Psst.. knowledge-worker? You have mad skills?

Jun 28 003Nancy White was spurred into action by Tony Karrer’s “big question” of the month: what skills do knowledge-workers (or “learning professionals”) need (as we head into the teenies). But Tony was disappointed that Nancy listed only 4 “meta skills”:

  1. self-awareness,
  2. generosity,
  3. humility, and
  4. willingness to risk.

.. because Tony was looking for the technical details, the actual “how do i learn” skills. So Nancy wrote a second version, this time elaborating on the abilities to:

  1. scan and filter (manage the “river of information”),
  2. connect with other people,
  3. synthesise the streams of incoming data to create your own “reality frameworks”,
  4. ask good questions, and
  5. mentor people through technologies (“stewardship”).

Banana Boat Army
i enjoyed both posts from Nancy. i like the way she writes, including images for every topic, keeping the chunks of information small enough to digest, adding in headings to make things more readable, connecting with her audience as she writes. i’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post on “network weaving” and “reflective practice”.

Others have weighed in..

  • Drawing on a 2008 article, Harold Jarche suggests that attitude is the key: openness to sharing and constantly learning from people in your network: while it takes time to build up the trust required, he concludes that “it is now a significant disadvantage to not actively participate in social learning networks“.
  • Jay Cross revisits the topic and covers a big range of teaching roles including: writer, presenter, designer, producer, moderator, connector and “learnscape architect” (i like that last one!!)
  • Ken Allen reminds us to look back at the fundamentals of learning, for example Bloom’s taxonomy, and recall the importance of focussing on the learner, relevant application, available time and resources.
  • Jane Bozarth tells us to first become comfortable with technologies so we can recognise them for what they can do for us, and secondly to let go of control.
  • Michael Hanley reckons that learning professionals need to be able to do just about anything across these various job descriptions: communicator, consultant, learning innovator, learning technologist, human capital management strategist, business-savvy educator, learning & knowledge manager, organizational change agent.

This reminds me of a fabulous cartoon i once had with the job description of a teacher.. along the lines of: “curriculum designer, facilitator, mentor, coach, newsletter editor, publisher, film director, morale officer, police officer, nurse, sandwich maker, bus driver..”

Old projector

i did like Clive Shepherd’s point that many regular teachers have decided to delegate the technical side of things to the experts. “Twenty-five years ago, every l&d professional ..would have been familiar with every medium then available, i.e. overhead projectors.. black/whiteboards, 35mm slide projectors, VCRs, etc. At some point since then, as new learning media began to proliferate, they backed out and started leaving the job to specialists. Big mistake.

Do you ever feel like people ask you to do things because you’re the “tech person”? Things that shouldn’t be so difficult?

Michael’s list:

My overall take on skills for a “learning practitioner” is this:

  1. find ways to manage the incoming flow of information (eg use some tools to manage torrential flow from blogs and micro-blogs, forums, news outlets and other sources, synthesise the information for ourselves and others);
  2. build our ability to interact with people across a range of environments (participate in discussions, filter information flows for others in our networks, engage colleagues in the world of possibilities, improve written and spoken communication skills, share more of what we do the help files we create in our role as “technology steward”);
  3. remember to get things done as well as responding to the outside world (is your twitter, blog, ning etc really as important as that project timeline?) .. and
  4. constantly adapt to change (in our relationships with people around us, in the projects we’re doing each year, in the technological tools we need to do our job even better, in the time available and the outcomes required).



  1. Nancy White says:

    Nice chocolate banana boats. Ymmmmm! I loved your #3 and #4 – great, pragmatic skills! I’m working on my Part 3 today!

  2. […] Michael Chalk -Psst.. knowledge-worker? You have mad skills? […]

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Context is everything: e-learning face-to

Read the text. A symbol of the eight fold path "Arya Magga" (the noble path of the dhamma) in early Buddhism. An intricate representation of the Dharmachakra, or Buddhist eight  spoked Wheel. Dhamma or Dharma

“We’re so far off online learning,” said one manager to me, implying that it was so difficult we shouldn’t even bother.

My first response was to bring it all back to the classroom. “Online learning is only one part of e-learning,” I replied. I think people still see the two terms as identical, which is a problem.

E-learning, step 1: some kind of technology in your face-to-face situation. For example, taking photographs on an excursion, or recording audio from student presentations. Having access to a local network drive folder for sharing documents & files. Using a data projector with wireless keyboard to engage & motivate.

E-learning, step 2: some kind of online presence for your classroom. For example, storing learning resources on a wiki or blog or something similar. So that students can access them outside of set class times.

