The little book of the future or a guide to collaborative learning


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A guide to collaborative learning

Includes a vision of learning 2020

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The little book of the future or a guide to collaborative learning

  1. 1. 1. Introduction 2. Top tips about Google 3. Boost productivity with Google apps 4. How to defend your online reputation 5. How to collaborate on LinkedIn 6. How to harness the Twitterverse 7. Crowdsourcing knowledge online with  social bookmarking 8. Watch & learn 9. Video learning: a new dimension10. Try Yammer: the enterprise social network 11. The Millennial generation 12. How the internet gets inside your brain 13. A vision of  learning in 2020 14. How to become a learning magnet 15. The future of  learning is self-directed 16. The world’s cleverest robot17. Case study: collaborating globally at IBM18. Moodle takes the learning world by storm 19. Making it work in the real world 20. Top 10 online learning tools Produced by Reed Learning  Lovingly designed by ©2011
  2. 2. A Gu i de t o C ol l A b or At i v e l e A r n i nG By Hugh GreenwayT his little book gives you a taster of the tools which we think will significantly alter the way people learn, at work andat home. Interestingly, most of them are free. One of the mostremarkable elements of social and collaborative learning is theshift away from knowledge being something you pay for. Access to knowledge is almost limitless. Indeed theproliferation of information (much of it rubbish) has becomea problem in its own right. Why would you pay when Google,Twitter, LinkedIn, Diigo, Foursquare, Wikipedia, Yammeret al can provide you with the answers to your questions freeof charge. The challenge is selecting which answer, from themultitude provided, is the right one. We cannot know the future and I cannot say hand onheart that all tools in this book will survive. But I do know thatin order to learn you must first do something. If you don’tever do anything you won’t ever learn anything. And manyof these internet tools give you the opportunity to try thingsand access networks of expertise beyond the imaginings of onlya few short years ago. I have learned more in the last three years using some ofthese tools than I learned in the previous decade. So I urge youto give some of them a try. Nobody is going to laugh at you.Start building and sharing your own library of knowledge andwho knows what the future may hold. HugH g reenway has been Managing Director of Reed Learning since 2004. 1
  3. 3. TOP TIPS ABOUT GOOGLEGoogleʼs Wonder Wheel will showyour search results as a mind map 07with connected links to relevanttopics. Just type your search term,click “More search tools” in the left 06 You can use Google as a calculator – simply type your sum and hitpanel, and select Wonder Wheel. return. Or to convert between units of measurement enter yourChoose “Translated Foreign Pages”and Google will find sites in 05 desired conversion into the search box (e.g. 4 lbs in kg).languages other than English anddisplay a translation for you. 04 Also in the “More search tools” menu, select “Timeline” and youʼll see a graph showing dates relevant to your search term.Expand your Google results tosynonyms by adding a tilde 03symbol (~) at the start with nospace before the first search term. 02 Or restrict your search results by excluding certain words. Just add a minus sign (with no space) before the terms you donʼt want to see inIf youʼre a pirate and want asearch engine that speaks your 01 your results.language try
  4. 4. b o o st P roduC t i v i t y w i t h GooGle A PPs By Matt Trimmer Google Mail – means there’s no need to invest in costly,admin-heavy email servers. It can serve all email using yourbusiness domain and deliver mail quickly and virus free to all staff.It integrates into Google’s calendar system, so organising teammeetings and client visits is easy with everyone sharing a commoncalendar interface. Google Sites – is a basic site building tool which is fastand makes it easy to build shared web pages – a basic companyintranet or a list of policies and procedures for example. Again,many companies invest in complex intranet servers to builddocument sharing tools, but with Google Sites there’s simplyno need for such expense. Google Groups for Business – allows employees toshare docs, calendars, sites, shared folders and videos with others.You can control who has access to content, making GoogleGroups a secure and user-friendly communication portal. Google Docs – offers powerful collaborative wordprocessor and spreadsheet applications which revolutionise theway you share documents with fellow staff members, clientsand suppliers. Although many Microsoft Office users may findthese collaborative applications a little unfamiliar, the newlyannounced Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office willallow us to use familiar Office applications with the powerof Google Apps collaboration…Plus find tips about using Google Reader on page 14 M att t riMMer is Principal Consultant and Managing Director of ivantage Limited, and a Google Certified Trainer. 3
