LearnTrends 2009: My Presentation on Immernet Singularity

My good pal Jay Cross asked me to do a provocative session on the Future of Learning and the pending Immernet Singularity.

As with most cognitive excursions that involve Jay, we had a BLAST!. I mean where else could you come up with the concept of an “Empathic Electronic Exoskeleton” that swaddles our planet in less than an hour 😉

A good number of you have asked for charts….here you go.

If you like the charts, you will no doubt enjoy the presentation and discussion. You can view the hour long back and forth here. Enjoy!


Masie Keynote Video: My 23 minutes of Fame

Elliott Masie was kind enough to invite me to do a keynote interview with him at his Learning 2008 conference. Here is the video his team posted a few days ago.

It was a blast doing this. Elliott and I truly riffed…as you will see when he stops me and asks me to repeat something he thought was insightful and I reply that I have already forgot and we will have to check it out on the tape ; )

Here is our 23 minute jam on Technology Adoption and Hype:

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You can see other great keynote interviews with the likes of Kevin Kelly, Steven M.R. Covey, Amy Sutherland and Wayne Hodgins just to name a few, by clicking here.

Thanks to Elliott for taking a chance on me and to all of the Learning 2008 attendees who were kind enough to attend my session. BTW if you want a complete set of charts from my session they are available via Slideshare by clicking below.

Researching the Effectiveness of Virtual Worlds

I attended a very good session at the Masie Conference where folks from HP, Intel, Accenture, to name just a few, discussed the issues around applying virtual worlds in the corporate context.

One of the big issues that seems to be coming out is that corporate decision makers want EVIDENCE that Immersive Learning Experiences are more efficient and effective than traditional learning approaches.

However, one of the issues we consistently run up against is that in order to measure “apples to apples” on the efficiency outcome variable (i.e. can you learn and retain as much in the virtual world as you can via instructor led training or web based training). The underlying issue here is that in limiting ourselves to comparing apples to apples when it comes to knowledge retention we limit the very thing that makes the virtual world so special: Serendipitous, peer-based, discovery based experential learning. Put more curtly, it is why when we take stakeholders into a virtual world they immediately ask “where are the classrooms, I don’t see anyone learning in here?” Rogers classic on the Diffusion of Innovations has taught us that Familiarity is a necessary rite of passage on the road to fundamental disruptive innovation, but I sure hope that the era of digital avatars in digital classrooms watching digital documents will be a very short lived meme.

This evening, after many hours of wrestling with this challenge, things became clear. We need to separate the WHAT (Declarative Knowledge) from the How (Procedural Knowledge). Most ILT and traditional learning is about topic not task. It is about what not how. The virtual world is all about HOW and learning WHILE doing. Most traditional pedagogical approaches are focused on learning BEFORE doing. Thus it is not appropriate to compare ILT to Virtual Worlds because they actually are based in fundamentally different instructional paradigms. ILT is about content while Immersive Learning Experiences are about context. ILT is about Topic while ILE is about Task while ILT is about What, ILE is about HOW. ILT is about Knowing while ILE is about Doing,

If history does not repeat, it certainly rhymes. This should sound familiar to many of us. (Hint: Think Blended Learning). A blend that brings the value of immersive learning to provide an experience where the “WHAT” can be synthesized, understood within the context of task and internalized in an authentic way.

The ILE adds to the ILT as the bridge that finally straddles the Knowlng-Doing Gap that Pfeiffer and Sutton highlited in their excellent book a few years ago.

Finally, as we work on the evaluation it would be remiss of me not to mention some of the very cool work that my friends and colleagues Mitzi Montoya (NCSU) and Anne Massey (Indiana) are doing to develop an instrument that captures Perceived Virtual Presence. I will be using their PVP instrumentation in my evaluations from here on out as those of us in the academic world try to create an overarching evaluation rubric to look at perception, efficiency and effectiveness of Virtual Worlds. You can read about their very cool and innovative research here.

Doh…I got the number of employees wrong at Wikipedia

Yesterday I had a lot of fun at my breakout session. I got on a riff comparing Wikipedia to Britannica on a number of fronts. Three years ago when I was at one of IBM’s GIO 2.0 meetings I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Baptiste Souffron, who was the attorney at Wikipedia. At that time,he told me it was just “Him and Jimmy” as official employees.

So as I riffed yesterday I talked about how Wikipedia only had two employees which I assumed would be a lot less that Britannica. Later that day Elliott was interviewing Sue and she mentioned that the ranks of Wikipedia have swelled to a MASSIVE 22 full time employees. Still not bad considering that they run the fourth most used site on the web.

The larger point here is that social media principles are rapidly diffusing into the enterprise space and new models of organization where orchestration and coordination of talent and passion around endeavor is trumping command and control of employees around projects they are not energized about is starting to pervade.

None of us is as smart as all of us and we need to start thinking of human capital as a network of talented and capable people who can be tuned to an issue or opportunity at the moment of inspiration or need.

Over and out from Orlando as I ready to hear from one of my true heroes, Kevin Kelly.

Keynote at Masie Conference

This morning I had the pleasure of doing a keynote session with Elliott Masie. True to form we agreed to just riff…and that we did.. I think it went quite well and I had a lot of folks come up after the session to say they got something out of it.

Elliott is pulling out all the stops this year. There is an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) that David Metcalf and his crew are running called Dream Corp. Also, Ann DeMarle’s students at Champlain college are building a game in real time during the conference to deal with the issues of teleworking.

Finally, being the king of last minute, I just signed into the social networking site that the Masie folks have provided and found it to be very user friendly. Here is a screenshot of the social network view. I am the blue dot closest to the middle:

I am very much looking forward to soaking it all in and leaving with more questions than I came…that way I know I have learned something ; )

Over and out for now from Orlando.