Looking Back On 2015

Reflecting on Life

This is my obligatory end of the year post reflecting on my year in 2015. It’s not really obligatory of course, but it’s fun to look back at all my posts and reflect. Some of my posts from earlier in the year seem so old by the time the end of the year rolls around so it’s almost necessary to look back on them.

So here it goes, each post from the year and a brief reflection on that post.

Learning From Others — I had created the hashtag #LrnToday to share what I’m learning about and to learn from others. This post was a reflection on how the hashtag had done, which I deemed a success and a failure, depending on how you look at it.

At the time I also wrote about Cynefin and my intent and wish to learn more about it. If following up on my earlier desire to learn something were meant success or failure, then I failed. I did not learn much more about Cynefin all year. It is now back on my radar so maybe I can follow through with that one.

Social Learning Has Never Been About a Single Tool — The original article I had written this about has since been moved/removed/retired (not sure which one) but it was rightfully done because it was off on pretty much everything. It’s hard to accurately reflect on this post without knowing exactly what the article it was about said. I do know it talked about social learning being a flop (but in what regard that gets a bit murky).

Social learning can’t flop, in fact it can only make a bigger come back because it’s always been the way humans learn. It’s only a matter of time for organizations to realize that the function of training (if you must, learning) should not be held by one department.

When You’re Feeling Unmotivated — I still haven’t written the post that I was feeling unmotivated about, but it eventually pushed me to clean up my idea pad later in the year. I think the answer to lack of motivation to learn something is to find out if it’s even necessary.

I like to ask “what’s the least I can do for you?” That way I don’t overdo things and I’m not boring people with unnecessary things. Just what they need, when they need it, right?

Communities of Inquiry — This was one of my first posts for a cMOOC I was taking, and one term from the course that I (along with others) was very confused about. I eventually determined that a community of inquiry is similar to the practice I had in my graduate program. Each week there were questions posed, we had to make a post answering those questions and then reply to others posts. It created a discussion about the topic, even if a bit forced.

The Things We Can Do With Crowdsourcing Are Limitless (But Hard) — I started a solid four-day posting extravaganza with this post. This was again for the cMOOC I was taking, and I decided to write on each topic instead of just one. The ingredients for crowdsourcing are widely applicable to any group or anything with just a few word changes.

The question I was left with (and still remain with) is how it can be used by organizations to accomplish their goals. I guess I’m just waiting for that issue to arise that I think crowdsourcing would be a good solution for.

Idea Management and Design – You Mean PKM? — This was a new term to me, but it turns out to closely follow a term that I was already familiar with, PKM. There were a few differences though, specifically around ideas being managed by a crowd. I thought this could be beneficial, but also could lend itself to group think which can have very unpredictable outcomes.

Communities of Practice Need Some Practice — Since learning more about communities of practice in my cMOOC, I’ve encountered them a number of times within the organization I work. I defined a CoP I had been as a failure, and I think it’s true because the two things that must be present for a CoP to be successful is interaction and regularly.

So, a group with a common interest that interacts regularly is a CoP even if they only meet formally on occasion. If a group meets on occasion but never really interacts, it’s not a CoP.

Work Out Loud – Don’t Just Share What You Did — This is one of my favorite topics and is still today. When creating any product, it’s important for at least certain people to see the progress. I was reminded of my analogy about the chef which is a good one. You don’t just want to show someone a finished product and hope they like it, you want to know they like it before you’ve done too much work.

You Should Comment More — My sentiment remains the same on this one but it is a good reminder to make the effort to comment. It’s important for you and important for the writer.

For Fear of Failure — I think this was one of my more popular posts all year, if not from views then from the interactions I got in the comments. Impostor syndrome is one that I didn’t mention, but it’s absolutely something that could cause a fear of failure. It’s easy to be comfortable, it’s easy not to fail there, but it’s not a place you can grow.

Make Someone’s Life Easier — Whatever you can do to make someone’s job, life, day easier, do it. I started to touch on the learning culture/training culture differences in this article and just recently I wrote a more in-depth post on that topic.

Attention Spans Are Getting Shorter — Around this time there were a lot of articles about how people’s attention spans are getting shorter. In fact, it says they’re now shorter than a gold-fish attention span.

I argued against this premise because I don’t thin they’re talking about attention spans at all. Our attention spans are as long as ever for quality content, but they’re more selective than ever for terrible content.

