Monday, April 23, 2012

Did I learn lessons last time?

A few weeks back I posted a set of lessons I had learned from a visit to San Francisco where my wife and I will be moving to in a few short weeks.
Well I'm back in the City by the Bay for another home hunting trip and I thought I'd see how well I learned the lessons mentioned in that blog.

The Improvisational approach may not always be the best one
Well this one was learned well.  We had a realtor working with us looking at possible homes to buy and we had made a bunch of appointments of places to see for short term rentals.
However, the home we saw that we would most like to buy was not on the list that the realtor prepared for us. We saw it a few doors up from somewhere else. True it did not have one of the attributes we had said was important, but there was a good work around to that. Being open to the moment and taking an improvisational approach worked well for us there.

Too many new things will overwhelm you.
This time we had some good basic knowledge. We built on it block by block. We walked a lot, up and down hills sometimes but rather than try to work out how the buses and trains in the new city worked we used a rental car for some things and feet & taxis for the rest (oh and a pedicab at one point!)

Ask for lots of opinions, but be wary of filters.
The questions we asked were more pointed this time. When someone told us that the house they were trying to rent to us was 'protected by the hospital' from the fog we realised that this may be true, but the rest of the neighborhood wasn't.

Use the information out there to help you
This was well learned last time. By the time I arrived here, google was my best friend. As was the SF Chronicle web site and the ASTD Golden Gate Chapter. Oh and this time I took a look at the weather forecast and kept in mind the 30+ micro climates that make up the city.

So Learning Transfer was successful. Oh and so was the trip!

Happy Learning

Monday, April 9, 2012

To ROI or not to ROI, Is that the question?

In my inbox today was the upcoming webinar program from Training Magazine.
There are some great webinars in that series and I find myself wtaching about one a month on average.
But the thing that brought me to the blog today was this.

Wednesday, May 2
The ROI LIE: The Facts Behind Why Training ROI  is Undermining Credibility
Ajay Pangarkar, CTDP, President & Lead Learning Strategist, CentralKnowledge

Tuesday, May 8
ROI Basics: An Overview of the ROI Methodology
Patti Phillips, Ph.D., President & CEO, ROI Institute

And after I stopped laughing at the absurdity of these back to back webinars I started thinking.
In the Workplace Learning & Performance world we have a clear goal. the reason that companies pay us is to help ensure that their employees increase their skills or knowledge so that the employees can make a better contribution to the organizations goals.

Whether we stay with Don Kirkpatrick's four levels, or try to push beyond that to what Jack Phillips defines as a fifth and ROI, what is important is that we have the impact that the organization is looking for.

I realize that The Kirkpatrick Partners and the ROI institute have clear financial interests in getting us to adopt their particulat model, but at the end of the day, I just don't care.

Whether I'm moving a business performace metric or hitting an ROI value is irrellevant to me. Just as long at the desired change happens.

Happy Learning.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Holy Grail? We already have one!

In that classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail there is a scene where Arthur and his knights come up against a castle filled with french knights. When Arthur announces that they are seeking the Holy Grail the reply comes back "We've already got one!"

This thought came to me when I was at a CCASTD meeting a couple of weeks ago where Doty Sinclair and Danny Ortegon discussed Learning Management Systems and other learning technology.

Doty had a quote from Josh Bersin that I found interesting.
"The HR Technology Landscape is undergoing tremendous change. Now, with the LMS market under major change, organizations must work hard to build an integrated learning technology strategy which manages formal learning, informal learning, collaboration, social, and talent-driven learning. And this is not easy today."

The conversation went on to say that the search was on for integrated Learning and Talent systems that truly work together. Someone there called it the "Holy Grail" . 


As regular readers will know I work for SumTotal, and at ST we have regular all hands meetings. Late last year at one of these our senior team repeated a demonstration that they had 'performed' at the Total Connections User Conference earlier in the year.

(Not entirely sure if I need to here but regardless I'm going to point out that this blog and the contents of it are my opinions and musings. They should not be thought of as being official communications from SumTotal, or reflecting the companies official opinion or position on any subject)

The demo was very impressive. It started off with the 'CEO' looking at analytics on their iPad and seeing something that troubled them about the talent and succession situation. There was a series of conversations that took people across the Talent Management suite that we have and identified a skill that needed to be rolled out to a number of people in the organization. From there a number of courses in the LMS were identified that tackled that need and the candidates were assigned that training. As one of the courses was built on the mobile platform the final part of the demo was a sales guy pulling up the course on his iPhone to learn it on a flight he was about to take.

I also know that within the training area we have an integrated site that we are using for training on our LM and TM systems. I know this for sure as I helped create the cast of characters who populate this system for training courses.

So when I hear that the search is on for an integrated LM and TM system the voice in my head comes from John Cleese and is saying "We've already got one!"

I'm going to be attending the ASTD ICE in Denver next month. SumTotal will have a nice booth at the expo, and I think that they will have some people there who can take you through the demo and show you how we are integrating TM and LM. If you want to see it let me know. I'll get you over to see them.

If you ask nicely I'll see if I can get them to do it in John Cleese's 'Ridiculus French Accent'

Happy Learning