  5. 5. Remember... ‘social ’ doesn’t mean ‘casual ’Google never forgets. You might  Keep  an  eye  out  for  comments put  old  friends  and  colleagues  and tags added by others, and set behind  you,  but  a  nasty  up  a  free  Google  Alert  that comment  left  on  a  blog  will  emails  you  whenever  new never  be  forgotten.  And  thanks  content  involving  your  name  is to  caching,  you  can’t  really  posted online.delete it. Keep  your  work  and  personal Don’t  accept  friend  requests  lives  separate  by  using  different from  just  anyone  through  your  usernames,  particularly  if   you Facebook and LinkedIn account  have an unusual name or if  you –  every  friend  will  become  regularly  post  feedback  on  sites connected, if  in just a small way,  like your own online reputation.  Double  check  everything  you If   you’re  worried  about  how  post  online  that  can  be  tracked you  appear  in  Google  search  back  to  your  work  profile. results,  first  check  your  privacy  Spelling and grammar are just as settings  on  social  networking  important  on  blog  posts  and sites like Facebook. updates. Remember that “social” Use credible sites like LinkedIn to  doesn’t mean “casual”.create  new  more  recent  activity which  will  appear  higher  up  in the  search  engines  and  detract from anything embarrassing.
  6. 6. how t o C ol l A b or At e on l i n k e di n By Richard GeorgeL inkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 100 million members in 200 countries. This makesit the best source of professional insights and opportunities andyour door to accessing the collective wisdom and experienceof the world’s professionals. LinkedIn is continually adding new free tools to allow itsmembers to collaborate, discover information and connectwith experts to help them be more productive in the job theyhave or get the job they want. Here are a few to try out: LinkedIn Groups – with hundreds of thousands ofdifferent groups on LinkedIn, you’ll find one which will berelevant to you and your industry. Find out about latest bestpractice, get advice on expanding your business or discuss thelatest news relevant to your sector. For teams working acrossborders and in different offices, creating a group can be a greatway to discuss projects, share ideas and collaborate, with fullcontrol over who has access. LinkedIn Answers – get the information you need tocomplete a project or garner opinion on a topic relevant to yourwork with LinkedIn Answers. Allowing you to post questionsand read the responses to previous questions, this tool canquickly get you the information and answers you need fromthe relevant experts, wherever they might be based. LinkedIn Signal – currently in Beta, LinkedIn Signal isa new way to find out who’s saying what about which topic inthe professional world. Signal allows members to searchLinkedIn updates by keywords and phrases and then narrowdown the results by a wide variety of criteria including location,company, industry and the time. So, if you want to find out who’sdiscussing your company news and what they think, LinkedInSignal can tell you. r icHard george is the PR Manager and spokesperson for LinkedIn Europe. 5
  7. 7. he rn ess tHow to haMANY PEOPLE’S RESPONSE to Twitter Use Twitter Search with keywordsis, “I just don’t get it”. to nd relevant information andYes, Twitter is super cial and often conversations. It’s a good way toinane. BUT Twitter’s super ciality nd out if anyone is talking aboutcan be its greatest strength. you or your company. To make yourAmidst all of the rubbish about posts searchable by others add # inpeople’s holidays and what they front of the topic (e.g. #eLearning).ate for dinner there are Click on “Trending Topics” frominteresting, intelligent people the home page to see what peoplesharing insights and information of are talking about right now.genuine value. Share web links, screencasts,The secret is to nd out who those pictures, documents, videos andpeople are and follow them whilst blog posts with your network. A lotruthlessly ditching the time wasters. can be packed into 140 charactersThink of it as a conveyor belt of if you use a URL shortening serviceinformation quietly humming along like the background. If someone Try following Tom Peters, Timsays something interesting or posts Harford, Jane Knight, Bena link to an article you can pick it Goldacre, Harold Jarche, Nicholasup. But you can just as easily Nassim Taleb, Lucy Kellaway orignore it all. any number of interesting andRemember that if you’re using original thinkers.Twitter for work your username,followers and everyone you followwill be visible to anyone. You canalways create separate personal andprofessional accounts. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS at
