Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why is Knowledge Sharing important?

Patrick Lambe is Principal Consultant at knowledge management consulting firm Straits Knowledge. He is a brilliant KM blogger and has been writing on topics such as Knowledge Sharing, Communities, Learning, Enterprise 2.0 and so on.

In this 15 minutes video, Patrick tells us what Knowledge Sharing is, and the crucial benefits it brings to organizations.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

List Master

There was a time I was quite messy about my things. They so easily got lost, I had things I forgot I had, couldn't remember what I had to do, forgot my password for blablabla.com, etc etc.
Since then, I decided to remedy those situations by keeping a list for everything I need not forget. The problem raised later when keeping track of all those lists became complicated. The current solution to this is the 13th item in the list below:

1. To do list
2. List of expenses (budget management)
3. List of Planned leaves for the year
4.  List of registered domains
5. Shopping list for the month
6. List of Registered Sites
7. List of Passwords
8. Kitchen inventory
9. List of movies
10. List of books in my library
11. List of must-read books
12. List of birthday dates
13. List of all my Lists!

Do you keep lists too?
Who keeps a 'Before I die' list? :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

My top 5 learning tools

Do I really need to elaborate on that?  Wanna learn something? Just Google it!

Twitter is my favorite learning tool. I call it my professional-development-on-the-fly. People or instances I follow contribute to my daily knowledge acquirement. Links to posts, websites or other materials are tunneled 24-hour a day to my Twitter page. I suggest you not limiting your Twitter usage to entertainment only. I agree its great to follow movie stars and singers but at the end of the day they do not contribute to your development at all.

You really get videos of everything on YouTube. The number one video sharing portal has 13 hours of videos uploaded every minute! Apart from music videos and movie trailers, you are sure to get a great share of training materials as well. Great deal for visual learners, like me.

On Slideshare.net you can browse and/or upload PowerPoint presentations. Most of the topics I looked for up to now were found on this portal. Going through slides is a quicker way to acquire knowledge compared to reading thousand of words in a book. You can either download the slides, share them or embed on your site/blog. On Slideshare you can also get ideas on creating attractive PowerPoint slides for your presentations.

5. LinkedIn Groups
I've joined several groups of interest on LinkedIn where I interact with professionals around the world. Topics or questions raised by anyone in the group are answered and debated by numerous experts in the field. Here you can learn from professional expertize in a collaborative way. Discussions in groups are presented in forum-like structure, which makes them easy to follow and participate.

What is your favorite online learning tool?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Wiki? pt1 (Education)

You might probably know by now that I have a weakness for Wikis. I've been surfing on the Wiki waves for the last 3 years now with no sign of boredom - quite surprising for someone like me who usually dumps already-conquered areas away, looking for new adventures. But Wiki is such a  powerful magnet that  keeps pulling me towards it. Wiki is a major component of Web 2.0 and has numerous applications in various fields. My like for Wikis is however justified and I will walk you through three fields where Wikis can be used.

1. Wiki as a learning/teaching tool.

In this connected world, our students have change radically. Bearing an open mind towards technology, they embrace it and never miss an opportunity to venture with new online tools. Introducing a Wiki in an educational environment is undoubtedly a brilliant way to engage students thus enhancing the learning process.

  • Very often when asked to create a website for a class project students freak out and have to rely on others with knowledge of  HTML and web editors tools. Using a Wiki brings this task to as easy as pie. The Wiki syntax is simple to learn and students can spend more time on the contents rather than learning how to code webpages.
  • Imagine an assignment when you have to collaborate on a single topic and having to push the same word document to everyone in the group one by one waiting for each to append with new elements. With a Wiki group work has never been so straightforward. Through a simple 'edit' button, anyone can change the content via a simple web browser. Thus, the webpage keeps everyone updated at all times without waiting for the latest version of the document to come back.  This is a time saving factor in the sense that duplicate ideas are quickly dealt with.
  • Teachers find it a great way to track the progress of their students in given assignments. The history page gives more than just an overview of the participation of the students in a given group work. It helps track down the contribution of everyone in the paper. Wiki also allows the teacher to see if a student is going off track and help him by editing and/or suggesting new ideas or other resources.