E-learning, step 3: regular face-to-face intensive workshops for your online course. To make sure you’re building strong group dynamics for collaborative and constructive learning.

So really, in the ACE / Learn Local sector, we’re dealing with steps 1 & 2. And step 1 is about making

Hands-on digital literacies with limited technology (BYOD)

Valbec Conference 13

Valbec conference, 17 May 13

Ah, it all seemed so simple:

An interview with Carmen Harris

[Cross-posted from the North-West e-learning mentor blog.]

Recently I spoke with Carmen Harris from Yooralla adult education. Carmen was involved in the North-West e-learning mentor projects back in 2011. She told me all about the amazing work they’ve been doing with literacy and technology over there, including blogs, facebook, email lists and zines.

You can listen to the interview right here. I was aiming to edit down to 5-8 minutes, but Carmen just kept on saying interesting things. Highly recommended for an insight into creative classroom practices.

[Tech notes:]

We spoke over

What apps do you use for image work?

letter I

Good discussion on the ACE Network Ning, started by Lynne Gibb the e-mentor for Eastern Metro Region.

Like Lynne, I used to be a big PaintShop Pro fan, as i had a free licensed version from one of the computer magazines. Now I use XNview for browsing through my image collection, and also for those times you have to quickly re-size, adjust colours or optimise an image for the web. [Here’s my video screencast about it.]

Screenshot captor is my choice for screengrabs (similar to Carole’s Snipping Tool.) I’ve loaded it in my dropbox apps folder and set it to auto-start on all the windows machines.

I’ve used The Gimp, when i was on a mac & couldn’t access xnview or macromedia fireworks. Takes some getting used to, but it will do most of the things you need. Free and open source, you can run this as a portable app too.

Screencast-o-matic is the tool i use when i want to make a video screencast. It runs in Java, which can be trouble-some, but the web-based app now has a desktop version. [Here’s my list of video screencasts.] Details »

What's your favourite app or gadget right now?

Over on the LearnLocal e-learning network, Liz Grigg from Eastern Region has started a discussion: “

What learning brings you joy?

Found a lovely conversation on the Adult Learning Australia (ALA) Linkedin page, started by Sally Thompson. It was great to see so many joyful responses 😉 [You’ll need to join the conversation group to follow those links.]

I must say Junita amazes me with her constant sense of bubbling joy in her work. She’s a real inspiration in the way she’ll organise a network of educators and draw them into connecting. Above and beyond! Junita spoke of a small group of collaborative educators who would get together

Live web conferencing – the skills you need to facilitate a session

Last year, a few of the Victorian LearnLocal e-learning mentors put our heads together to think about the skills that people need when they want to run a live web conferencing session. I think it’s really crucial, if you’re thinking of running a live web conferencing session, to get as much help as you possibly can.

We came up with the ideas in this document below.

How to create a "session exit URL" for Blackboard Collaborate

Warning: specialised technical info relating to web conferencing in Blackboard Collaborate:

Don’t know how many people will find this useful, but Leo just asked if i knew how to do this, so i made a quick visual help file.

Yes, unfortunately you’ll need to do this for every session you set up. Unless someone else knows how to create a default exit URL.

Here’s a link to the PDF file hosted at google docs.

New e-learning mentor projects underway

Exciting news. The next round of Victorian ACE / LearnLocal e-learning mentor projects (aka “e-mentor”) have begun. Projects are conducted according to adult education regions around Victoria**.

And because each regional mentor team has their own online presence such as a blog or wiki, we’re looking for ways to tie all the headline threads together. So i’m conducting an experiment with a Yahoo RSS joiner called “Pipes”. Here’s a scrolling feed of the latest headlines. Now to see if i can display multiple headlines without scrolling…

[rss-news-display setting=”1″]


I’ve also written up the North-West experience over at our “North-West Cafe” e-mentor blog. More details over there.



** (While we still have the old regional system, that is. News has arrived that next year Victorian adult community education is to be divided into only 4 regions, with one-third of the staff. Naturally only people with secret invisible powers of government bureaucracy can see the sense in this. The rest of us think we may have an insane government in power. Somebody wants to destroy the Adult Community Education (ACE) sector apparently. Especially in rural and regional Victoria.)








Get a load of Stephen Fry (madly linguistic podgram)

I’m listening to Stephen Fry’s podgram on my android phone. And he’s so delightful, as he explores the innards of his linguistic perspective, that i feel the urge to share. But i didn’t take notes, so now i don’t recall anything that he said.

Think maybe i need to work on my auditory memory.

Oh i’ve just realised from the wikipedia page, that it dates back to 2008.