  8. 8. C row d s ou rC i nG k now l e d G eon l i n e w i t h s o C i A l b o ok m A r k i nG By Jane HartM ost people are familiar with collecting and storing website links in their browsers – they’re usually knownas “Favourites” or “Bookmarks”. Social bookmarking isabout collecting and storing these bookmarks online, andthen sharing them with others. Two popular social bookmarking sites are Delicious(, and Diigo ( What’s great about social bookmarking is that thebookmarks can be “tagged”. This means categorising ordescribing them using keywords defined by you, which meansthat they then become searchable by you and others. It’s auseful way to find popular resources on a topic, as you willsee the number of times a particular link to a resource has beensaved. The best resources will therefore rise to the top. With Delicious you can also share your bookmarks byagreeing on a tag that you and others will use, so that theywill all appear together. You each “subscribe” to that tag,and have your very own library of links. Diigo on the other hand is more than just bookmarking.It doubles as a powerful research tool where you can highlighttext on a website and attach sticky notes to it. These highlightsand sticky notes remain, so that you will see them when youreturn to the page – just like highlighting passages in a book.Diigo is a great way to create groups to pool and organiseresearch about a project. This is “crowdsourcing” at its best. Jane H art is the founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, and a leading thinker and practitioner in the area of social learning. 7
  9. 9. W ATCH & LEARN & Explore the digita l universe!• YouTube has over 490 million • Thousands of riveting talks by unique users, spending a combined remarkable people, free to total of over 300,000 years on the watch online. site each month. • TED brings together the worlds• Find clips on topics from fiscal policy most fascinating thinkers and doers, to how to fold a t-shirt, from building who are challenged to give the talk pivot tables to how to apply make-up, of their lives in 18 minutes or less. recorded by experts in each field. • Try Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti• Try Common Crafts "Plain English" sauce or learn Shai Agassis bold series on internet tools, or Randy plan for electric cars. Pausch on Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. • Over 350,000 lectures, videos,• Over 8000 study hours of learning films and other educational materials from Open University resources from all over the world. courses, all available free. • All content is free to download to• Topical and interactive content, from listen to on the move. expert blogs, to videos and games. • Try "What Great Bosses Know" by• Try Evan Davis on the UK tax system the Poynter Institute or Yale. or The Foods That Make Billions Universitys "How To Write A about the rise of bottled water. Business Plan".
  10. 10. v i de o l e A r n i nG : A n e w di m e n s ion By Jon KennardV ideo learning adds an extra dimension to the learning experience, as long as it’s made up of good, meaningfulcontent that is passionately delivered. As body language experts and NLP practitioners are alwaystelling us, one of the keys to successful communication andknowledge transfer is mirroring and empathetic body language.If you have a video of a presenter introducing an idea to you,you’ll be more naturally inclined to watch and learn than if youwere asked to read a paragraph of text explaining the same thing. Context is key. As a learner, video learning typically comesin ‘bite-size’, more digestible chunks, or at least it should do.There should be regular pauses to assess and question whatyou have just seen, maintaining the energy levels of a trainingsession more effectively. So, video learning is really like a blendedexperience as opposed to one straight-up style of learning. Psychologically, video learning is about breaking throughthe stigma and barriers of the traditional classroom environment.The seemingly never-ending app zeitgeist and buzz around theiPad gives you more ways than ever to integrate video learninginto your working lifestyle. As our work takes us further awayfrom the office, content will be increasingly adapted for playbackon our personal devices. The future for video learning is looking very bright indeed. Jon K ennard is acting Editor of Prior to this he was a freelance writer on the topic of learning technologies. 9
  11. 11. TRY YAMMERThe ENTERPRISE SOCIAL NETWORK GET CONNECTED TODAY!Yammer is used by over 90,000 It connects you with people in othercompanies worldwide. departments and offices.It’s a free online internal network that You can tag content and messages inlets you communicate securely with your network to make it easy toyour colleagues. organise and discover.You can collaborate and share more Connect to your network anywhere,easily and efficiently than ever before any time by downloading free iPhone,in private or public groups and BlackBerry, Android and Windowscommunities. Mobile applications.It reduces the need for meetings, All you need is a company emailincreases communication, highlights address.areas of expertise and connectsremote workers.You can share documents withcolleagues, groups, or your entirecompany.