Next >>>  2. A great collaborative and communication tool.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Learning to Learn

Hi there!

This mind-map will guide you through the process of learning. There is unfortunately no shortcut and every step is important. I created this mindmap using a smokin' online tool called SpicyNodes. Here is what they say: "SpicyNodes is fun because it is visually engaging, intuitive, and gratifying to visitors." And I think the product speaks for itself. Try it on your website or blog, or like me to mindmap and convert knowledge into visually enhanced diagrams.

Source: http://home.clara.net/rod.beavon/learning.htm accessed on 12 February 2009

Monday, April 5, 2010

Linking Memory Method - Never forget a shopping list

I finally decided to finish and post this article - which stayed way to long in my drafts. Lemme present you a really cool technique to improve your memory, as well as to impress your friends by remembering ANY list for a whole lifetime. Yes this is possible and am gonna prove it to you right now ;)

How would you do if I gave you a list of 25 objects and 5 minutes to remember them? And write them back in the same sequential order presented? I will illustrate the technique by showing you I would proceed with the following list of 6 objects: Ball, Monitor, Table, Motocycle, Pizza, Lightbulb.
The Linking Memory Method first consists of finding visual metaphors for the items to remember. Easy, we all know what these look like, don't we? So, converting the words into images in our minds should be give us something like that:
Secondly, we have to make association with the above images. We'll  take the first image and associate it with second one, the second one to the third one.. until we reach the end of the list. Here you have to let your imagination run free. Let the images sing, dance, swim, fly, grow out of proportion or become as small as ants.

Lets associate the ball to the monitor. We can imagine a football flying at full speed crashing into a monitor. The images in our head should be real like, as if we were seeing it in front of us.
Next is the table which we have to associate with the monitor. We can think of a VERY VERY big screen which is too big for the table on which it is laid on. And as a result, one of the table's foot breaks.
You should not spend a lot of time thinking about the scene. Usually the first which comes in your mind is the best one.
We continue on with the motorcycle and the table. We can visualize a top sport motorcycle but as small as an  ant trying to pull a table down. Next is the motorcycle and the Pizza where we can think of a disgusting pizza being delivered or a motorcycle sliding because of a pizza lying on the screens. Lastly we can imagine hundreds of bulbs as ingredients dancing in a large pizza.

Be creative as much as possible. It is proven that the more ridiculous and funny things are, the easier it becomes for remembering them. So, do not hesitate to be illogical. Compared to Rote Method of Memorization (which is the process of memorizing by repetition), Linking Memory is most effective.
Using this technique frequently will help you develop a new type of out of the box thinking and above all recall things in a new manner.

Easy? What did I tell you :) Trust me, you only have to practice this method a few times to enjoy a great memory. It can also be applied to memorizing many more stuffs and above all its fun! As for me, if ever we meet in a supermarket with my shopping cart full, it doesn't mean I am buying anything. I got my shopping list memorized already at home.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My E-Learning Wishlist

Just like kids prepare their wish list for x-mas, I've come up with a wish list of the E-learning tools I would like to have and work with. Prices are so high to afford by individuals that I've sticked to using them in either demo or trial versions, at least for the time being..

Mini Disclaimer: I am not associated or represent to any of the companies listed below and this article is in no way a marketing for the products.

First of the list is Adobe with its range of state-of-art tools used to produce great eLearning solutions. Starting from authoring tools, Elearning solutions, real-time collaboration to effective curriculum management, Adobe has them all.

1. Adobe Connect pro: Adobe provides Virtual Learning sessions with this awesome product. Training can be delivered anywhere and anytime. Learners are presented, through their web browser, an interactive content where they can participate in learning like they would in an instructor-led classroom.

2. Adobe Captivate: Packed with powerful features such as scenario simulations, quizzes and other interactive exercises, this software helps you rapidly author professional eLearning content. You can also produce screencasts, screen recording and demos, and other presentations with Captivate.

3. Adobe Presenter 7: With Presenter you can create stunning and complete presentations and self-paced courses. Videos and audios can also be easily integrated.

4. Articulate Presenter 09: Bearing the same functions as the Adobe one, powerful flash content can be generated from powerpoint.

