4 microlessons worth sharing – March 25

Ever since last week’s #PKMChat on microcontent and microlearning (3-18-15) I’ve been thinking in microterms. As I thought more carefully about how I was using microcontent to microlearn this week, I realized that I had learned a few microlessons. This things worth sharing post is themed around these microlessons.

1) How can game design principles help us use smaller slices of information to enhance engagement and learning? Game On! Applying Game Design Principles to research, teaching, and outreach strategies, a conference keynote session I attended by Dr. Rosa Mikeal Martey in 2011, has influenced my thinking about using smaller slices of information to create engaging learning opportunities. With all the conversation on microcontent and microlearning in #PKMChat this week, many insights about microcontent and microlearning can be gained by understanding these gaming design principles, specifically:

  • progressive levels – how can we break things into smaller more manageable slices
  • feedback and measurement – providing more frequent feedback and measurement to sustain motivation and encourage experimentation
  • narrative and purpose – how to connect the smaller slices to a larger purpose

Towards the end of her presentation, Dr. Martey prompts researchers, educators, and outreach professionals to design learning and engagement opportunities (perhaps microlessons?) around the question: “What is it you need to learn?”, rather than  “How will I know what you know?”.

2)How about a drawing microchallenge? A couple weeks ago I used Dave Gray’s squiggle bird YouTube video to give myself a two minute drawing microchallenge. Adding feet and tail feathers on a variety of squiggles stretched my idea of what a bird could look like (check out the long little bird in the middle). This microchallenge helped me see how I can make characters out of many other shapes. It also was a great example of microcontent (video) and microlesson (the challenge) which led to my own microlearning (a small step forward in my artistic skill development).

My attempt at drawing squiggle birds on my phone.

My attempt at drawing squiggle birds on my phone.

3)Does microcontent = planned and re-purposed content?    I’ve thought of creating better microcontent mostly as the act of re-purposing bits of long form online educational events and content such as webinars, blog posts, or PDFs to share through social media. During a conversation with Helen Blunden during last week’s #PKMChat,  I realized I highly value conversation threads as a form of microcontent.

This helped remind me to plan to curate or share conversational insights back to the community of learners when appropriate. Storify and RebelMouse (see this EdTechLN example with its e-newsletter feature) are two tools I’ve seen that help to make lighter work out of curating and sharing conversations that make for great microcontent.

4)How do we become designers of better microchoices? Information architect Abbey Covert changed my thinking about who is a designer when I first saw her Slideshare presentation How to Make Sense of Any Mess.

After many years of not completely understanding why I’ve been intrigued by design thinking or why I’ve been completely annoyed by the paradox of choice when I enter the toothpaste aisle or go to buy a pair of jeans, it has become apparent to me that 21st century skills include becoming better at designing solutions and frameworks to make better and many microchoices.

As educational professionals, I see three ways where we can design solutions to help make better microchoices:

  • Designing and implementing our own daily (PKM)  personal framework and routine to get better at making, articulating, and sharing how we make microchoices in an information abundant and complex world.
  • Designing microcontent (or perhaps microlessons) that can help others learn and act to make a microchoice.
  • Designing (or co-designing) social learning frameworks or environments that spark opportunities to build knowledge, skills, and on-going social support so people can continue to learn together as knowledge evolves.

Five ideas worth sharing – March 10, 2015

Thanks to Maureen Crawford for sharing her first post on 10 things worth sharing with me last week. Her format using the simple idea of ‘things worth sharing’ seemed like something I could do on a regular basis. To date, this was the easiest (or least time consuming) blog post for me to put together.

Some of this week’s ideas led to this insight of being able to share information more quickly or more simply. Other ideas are focused around digital workplace and leadership skills.

1) How do we explain the learning that goes on by sharing micro-content?  In Kate Pinner’s Sunday Summary, she shared this link on micro-learning. I liked the term micro-learning because it places the emphasis on what people will takeaway or learn from your micro-content.

2) Is blogging blurting? One of the most difficult barriers for me to overcome in my blogging venture is to increase the frequency of my blogging. I feel like I need to complete a thought like I would to publish a research paper or a lab report. I know I need to get past this. In fact, I do believe blogging is for sharing half-baked ideas, but I’ve struggled to find the ‘art’ or my personal recipe for creating and sharing half-baked ideas.  Nigel Young’s blurting blog posts and this discussion that Bruno Wick and I had (first here, and then here)  about working and learning out loud are helping see the nuances of how to blurt to get blogging. (It’s likely I’ll be including more sketch blurts in the future)

3) I could do this! A 30 second lifelong habit. Through Maureen Crawford’s 10 things worth sharing post, I found this idea could build off the idea of blurting for blogging. Taking 30 seconds to jot down a note after a meeting or experience is a great way to keep track of what I’m learning. I can just grab these 30 second insights from my daily Evernote entries or from a sketch note I’ve created, then place them in a weekly blog post summary (like I have here today).

4) Transactional, Transformational, or T-shaped leadership?  My colleague Anne Adrian summarized a professional development activity on Full Range Leadership during a recent meeting. It was about balancing transactional leadership with transformational leadership. In an effort to capture this discussion, I sketched it. This reminded me of when I first read about T-shaped leadership in Morten Hansen’s book Collaboration. It’s been a few years since I read Collaboration, but I realized it might be good to think about it again. Planning a T-shaped workweek (as described in this HBR article) could be thought of a daily activity as part of one’s PKM (personal knowledge management) routine, and as a way to shape and grow one’s personal learning network.

Sketch notes

Thoughts sketched about transactional, transformations, and t-shaped leadership

5) What are the Required Skills for Today’s Digital Workforce? Dion Hinchcliffe’s insightful post includes two graphics: one on internal and external digital factors that affect change, and another defining seven skills for the digital workforce. I thought both of these graphics could be helpful for finding a starting point to direct change initiatives within organizations (or personally). This post created a flurry of other insights, blog posts, and conversations about which digital work force skills and mindsets are required in today’s digital and networked world. I plan to expand more on this in an upcoming post.