  12. 12. t h e m i l l e n n i A l G e n e r At ion By Tony BinghamW e are on the cusp of one of the most exciting transformations in business history. Organisations in the 21st centuryare facing unprecedented global challenges, and the speed,agility, and creativity with which they address these challenges isinfluenced by generational and demographic shifts. Predictions estimate that by 2014, half of the U.S. workforcewill comprise the Millennial generation. The way this generationlearns and the tools they expect to use at work have tremendousimplications for the learning profession and managers. How are Millennials different from previous generations?In Don Tapscott’s book Grown Up Digital, he notes thedifferences: They want freedom to work when and wherethey like. They seek customisation and want to be managedas individuals, not as a group. They value integrity andtransparency. They want to have fun. Most of all, they wantto collaborate. For organisations this may be a paradigm shift – movingaway from relying on formal learning, and exploring socialmedia to facilitate informal learning. ASTD’s research study, The Rise of Social Media, foundmore than 50 percent of Millennials – higher than Baby Boomersand members of Generation X combined – said that social mediatools help them get more work done, get better work done, learnmore in less time, and learn truly useful things. Companies thatencourage the use of social media tools can expect to see widerparticipation from all generations of the workforce and findthemselves ready to move forward with a deeper understandingand a renewed energy to learn. tony BingHaM is President and CEO of the American Society for Training & Development – the world’s largest association dedicated to learning and development. 11
  13. 13. HOW THE INTERNET gets inside YOUR BRAINADULTS WHO SPEND TIME on the web notonly boost their brain power but could also In addition, navigating documents online that include hyperlinks has been shown tohelp protect themselves from cognitive disrupt concentration and weakendecline such as Alzheimer’s disease and comprehension. People who read plain textdementia later on in life (according to comprehend more, remember more, andresearch by neuroscientists at the University learn more than those who read textof California, Los Angeles – UCLA see peppered with links (see However, web-savvy brains show more ey suggest that using the internet activity in areas of the brain that controlcauses temporary synaptic rewiring. e decision-making and complex reasoning.strength of neuron connections changes, E ective searches and making decisions onnew connections are made and lost, and what to click on appear to engage andnew cells are formed. develop important cognitive circuits. Others argue that the bombardment ofinformation through the internet could endup interfering with our sleep, sabotagingour concentration and undermining ourimmune systems.
  14. 14. A v i s ion oF l e A r n i nG i n 2 0 2 0 By Debbie CarterB y 2020 our view of ‘connectedness’ will have moved to quite a different level. Imagine being able to exchange businessinformation through a handshake. Imagine office furniture thatcan detect signs of emotional stress or tiredness and respondby cooling the air, temporarily diverting calls, sending an alertmessage, or playing a soothing music selection. Developments like Body Area Networks (BANs) andmobile intercommunicating sensors will mean that ‘always-on’communications can be physically implanted in the body. Aphone printed on the wrist or a video screen in a contact lensfor example would maintain their charge by drawing on theuser’s body heat or from their physical activity. Let’s say you want to check on a telepresence meeting.You call out: ‘What time is the telepresence?’ The watch printedon your wrist checks your online diary and displays the time onthe watch’s face. On moving through the building, sensors detectyour presence and relay meeting information to your palmtop.You are feeling tense before this important meeting and yourBAN senses this, relaying information to the room’s air controlsystem which lowers the temperature temporarily, while acalming meditation session plays through your tiny earpiece. Brain implants or downloads could be viewed as effectivemethods of imparting knowledge or skills quickly in order tosustain the need for new learning. ‘Smart’ drugs could helplearning, memory retention and feelings of well-being at work. This may seem like science fiction but the reality is thatat some point advances in technology and neuroscience willenable these types of interventions to become part of both ourworking and personal lives. deBBie carter is former Editor and currently Director of Research at Training Journal magazine. 13
