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

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Writer's Blog: Striking Writers Head to Capitol Hill The writer's strike continues, though negotiations have started once again. Meanwhile, the writers went and had a mock debate in Washington D.C. toWriter's Blog: Striking Writers Head to Capitol Hill

An extremely long time after I started it, I just finished Ex Machina's 50 issue run. Brian K. Vaughn puts on a heck of a story. This is one of thoseThe Colors of Control: Ex Machina

I don't follow football. At all. Never have. Most of the time I'm surprised to learn that the Super Bowl is on. I used to appreciate the commercials and watched mostlyWhy I loved last night's Super Bowl

So here we have week 4 of Stargate Universe and week 3 of Sanctuary. As I mentioned last week, on SGU they're heading for a close encounter with a star. It'sSyFy shows reviews: SGU and Sanctuary

I've always loved drums. I can't remember a time when I wasn't "drumming." I put that in quotes because I've rarely actually had a drum at my disposal. I've beatDrum roll, please!

In my last post I asked for some help coming up with films for my annual New Years Eve triple feature. I got some great responses (though very few actuallyReview: New Years Eve triple feature

J. Michael Straczynski - B5:TLT Pre-Production - Babylon5scripts.com Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, Disc 1 has now finished principle photography. B5:TLT is a series of Direct-to-DVD stories that focus on aNew Babylon 5 finishes principle photography

Given my erratic posting schedule lately no one would probably notice the hole, but I'm going where the internet doesn't reach for a few days so there won't be anyThe Sounds of Silence

Stardust looked great from the trailers. Some really big names added to the attraction (Claire Danes, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfieffer, Peter O'Toole, Ricky Gervais). Neil Gaiman as the writer ofReview: Stardust

My friend and I first saw this movie in the mid-eighties on the recommendation of a video store clerk. That was probably the best tip we ever got from aReview: Sleuth

Last week I started doing something I hardly ever do - I started reading a non-fiction book. Even more amazingly, it's an auto-biography. That's a genre I almost never delveC.S. Lewis on living by hope

After a troubled history with Disney, 20th Century Fox has picked up the Narnia series and is moving forward. This December we'll be treated to the next installment in theBack to Narnia with a new trailer, and a 2010 movie update

A few posts back, we got into a bit of a discussion that significantly hinged on fair use. I mentioned that I had a fair use reference but didn't haveFair Use

JMSNews J. Michael Straczynski, the creator/writer/producer of Babylon 5 and Crusade, has been writing for television for twenty years. He's been pretty successful at it, too. He doesn't just write forJMS deluged with attention

When I went to college, I hung out with a bunch of music majors. I also hung out with a bunch of geeks. Sometimes those were the same people. IDrinking games for geeky music majors - Tuesday TubeWatch

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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