology of Skype, individuals are able to utilize Skype in the classroom, for personal use, and business.

GOTTA RUN TO GIVE MY FIRST EXAMS OF THE SEMESTER.

Anyone thoughts or experience with Skype would be much appreciated. Thank you.