  15. 15. HOW TO USE RSS TO BECOME ALEARNING MAGNETRSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Then just link the sites you like to yourYou can receive ‘feeds’ from news sites, Google Reader. Somewhere on the sitesforums, blogs, LinkedIn… indeed any page you like you’ll see a link to RSS feeds –that supports RSS (and most do). just click and subscribe.The point is that everything you want to A few keyboard shortcuts will speed upread can be accessed through one your browsing time. Use j and k to quicklywebsite, saving you time, ltering out all ip through posts, and use s to star them.the junk and creating your own You can group your feeds into folders to‘personal newspaper.’ help you organise different topics, andTo set up RSS feeds you need a Reader. share your content with other users.Google Reader is the biggest: go to Go to Settings > Send To and It works well with selected feed items to Diigo, Twitter,mobile devices too. Facebook, Delicious and other social media sites. Google will also suggest interesting feeds just for you based on your searches and selections. To learn more watch "RSS in Plain English" on YouTube. Take action:
  16. 16. t h e F u t u r e oF l e A r n i nG i s s e l F - di r e C t e d By Tricia HartleyW e all have the potential to be self-directed learners, programmed with the curiosity, problem-solving abilitiesand practical intelligence to learn for ourselves. Traditionally training at work has focused on formal deliveryof learning rather than encouraging people to learn forthemselves. Many companies place great faith in formal trainingbut do not identify what difference they expect to see and dolittle follow up to see if this happens. Technology will change this. In the future, with a moretechnologically savvy workforce, there will be a shift towardsinformal, social learning. This can work especially well for staffwho are nervous about or bored by formal training. We all know that a high proportion of organisationallearning takes place on the job. Charles Jennings, former ChiefLearning Officer for Thomson Reuters, calls this 70-20-10(in which 70% of learning happens on the job, 20% informallyfrom colleagues and only 10% from formal training.) What does this mean for learning & development?Firstly, it makes it more cost effective, with some face to facetraining replaced by online and blended methods. Secondly, it shifts the role of the L&D professional fromknowledge-giver to facilitator and adviser - communicatingorganisational goals, identifying core content, providinginformation to help employees make their own decisions andcoaching people who need extra help. Thirdly, line managers become vitally important negotiatorsand mediators, enhancing learning experiences and co-creatinglearning with team members to develop self-directed learningthat meets individual and organisational needs. t ricia H artley, is the Chief Executive and spokesperson at the Campaign for Learning. 15
  17. 17. ROBOT Meet ! THE WORLD’S CLEVEREST nWatso IN 2011 IBM took another step towards creating a machine that could compete with the human brain. The computer, named Watson, beat humans head to head in the US quiz show ‘Jeopardy!’ without being connected to the internet. It had to understand natural language, determine the answer to a question, and then calculate the odds that its answer was correct in order to decide whether it was worth buzzing in. According to IBM, “The goal was to have computers start to interact in natural human terms, understanding the questions that humans ask and providing answers that humans can understand and justify.” Watson won the match with a final score of $35,734 to its opponents’ $10,400 and $4,800. IBM says it hopes Watson will transform the way businesses work, and even assist in research and medical diagnosis.
