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Creative swiping: what would you take?

Over the course of a single working day, keep an eye out for examples of good practice wherever you may find them.

During a commute, reading a newspaper, magazine or journal, observing ‘things’ (tangible products) in action or experiencing some service delivery.

How could any of these be adapted to suit your organisation?

Try and discover a good idea that could be adapted to suit your organisation from the experiences of as many of the following as you can:

A member of your family (at work or school or wherever)
A friend
A colleague
A supplier
A competitor
A customer

  • Tesco customer suggestions and response board
  • Free content on Facebook; pay for the piece of paper.
  • OMU plasticated wall for planning
  • Electronic sign in at Doctor’s Surgery
  • Barcode entry to Gamesmaker Training
  • Rotating three lanes at swimming club so each in turn gets the attention of the coach.
  • Self-service check-out at WHSmith, Victoria Yo Sushi conveyor-belt food servings
  • Social Media Marketing eLearning from MMC learning
  • Keeping a diary

What has anyone else come across?

The perfect Ger-man, British Citizen, Strongman entrepreneur


I find as I read David Waller’s biography of strongman Eugen Sandow that its relevance a century on is profound: it touches on fame, fortune and celebrity, advertising, entrepreneurship, showmanship, self-publicity, branding and networking, as well as British Empire and our relations with Europe, The US and the ‘colonies’.

No doubt Sandow would have done movies (and appears in a pre-1900clip). He is part Arnold Schwarzenegger, part Simon Cowell or Rod Hull and Emu both Michael Ballentine and Richard Branson. It’s a read not merely for those who operate leisure centres and gyms, but also successful athletes and their agents, franchisees, and soft drinks companies, ad and PR agents and events companies. You’ve got to exploit what you’ve got while you have your admirers.

It should even interest body builders, sports coaches and anyone whose lifestyle includes fitness. And add in the British Army for good measure.

Homosexuality, parenting, the state of the nation’s health and what today would be called ‘wellness’. With Waller there is always the sense of a well read mind and a well exercised pen. I happen to have read HGWell’s Tono-Bungay, but this to me suggests that David is as much an historian as an English scholar, as he does in EH Carr’s words ‘read on a period until you can hear its people speak’. The context of profound ante-German sentiment leading up to The Great War is touched upon and handled well. Indeed, there are occasional phrases or words than give the sense that the author is sitting in his study in his Edwardian smoking Jacket smoking a cigar.

This and I’ve added half a dozen new words to my vocabulary.

Color – coming to an app store near you

Color – coming to an app store near you.

This will appeal to my 12 and 14 year olds. And my many nephews and nieces. The spin in multivisual circles.

We can’t help but think in metaphors; it’s what makes us human

It could be the subject of of PhD Thesis.

Metaphor is the essence of learning, of knowledge transfer, of transmitting ideas, of ideas themselves, of innovation and creativity.

Reading Sfard and various other authors/academics and philosophers … and a neuroscientist I draw my own conclusions in relation to learning in general and e-learning in particular.

The first image is from Gareth Morgan. The explanation of how metaphor is used, and potentially abused (or simply confused) is clear. ‘Man is a lion. He is a lion because he is brave.’

We permit poetic licence

We then move on to the idea of what I am calling (for want of a metaphor)

Stage 1 Learning, that necessary first step where the person learning needs to acquire ‘stuff,’ where knowledge is imparted or experienced.

This might be a lecture, a talk, a video, a book. Acquisition for me is not the metaphor, it is the description of what is occurring. I cannot see ‘acquisition.’ I can see someone at a supermarket check-out ‘acquiring’ goods, I can even visualise the ‘sausage machine’ concept/cartoon of information/knowledge being ground out of books and deposited in a person’s head.

Moving on to Stage 2 Learning (though it could be any stage 2 through to infinity) we have a tool of learning, ‘participation.’

Here, once again, I understand an adjective describing actual participation, as demonstrated in the John Seely Brown lecture, of students working together at a table (round of course), with those on the ‘periphery’ taking part tangentially while those in the middle are the primary ‘actors.’ THIS is learning in the Congo Rain Forest to get honey from the top of a tree, this is learning above the Arctic Circle to cut blow-holes to harpoon seals … this is how ‘man’ has always learned.  a) where’s the new thinking? b) is ‘participation’ a metaphor, or simple an adjective?

For me participation is the end of term play, the Christmas Panto, working on a student newspaper, blog or TV magazine show.

To use metaphor suggests improving communication of ideas and doing so in a persuasive and memorable way.

