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I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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The Tech Effect | LeadershipJournal.net The issues of how - and whether - to integrate technology into training go beyond the borders of corporate training or academia. The same issues confrontMedia and technology issues for learning and persuasion

I think it's official: I'm addicted to Kathy Sierra's blog. Yesterday she made a great (if a tad long) summary of some pretty basic points she made earlier in the yearInstructional Design reminders

I thought I'd give the site a new look, so I went searching for a new theme. I'm not entirely sold on this one yet, but I'm giving it aNew theme

Out of the ashes of our future destruction, a new hero has been born. Gabriel Bright. Beacon of hope. Defender of justice. Burdened, as are we all, with the knowledgeThe Birth of Gabriel Bright - DC Universe

(Okay, there is a lot of YouTube in this post. I got a little carried away. If you're not seeing it 'cause your IT department is lame, come back whenMTV Yearbook - where does it take you?

Looks like the footage I pointed to earlier had been edited to omit the true cause of the scale model X-Wing's demise. Here's the real, unedited, footage. [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/QgF9hBL-CuA" width="425" height="350"X-wing follow-up: the real story

In Minority Report, Tom Cruise's character was able to interact with a very cool looking computer desktop that he could manipulate with special gloves just by waving his hands around. [captionTuesday TubeWatch: Minority Report to Sixth Sense to PHUD - Interface Advancement and Integration

I've been excited and worried about this one for a long time. Green Lantern is an exceptionally hard character to pull off in live-action. More than most other super-heroes, theGreen Lantern - first trailer

Were you paying attention in those psychology classes? Do you remember the experiments where a rat was trained to press a lever to get food? It's amazing how relevant experiments on ratsGrilled cheese and the science of successive approximation

I don't have it in me to write everything I think about this movie right now, but I wanted to get something down. Just like Spider-man 2, this sequel takes anPseudo-Review: The Dark Knight

I know you didn't notice, but I did. This site was down for about 20 hours due to a glitch that showed I had overspent my bandwidth allocation. I hadn't,We're back, and better than ever in "We're back, and better than ever!"

Kilmer plans Genius return - Movie news - Movies - Virgin.net Okay, Real Genius was a pretty funny Val Kilmer movie. For the 80's. Making a sequel 20 years later... notA not-so-Genius move

A couple of days ago I received a coupon in my email for a free pizza from a local pizzeria. It was a one day deal - a free medium pizza"Free Pizza!!" or "How to completely bungle a marketing campaign"

Last year, I reviewed the first two seasons of the revived Doctor Who series. At the time, I said the second season finale out-did the first's, and that was aReview: Doctor Who 2007

Pennsylvania Gas Prices - Find Cheap Gas Prices in Pennsylvania Now this is a useful site (assuming you live in PA, anyway). Not only can you find the lowest (and highest) gasPennsylvania Gas Prices - Find Cheap Gas Prices in Pennsylvania

America’s schools ineffective? Challenges for corporate learning

Parkin’s Lot: Stupid in America

Godfrey Parkin takes the notion (supported by a study) that America’s public schools, on average, produce substandard education, and applies it to corporate environments.

As he says, the condemnation of America’s school system is nothing new. I’ve heard it all my life. In fact, my friends even joke about understanding things “despite our public school education.” The study lists the usual reasons: lack of funding, teacher-student ratios, lack of teacher effectiveness measurement, etc.

One interesting point he makes about funding that I hadn’t heard before:

. . . there is evidence to show that more money often leads to poorer performance – schools tend to spend budget increases on offices, sports facilities, computers, security systems and so on, rather than on better teachers and better educational processes. By contrast, smaller low-budget schools led by passionate educators who have no computers, gyms, or even janitors are producing exceptional results.

Though sad, that makes sense to me. When you don’t have money for the bells and whistles, you focus on the essentials.

Here’s the best part of his post, though:

I don’t buy the argument that the blame for the dumbing-down of America’s youth falls exclusively on the educational system. It seems clear to me that culture, particularly the culture in the family, has failed to instill a strong enough veneration for learning and corresponding intellectual curiosity. Parents abdicate responsibility for educating their kids, particularly when they get a little difficult in their early teens. It is easier to concoct a host of external reasons for a child’s learning problems than to acknowledge personal failure. But learning takes place within an evolving ecosystem, not in isolated instances.

Companies make the same mistake – they think that performance problems should be solved by training, and if that doesn’t work, training gets the blame. How many times do we hear trainers bemoan the fact that the environment to which trainees return almost guarantees that what was learned will never be reinforced or applied? It was only after I left school that I understood the real purpose of homework was not to keep me from going fishing, but to get my parents engaged in the education process. We should do more to integrate learning with the workplace and engage managers and the immediate “work family” in supporting the ongoing development of new skills. Blended learning should blend what happens in class or online with what happens back at work, and that means getting the learners’ immediate colleagues engaged as a support network.

Corporate training departments need to find ways to get more informal learning happening in their organizations. The biggest problem with that, though, is measuring it so they can justify their existence (and I firmly believe they do need to exist). Tough to pull off.

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