  18. 18. C A s e st u dy: C ol l A b or At i nG G l ob A l ly At i b m By Paul JaggerI t might sound strange to many people but at IBM your closest colleagues might be people you don’t see from one year tothe next. Using collaborative online tools is as commonplace asusing email or picking up the phone. Blogs, wikis, online teamrooms, instant messaging and web conferencing – they’re anintegral part of every employee’s day-to-day working life at IBM,especially so in respect of workplace learning and development. “Collaborating Globally” is one of IBM’s core competencies.People are recognised for their contribution to the knowledgenetworks, and they’ve become very forthcoming about sharingwhat they know with others, supporting another of IBM’s corecompetencies “Helping IBMers succeed”. And in a company likeIBM the wealth of expertise available internally is obviously vast. WikiCentral is the main access point for wikis in IBMand is used by two thirds of IBM employees world-wide. Everyworking day, more than 90,000 employees access up to 300,000pages from a bank of more than 8 million wiki pages. And theIBM Community Map hosts more than 2,000 different onlineCommunities of Interest. The flexibility that social collaboration and learning bringsis a huge benefit, and a competitive advantage. Communicatingeasily across teams, countries and time zones means the scopefor collaboration on projects is huge. Many IBMers work flexiblehours from a mix of office, home and client sites without feelingout of the conversation. If there is a downside it is that the abundance of tools,forums and networks is difficult to keep up with. But likeanything, the kind of natural selection you get with these thingsmeans the ones that work, do work exceptionally well. Paul Jagger is a Business Area Manager for IBM Learning Development (Europe). He serves on advisory boards for the National Skills Academy for IT and the Institute of IT Training. 17
  19. 19. - A N N O U N C EM EN T -Moodle TakesThe LearningWorld By StormMOODLE is an open source learningmanagement system that is taking theeducation world by storm. More and morecolleges, universities, businesses andcommercial training organisations areturning to Moodle to host and deliver coursesonline, as it o ers a sophisticated learningresource – with no licence fee. Visit us at moodle.orgA t its most basic level, Moodle can be To work it needs to be installed on a web used to store, categorise and display server somewhere, either on one of your own course information for learners to computers or one at a web hosting and digest in their own time. Beyond You dont need to know any programming tothat, the system o ers assignment set up your own Moodle, but a bit of PHPsubmission, quizzes, peer review, instant knowledge will allow you to create a rich,messaging and discussion forums. While well-styled site.Moodle wont create complex eLearning Its easy to nd a developer who can helpmodules for you, it does o er a great way to you with your Moodle set-up, but dont forgethost and organise any existing modules you that, as its built on open source software, youown and embed things like video and can acquire support via the active userinteractive content. community. is is often more e ective and usually free, although it may require more engagement on your part than you are used to. At the end of 2010 there were over 50k registered Moodle sites serving 37 million learners globally. For a great example of what you could achieve with Moodle, visit All Moodle packages are GPL licenced - DOWNLOAD FOR FREE -
  20. 20. m A k i nG i t wor k i n t h e r e A l wor l d By Martyn SlomanS o will we finally get the application of social learning right? It’s unlikely there will be a ‘eureka moment’. Morelikely there will be a gradual but irreversible recognition ofa simple fact: what matters in learning technology is the learnernot the technology. The profession will finally stop throwingthe latest tools at people in the hope that they will use themand learn something. New technologies can be seductive, but some things willwork and some simply won’t. Online systems might look thepart but fail to impart the necessary skills. For example,developing the “big society” skills of volunteering using onlinevirtual classrooms might seem an attractive use of availabletechnology but be an entirely inappropriate solution. Practicalskills taught through experience and feedback may be anunfashionable but far more effective solution. Without anyone noticing it, some forms of learning throughtechnology will show incremental but irreversible growth. Theuse of webinars for professional staff across different countriesto share and update the knowledge could be particularlyimportant. The key point here is that the learners are motivatedand interested. The emergence of a learner-centric approach,and far less technology hype, will mean that a more constructivedebate can begin. M artyn SloMan is a former learning advisor for the CIPD. He is currently a visiting Professor at Kingston Business School, Kingston University. 19
  21. 21. TOP 1001. ONLINE LEARNING TOOLS 02. 03. 04. 05.
  22. 22. reproduced with permission of the centre for learning & performance technologies c4lp 07. 08. 09. 10. 21
  23. 23. Reed Learning is one of the foremost learning providers in the UK, with over 15 years’ experience of delivering quality training to thousands of organisations. We run over 200 short coursesand a range of professional qualifications reinforced by internationally recognised accreditations. And we can design and deliver bespoke programmes at the location of your choice. We also provide client-specific managed services to outsource training coordination and administration, proven to reduce training spend by up to 25% whilst improving quality and consistency. 9 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6XF United Kingdom 0800 170 7777 Send a free copy of this book to a friend at, or use the code above