5. Articulate Engage 09: Learners will love E-learning courses created with Engage. It has the ability to create stunning interations turning views into active learners.

6. Articulate Online: This is a great tool to track how learners interact with the E-Learning courses, assessments and presentations.

7. Snagit: A cool Screen Capture application such as Snagit will permitg screen capture with some flexible options such as arrows, speech bubbles and few fancy effects.

8. Microphone: A 100Mhz-16KHz desktop microphone such as the Logitech 980186-0403 silver one.

9.Web cam: I want a web cam with VGA sensor, 1.3mp max image resolution with a video capture resolution of 800 x 600 and a frame rate of 30fps. The Creative Live! Cam Video IM Pro 0.3 M Effective Pixels USB 2.0 WebCam will do.

10.Free and Faster Internet access: Last but not the least I wish I had a 2GB internet connectivity at home and access to SNS sites at work.

I think that would be all for now. Did I forget something?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Use a CPD to boost your Professional and Personal Development

Since the last 2 years, after the completion of my Masters Degree, my personal and professional development have known very little or insignificant progress. This is unfortunately what I can deduct following a self-assessment performed around 3 months ago. Still, I've been constantly reading so many articles and books, been through so many tutorials and printed so many pages of the internet..And if you ask what did I learn last November I would be in the incapacity to answer you. Last year, same time I mastered CMDB and a question on the subject today may echo like: 'Yeah I've seen that somewhere.'

So if you people have the same problem as me, its time you also learn the secret of Continuing Professional Development aka CPD.

What is a CPD?

A CPD is one of the best tools used nowadays to manage your learning and growth.Its about capturing learning experiences and providing a framework for broadening of professional knowledge. It also helps assess our current level and identify the skills needed to undertake our duties throughout our career.
It is indeed true to say that we learn continuously from our day to day experiences and other structured studies. But a CPD provides a proactive approach to professional development than just wait for knowledge to come towards us.
The CPD should state where you are now and what you want to achieve. 
I believe that as Professionals we are responsible for our own professional development and we should ensure that we progress to keep up with the rapidly evolving business world.

Planning a CPD
  • The initial step to do is to carry out a SWOT analysis on yourself. What are  you strengths and weaknesses? Identify the opportunities and threats that you may encounter.
  • The second step is the planning. Set your goals and its priorities. Think of cost and time implications if any and set a realistic time frame. And don't forget to take your SWOT analysis into consideration when planning.
  • In the Development stage, design and build up a CPD record card to manage your learning as per your training needs. Being a personal activity most of the time, the log should be how you want it to be. It is a flexible process yet powerful. Use your imagination as far and possible to create a CPD card aligned with your learning style.
  • The final phase is the evaluation one. This is where you reflect on what you  have learned and assess your gains and other practical benefits. Its now time to think whether knowledge acquired has been applied and where.

The Record Card

A very simple example of a CPD record card is shown below.

All knowledge acquired should be captured: Education in any form, workshops attended, trainings, private study, structured reading and so on.
Scholarly works have also shown that the process of reflecting on the card has the great capability of moving knowledge from our short-term to long-term memory.

Benefits of using a CPD
  • Value each learning experience and make the most of them.
  • Be more confident as you see your learning track and progression.
  • Increase in motivation to acquire more knowledge.
  • Can be used as a Portfolio and presented to future employers as evidence.
  • Identify opportunities for career development and design a path to achieve objectives
  • Enjoy all the benefits of Reflective Learning. (Will be covered later)

Being committed to a CPD will ensure your lifetime employability in this competitive work environment. It helps both the individual and the business and can prove effective in its strategy.
Come on. Back to learning now and show me your CPD.

1. Influencing Information Acting, 2010. Continuing Professional Development. Available at: http://www.agi.org.uk/pooled/articles/BF_PSART/view.asp?Q=BF_PSART_195054
2. CIPD, 2010. Benefits of CPD Available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/cpd/benefitscpd.htm
3. Graham Guest, 2010. CPD and Lifelong Learning. Availalbe at: http://sites.google.com/site/gastiz/cpdandlifelonglearning
4. University of Plymouth, 2010. CPD for individuals, employers & staff. Available at:http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=10320
5. The British Computer Society, 2009. Continuing Professional Development. Available at: BCS - Young Professional Group
6. The CPD Certification Service, 2010. CPD and Individual Needs. Available at: http://www.cpduk.co.uk/aboutcpd/whatiscpd.htm

Monday, February 22, 2010

Who wants to learn creole?