What I’m Working On — I was working on a lot of things at this time, and it’s changed a lot. My wife’s project never really worked out too well and I’ve blogged for recreation more than anything on my site. I have secured a few consulting jobs since then but nothing substantial, just very interesting, enlightening, and fun.

Don’t Control Knowledge, Let the Base Free — If a knowledge base is to be truly helpful, it needs to be open for more than a few to edit. I’ve seen knowledge bases fall into disrepair by how overwhelming they can get for a small group. That brought me to the conclusion that a wiki is the better way to go.

Social Awareness Program For Instructional Design Degree — I started my consulting job here and was reflecting on how it fit into my goal for enabling people to direct their own learning. Even though the program is a higher education program, which is seen as formal, I felt it gave me the opportunity to explore things I wouldn’t otherwise have. A graduate program is only good if it allows you to explore within a certain framework, and this one did that for me.

Are You Appy? — There are some major things to consider when deciding if a web app or a mobile app is the right choice for you, I try to cover some of those considerations in this post. I also proposed some questions to ask to decide what the best option is. Goofy title, important content to consider.

Modeling a Training Framework —The dangers of frameworks and their unique ability to put you in the wrong place because of their rigidity. If the framework was not the be adhered to strictly, then what is it’s purpose in the first place? I’m not sure if I’ve experienced a framework that is helpful in guiding or solving a problem.

Unplug — Everybody gets to decide what their own level of unplugged is. Unfortunately, my definition of unplugged is not the same as my wife’s. Sometimes we need to look to others to let them define what unplugged is for us.

Increasing Social Awareness in Higher Education — Here I am back at it writing about my consulting job. At the time it didn’t seem like I covered a lot of ground because I was so close to everything, but now looking back on it, I accomplished a lot and there are still accomplishments being made. I hope I was seen as a good consultant and one whose work is carried on beyond my role. If what I put together and organized didn’t get carried on, I think that reflects poorly on the work I did. Sometimes it’s not easy to get an answer on how things have gone though.

Employees Avoiding Corporate Barriers — Give me a clear path to get my work done and the tools I need to do it. If I’m not given that, I’m going to find a way around the barriers and the results might not be good. It’s still something I experience every-day and see others going around various organization barriers.

What Sharing Ideas At Work Does For Us — This one sums up in a concise way the benefits of working out loud and learning out loud. This topic will continue to be an interest of mine and it’s something I’d like to see organization wide. In a geographically distributed workplace, it’s necessary to give employees the right tools to take advantage of working out loud.

Going To Work After Vacation – My Slow Path Back — I took a 2 week vacation where I was very unplugged but it took me a lot longer than 2 weeks to get back on my path of blog posts. It helped me get back by writing about how my slow path back worked out.

Join Me And Keep Ideas From Fading Away — I invited others to join me in cleaning up their ideas and streamlining their process of turning ideas into more in-depth writing. Apparently nobody else had the same problem as me, but I was still successful in cleaning up some of my old ideas.

The (1) Thing(s) Successful People Do First Thing In The Morning — Success is determined by you and for you only. All the articles that talk about what successful people to in the morning is useless to anybody. Even if it were good information, a morning routine hardly determines success. The most important thing to take out of this is that success is determined by you only and you can be successful no matter what you do with your life, as long as you tell yourself you are successful.

3 Tips For Learning Online — I wrote 3 tips for a larger article with 101 tips from the experts for learning online. I decided to go a bit more in depth with the 3 I provided.

Training Culture vs Learning Culture – A Mind Shift — Many organizations confuse a training culture with a learning culture. While training cultures are more common, learning cultures are more talked about. This is a shift that needs to be made in our minds and in all organizations. We don’t want training, we want learning that translates into performance.

Great Minds Think Alike — This one doesn’t really need much reflection because I just wrote it. The moral here is that great minds don’t think alike, that’s what makes them great.

Closing It Out

Another year has gone, and an even better year blogging has happened. I wrote more posts this year than I’ve ever written in a year and I’ve had some great discussions with readers.

I will continue to enjoy having this place on the web for me to write about my thoughts, experiences, and all those odd little things I run across in my work life. I’m looking forward to 2016 and am hoping for big things. It takes more than hoping though, so I’m also planning on working hard to make those big things happen.