Monday, February 6, 2012

Misadventures in Learning has Moved!

Bookmark my new site:

Misadventures in Learning is moving! I've enjoyed the experience of launching this blog and very much appreciate the feedback people that have read it have provided.  There are additional things I would like to do going forward that are somewhat limited in Blogger, so I've migrated to a new WordPress site at http//

The new site is going to be more personally branded, will feature the curated backchannel posts more prominently, and will serve as a primary contact point for some independent work I am involved in.  I am looking forward to taking advantage of some of the new sites advanced features to share different types of content on the site.  It's an exciting transition, and I hope you come along for the journey.

This is the last posting I will be making to this site.  The site will remain active for the foreseeable future, so any favorited links will still work.  I have migrated all of my posts to the new site, so anything I have posted here will also appear there.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read what I post here, and for providing feedback that helps me understand what contributions people in our industry find most valuable.  I am looking forward to the next chapter, and hope to see you on the other side.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Resources to Learn How to Use Twitter

For the 2012 ASTD TechKnowledge conference, I am conducting both a webinar and a live concerrent session for the conference. Both sessions are covering the same topic: Twitter 101 for the Learning Professional.

This blog post is being set up a follow-up resource for those that attend one of my sessions. It may also serve as a resource for anyone that wants to learn more about how to use Twitter.

Specific Session Resources
Twitter 101 for Learning Professionals Webinar Recording
Twitter 101 for Learning Professionals Slideshare

Beginning Twitter Tips
Twitter 101: How should I get started using Twitter? (from the Twitter Help Center)
How to Tweet: Twitter 101 (from
Why are You on Twitter? A 'Twitter 101' Lesson by Mike Johansson
Twitter 101: 55 Tips to Get Retweeted on Twitter by Pam Moore
Twitter: Why It's So Great and How to Effectively Use It by Lost Art of Blogging
Twitter for Beginners by Jerry Blumengarten
Beginning Twitter for Professionals by Kelly Meeker (Free course)

Comprehensive Resources
The Twitter Guidebook (from
Twitter Basics (from the Twitter Help Center)

Social Media for Trainers by Jane Bozarth
Gettin' Geeky with Twitter by Gina Schreck
The Backchannel by Cliff Atkinson

Twitter for Learning Professionals
How to use Twitter for Social Learning from The Social Learning Centre
The Effects of Twitter in an Online Learning Environment by Logan Rath
Nuts and Bolts: Social Media for Learning by Jane Bozarth
App Fusion: 30 Twitter Apps for the Learning Pro by Terrence Wing
Marc My Words: OMG, I'm Tweeting by Marc Rosenberg
App Fusion: Twaining in Twitter by Terrence Wing
Cybraryman: Twitter by Jerry Blumengarten
Using Twitter for Role Plays by Lisa Neil Gualtieri
Creating a Training Course in Twitter (YouTube playlist)
This series of videos explains how you can build a training program directly within Twitter, using the  media playing capability of the service. While Twitter recently changed some of the features and the structure of it's webpage, the principles of these videos still apply. It also provides an opportunity to share some of the work of the late Terrence Wing, who was a strong voice of the use of Twitter and social media for training professionals.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading Reflections: Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

I just finished reading Julie Dirksens new book, Design for How People Learn. The core audience of this book, at least in my mind, would be the Instructional Designer. 

I think the book has value well beyond that core audience based on one of the things that make it unique.  Design for How People Learn discusses not only design for learning, but also design for memory and design for attention.   If you ever have the need to create materials from which users will gain, retain and use information and skills, this is a book that can help you be successful.

What I liked most about this book was the style in which it is written.  The book stands upon a great deal of research, yet it never feels as though you are reading a stale report or case study.  The tone of the book is extremely conversational, as if you were sitting at a table sharing coffee while the author shares with you tips she has learned in her practice.

And the tips shared are extremely valuable.  The book explores the importance of getting to know who your learners are, what learning goals really are, and how humans remember and recall information.  It then builds on that knowledge to separately address and share tips on how to design learning to gain attention, to gain knowledge, to develop skills, to motivate, and to address gaps in the learners environment.

I think this book is an excellent resource and should be added to the reading lists of  both new and experienced Instructional Designers.

For other posts in which people share their thoughts on this book, check out:
Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen @usablelearning (post by Cammy Bean from Learning Visions)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Please Stop the Formal Vs Informal Learning Debate

Over the last few years, I have seen a great number of articles, books, and blog around the concept of Informal Learning.  For many professionals, the concept of informal learning is new, and the idea of incorporating it into an organizational learning strategy is daunting.  After all, many learning departments use the we-do-what-we-do-because-it’s-what-we’ve-always-done approach to strategy.
I think for many individuals and organizations, informal learning falls into the bucket of “We don’t know what we don’t know”.  That’s why much of what I’ve read and heard regarding informal learning can be frustrating, because it presents informal learning in a way that conveys it as a replacement to formal learning. 
That’s just not true.  I do believe that the majority of our future efforts will increasingly go towards the informal side.  However, that does not eliminate the need for formal learning efforts; it simply reduces our dependancy on it.  More concerning, is when I read that that approach is ‘better’ than the other.  Deciding which type of learning is better than the other is pointless.  It’s like a mechanic going to the toolbox for the best tool without knowing what the job at hand is first.
Last month I spent some time installing floor boards in my attic. I am not a handyman by any means, so my supply of tools is limited.  I was using a large hand saw for all of my wood cutting.  While at Home Depot buying more boards, one of the employees pointed out a circular saw that would be much more appropriate for the job I was doing, and boy was he right.  I will never use a hand saw for that task again, because the circular saw is much more effective. The hand saw was working for me because it was all I had available to me.  Once I was introduced to a new tool that was more effective for the task at hand, my dependence on the hand saw dropped substantially.
The hand saw still has value, and will likely be the tool best suited for attacking that dead tree in my backyard this spring.
The same concept is true with Formal and Informal Learning.  One is not ‘better’ than the other.  It’s a matter of which is a better fit for the task at hand.  For many learning professionals, their tool box is filled with mostly formal tools.  As research and best practices into informal learning approaches continue to be shared, new tools will become available that enable us to be much more effective, and they will naturally reduce our reliance on the formal tools.
In short, don’t worry about which type of learning is better. Understand the tools, and what they are best suited for, than match the tools to the task at hand.
That’s one of the reasons I love the recent article by Allison Rossett and Frank Nguyen for T&D Magazine entitled “The Yin and Yang of Formal + Informal Learning”.  The article doesn’t debate which is better; it presents scenarios and explores whether formal, informal, or some sort of blended approach might be best.  The article shows that deciding on the approach requires matching the tools to the situation. 
As an added bonus, the article also includes a link to an online tool that can help individuals and organizations decide what type of approach might be best for a given situation.  This simple tool asks 15 basic questions about the situation, and then provides feedback and suggestions on how you might want to tailor your learning strategy.
I highly recommend the article be read by all learning professionals.
Link to the YinYang Online Tool: