Tag Archives: community

Inside the Mind of a Community Manager [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here’s an infographic illustrating the mentality that not only community managers (those with that official title) but also learning designers, employees, students, EVERYONE in a community need to have. We are ALL community managers and relationship builders.

Investing in relationships, online and offline, is the key activity in this hyperconnected world. Relationships are one of the most important forms of  currency.

We need to have the mindset of every action (again, online and offline) being that of investing more of this currency into our knowledge economy. So, let’s put on the hat of community managers. Take a step toward being a meaningful relationship investor.

It’s now about the “media” in social media. It’s about the social, not matter what media. It’s about relationships that can be fostered through different medium types (media). Don’t get the “media” confused with electronic objects/assets… media as in means, medium.

Let’s all treasure our communities.

What does that mean to us Learning professionals? Let’s foster discussions in our different social media channels, let’s consolidate groups, let’s share best practices for creating communities and better utilizing the relationships we have across the board.

Let’s make it easy for people to communicate openly, let’s clean up, let’s facilitate, mediate, instigate…



The end of assessment as we know it

“The concept of a job is going away” (Bersin, 2012) and so should the concept of assessment. At least assessment as we know it. Or the assessment forms that we dearly esteem.

The truth is, most educators teach to assess. Yes, the end goal of the learning experience is to prepare learners to succeed in the assessment. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

Take, for instance, the idea of knowledge in the new Capitalism and how communities of practice are key to helping employees understand the whole company process of which they are part, adapt to fast-changing technologies, markets and work environments, share knowledge and encourage one another. Our role as leaders is to create communities of practice around a goal or interest, and help them generate explicit knowledge from the mostly tacit, extensive, distributed and disperse knowledge shared in the communities (Gee, 2000).  Whether we want it or not, whether we (leaders, educators) create them or not, these learners will find ways to connect to their peers in communities of practice. We can choose start them, participate in them, facilitate the knowledge sharing, eve intersperse “educational content” (I mean that in a formal sense of the word, being it synchronous sessions with a facilitator, guided discussions, group activities, etc.). So, how can we measure success in complex and interactive learning communities?

The word “practice” in “community of practice” is key in identifying assessments that would be authentic to the learners of the 21st century.

  • Assessment has to be authentic to the activities they do on the job. Practical. Ask learners to create  a product that related to the goal of the learning experience/community. A sales community/course could, for instance, be assessed on mock sales pitch presentations they create individually or in teams.
  • Assessment can to go beyond the finite notion of a single event. What if the learners that just created a pitch could reuse that for a real encounter with a customer? What if an activity in a technical System Administration community is to create a script that performs a certain task on an Operating System, and, after being assessed positively, feedback provided by peers and facilitator, that script could be then used in the real world by the learner on his/her day-to-day job?
  • Also, assessment has to be part of learning, not the end goal of it. Why make it a boring quiz when it can be a simulation in which the learners put to practice what they shared and discussed during the course of the community?
  • Let members of the community assess one another. Most online community platforms have discussion boards, badges, and other ways of giving kudos to other users.
  • Allow self-reflection. “Did you achieve the goal? Did you successfully sell product X to customer Y? What defines “success” to you? What would you have done differently?”
  • Let the assessment be fun. Have a competition in teams of who performs the task “better” producing a “better” final product, to be assessed by a judge or the community itself.

There are so many form of alternative assessment (NCLRC, 2000), why are we still so dependent on the omniscient LMS as the most used form of accountability in traditional courses?

We are in the 21st century, yet still defining success with ancient measurements…


A Couple of References

Bersin, J., 2012. The End of a Job as We Know It. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2012 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2012/01/31/the-end-of-a-job-as-we-know-it/.

Gee, JP., 2000.  Communities of practice in the new capitalism. J Learn Sci.

National Capital Language Resource Center (2000). Assessing Learning: Alternative Assessment. Washington DC.

Isolating eLearning

The term “social” has become quite popular amongst those involved in Web development, marketing, journalism, and many other fields. Education isn’t immune to that trend. “Social media” seems to now have claimed the title of overused term from “Web 2.0.”

However, these technologies that allow sharing of information, more importantly, coordination of efforts and co-authoring of knowledge, do in fact play an important role in society and Education.

Technologies like micro-blogging, wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, and many others are commonplace in any Educational Technology blog these days.

But why is it that corporations and institutions seem to to keep focusing mostly on the mass production of self-contained, self-paced, self-service learning experiences canned in Learning Management Systems (LMS) that only care about reporting page clicks and final scores in formats friendly to our famous Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)?

Whenever social media is implemented in the workplace or at school, it seems more like an attempt to “do what everyone else is doing so we’re not behind” but everyone struggles to understand the real value of doing it. It’s almost like it social media is secondary to our traditional forms of learning support.

With the current state of eLearning, we are creating isolated and isolating, lonely, mechanical learning experiences and blaming it on “autonomy”, on “self-pacedness…”

The focus needs to be shifted to the value in creating networks of learners to support informal, life-long learning that takes place in “communities of practice” that offer real life learner-to-learner support and empathy. eLearning as it is now, “courses” encapsulated in Flash and HTML, needs to become the secondary learning experience… or at least be just a support knowledge repository, a place learners go to only to start understanding concepts before diving into discussions with their peers in their communities. In the least, we need to allow learners to go build discussions around the existing courses. Experiences similar to what technologies like VoiceThread allow us to.

The issue is, perhaps, that institutions don’t know how to track real learning. They know how to tally number of page clicks and quiz scores, but not life-long, real learning…

Apple’s Mobile Devices and Education

Apple is known for supporting educational uses of its technologies.

On Apple Learning Interchange Community, for instance, teachers can find news and share lesson plans and ideas on different subjects.

Of course, Apple also supports the use of their mobile devices for learning, and here is their official website dedicated to just that: showcase different ways the iPhone/iPod Touch can be used to support Education.

“iPod touch and iPhone are perfect for on-the-go learning. But don’t let their small size fool you. These devices put thousands of apps and countless possibilities in your pocket.”

Also noteworthy is their website showcasing educational uses of the iPad. This website highlights features and uses such as:

  1. Web-ready apps (Safari, Mail, Maps)
  2. Multimedia access (music, videos, websites)
  3. Management apps (Calendar, Notes)
  4. iWork for document creation/editing (Pages, Keynote, Numbers)
  5. eBooks
  6. Accessibility-readiness (screen reader built in)
  7. iTunesU (academic content readily available on iTunes)

The iPad being somewhat cost-effective,  more portable, and “closed” (not allowing as much student tampering and access to inappropriate content) can be some of the good reasons to adopt the device in educational settings.

“Your school day gets more productive — and more fun — when you can page through websites, write an email, flick through photos, or watch a movie with just the touch of a finger.”

Google Knol Released Early This Week

Collaboration is the big buzzword of the year. Goolgle, that is trying to invest time and efforts on anything that has “potential”, is trying once again (after Google Docs) to tap that market.

They just released Google Knol which is a mix of collaborative authoring and community. The community aspect allows for search for specific subjects (or authors) and rating of the content. The UI is very simple (like most things Google) and discplays related content and a short author profile, for example. Users can rate, comment, email and print articles. A revision list is another interesting feature, all very well organized spatially within the User Interface.

Interesting move… and again, the question: how can we use this for learning situations? The answer seems obvious…

Association of Virtual Worlds’ Resources

The Association of Virtual Worlds is a new initiative that focuses on Virtual Worlds research and also works like an interest group. They have created a community on Ning to facilitate interaction amongst those who share interest in MUVEs.

They have some very good material about their main object of interest, including these ebooks that are free to download:

The Green Book: A Business Guide to Virtual Worlds
The Blue Book: A Consumer Guide to Virtual Worlds

These can be found in their Publishing Division website and also in their Ning community.

Long lists, so… enjoy the read/navigation…

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