We are in the middle of some major torments in our local educational sector. One of the big buzz of the moment is the introduction of  the Mauritian 'Creole' as a subject in our school curriculum. We can hear/read debates almost everyday on our radio stations and newspapers.
The first part of the debate, which finally was not debated as almost everybody agreed on the matter, consisted of the making use of Creole as a medium to teach in schools. Though officially it should not be the case, both primary and secondary teachers have been using creole as a medium to instruct in their classrooms since always. I wonder why the FCM (Federation Creoles Mauriciens) claimed that the introduction of creole could reduce rate of failures.
As a witness of that system I think there's nothing more logical than to teach a learner in his own mother tongue. Mathematics and Science subjects cannot be taught in a languages that a learner hasn't properly grasped we all agree.

"If the Chinese spoke English they would have conquered the world already by now."

But what is totally irrational in my opinion (and of many others too) is having Creole as taught subject in schools.
If someone could be tell me how this is going to benefit someone or the country please don't hesitate! Last week I read from somewhere that Mauritius is the only country where English is losing ground. Needless to stress on the ways English language breaks down economic barriers within countries. If the Chinese spoke English they would have conquered the world already by now.

Lets say we have accepted Creole  in our curriculum. Creole and French being highly linked we will be confused when writing in both languages. This will result in higher failure rates in both subjects. Writing the following sentence in French: "Il faut BWAR beaucoup d'eau" is definitely wrong. But writing in Creole: " Bizin boire de lo" can be wrong too because here the word 'boire' is French-written. Poor student.
Creole being an ever-mutating language, I find it hard to standardize words, grammar an expressions. Different populations from different regions and backgrounds speak differently.
Consider the following essay of this guy from the suburbs: 

"En zourner bord la mer.
Moi ek en de melar decide pou dessan bord la plaz pou kass en yen. Sa zour la soleil p crass difer mover kaliter. Mo pass bazar mo tap en dipain ek so gato pima pou nu manzer la zourner. La boisson mo camouad Zorz pou amener. Dresser partou."

I stop here. FCM please correct this.

If the country needs to move forward we should instead accentuate on other languages which will permit us to communicate more efficiently with foreign countries. It has been brought to my attention that mandarin is gaining popularity in schools. Do you know why? Well learning mandarin will enable us to do business with China and this will prove profitable to the country of course. Learn Hindi, learn Mandarin, learn Italian.
Being a small island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius's dependency on developed countries is very high and we should double our efforts to commerce with those countries.

Where will Creole lead us? Which job are we gonna get with Creole at A-level? What further studies can we expect after that?
I asked my friends from the Creole community about their views. Well most of them speak French with their children at home. Some send their kids to private English-medium or French schools.
This minority who are fighting an absurd battle in reality haven't even identified at all the root problem.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Web - Learning Relationship

The moment someone connects to the web he starts learning! It has been found that although not specifically designed for learning, web applications are used to empower learners and create unprecedent learning opportunities. As computer technology becomes less frightening to larger numbers of people, the number of surfers/learners grow. The internet technology, a decade ago, had direct impact on commerce, media and business in general but little coverage on education. Things have changed now. Teachers more and more explore the potential web tools such as blogs, social networking services, media tools, feeds etc to enhance education and create new learning experiences. This is where you will find guys like Avinash Oojorah and myself unleashing our Elearning superpowers to make this change happen in Mauritius :))

However, an informal survey conducted with a few secondary school teachers in Mauritius reveals the latter do not make or make very litte use of technology to make students learn. The most famous tools used being Email and PowerPoint. But in 2010  students in our country expect much more than that. Many spend most of their free time online: social networking, chatting and exploring the web. Having them to learn within that time frame without being offline is the challenge for many educators nowadays.
Waiting for the next generation of teachers who will most probably make more use of  IT to instruct is definitely too far away. Thats why it is essential to act now to stop the widening gap between the way Mauritian students acquire knowledge and those from developed countries