There are clichéd metaphors

They lose currency through over use. Educators appear to be stuck in a rut on this one, regurgitating old ideas.


Brown, J.S., Collins.A., Duguid, P., (1989) Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning. Educational Researcher, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan. – Feb., 1989), pp. 32-42 American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176008 . Accessed: 05/03/2011 13:10

Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).

Sfard, A. (1998) ‘On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one’, Educational Researcher, vol.27, no.2, pp.4–13; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176193 (last accessed 10 December 2010).

The feeding frenzy of our digitised world – a mobile maelstrom of information overload

There is something of a feeding frenzy when it comes to consumption of digitised and other media; there’s a constant maelstrom of activity that engenders adapted behaviour by those who indulge it.

The answer is a hobby!

‘How can anyone become a thinker if he does not spend at least a third of the day withou passions, people and books?’ Asked Neeitzsche.

Does racing a Fireball count? Does challenging yourself to ski an unchartered couloir on skiis? Or does these mean yoga and meditation?

All I can manage to escape at present is teaching and coaching swimming. It engages much of my brain … though even here, if I am dreaming up a mobile-learning course for fellow teachers, or how to engage my athletes with the sessions they are doing there is no escape.

Swimming, sailing, painting, cooking, soccer … learning a musical instrument, and still, reading, which might be a book, but could be an e-reader.

I take the view that my education is life-long, sounds like a cliche, but I never chose to divorce myself from needing or wanting to learn more after university. Some of the habits of learning require reading, chunking of information and developing it in different ‘sizes’ for your own consumption, let alone for others.

Are we not, or have we not, simply created many different entry routes into a subject? From a piece on the radio or in a paper, or in a blog or emailed to us, that leads to something on iPlayer, or on terrestrial TV … or Freeview, that can be read about in popular journals (print or not), or academic … and if there is interest taken up as a course at a point of entry of your choosing?

Does this suggest anything to you?

My thinking is to play to what is possible, making information available in a multitude of sizes and forms. Suddenly I feel like a brand manager for Kit-Kat biscuits 😦 Though there is much more educators should be learning from commerce.

(I was an advertising agency account manager for Kit-Kat, Polo, Walnut-Whip and Dairy Box in a former, distance life)

Towards Maturity – in THREE STEPS, Review, Compare, Act

Theatre 1

Laura Overton opened by saying she’ll try to give Fusion Knowledge a run for their money. She competes for the first ten minutes with Fusion Knowledge whose stand is like a Cuckoo’s egg in this corner of Learning Technologies 2011.

This is the third time a speaker has stoically acknowledged the competition (volume, noise of other speakers and from stands).

This is something for Learning Technologies to resolve.

Between my notes, taking this pictures and the distractions of the Fusion stand I now wished I too had opened up a Flip and grabbed the seminar. I struggling with my cryptic notes.

These THREE STEPS, Review, Compare, Act (i.e. benchmark then act) are a digest from 90 steps identified that I look forward to reviewing.

These 90 are group intoned six main ‘work streams’ Laura explained:

  1. Defining Need
  2. Learner Context
  3. Work Context
  4. Building Capability
  5. Ensuring Engagement
  6. Demonstrate Value

Benchmarking is based on comparing many business (was the gigure 1200?). With my sports interest I liken this to how in swimming (UK) every year benchmark standards in all events in all age groups, by gender at County, Regional and National levels are recalibrated.

And this. Which strikes me as a poor way to show a Bell Curve, the Diffusion of Innovations ‘S’ curve showing early to late adopters, with laggards here shown as ‘novices.’

and this which desires that business aspire to entire the Top Quartile (though if all businesses did so wouldn’t the way in which the scale is measured simply shift i.e. there can only be businesses in the Top Quartile as long as there are others in each of the others. I’m sure someone who is doing a Maths degree will kindly step in and explain this too me. I’ll ask Laura Overton too as she was very, very keen for people to fire questions in her direction.

Here we have the collated findings from a brief survey done with companies that the audience were asked to do too. I took an inside view of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and with only three exceptions gave them a 1 out of 9, suggestions that on this benchmark they are wofully behind the rest of the world. I’d can see the value of every company doing this in order to gauge how they compare and therefore how fit they are to compete using advanced learning & development resources.

Perhaps there is a case for making a digital record of things we experience for later appraisal.

I appreciate entirely the value of benchmarking. This depends on the quality, scale and currency of the data. I trust that in a market such as this it will be up to date.

If I can locate those who recorded this even on their Flip cameras, or view it as a podcast courtesy of Learning Technologies I will do so. I’ll also add here any correspondence I have with Laura Overton.


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