Archives For Change

For a learning theorist and Professor there are few things more invigorating than working with a group of highly motivated learners. My long time colleague and friend Dr. Craig Montgomerie often asks me to join his online Athabasca University class MDDE 610: Survey of Current Educational Technology Applications to provide his students the opportunity engage with a professional like myself who has extensive experience in promoting the use of Educational Technology.

In the MDDE webinar for November 18, 2014 titled Leading learning and technological change we focused on the most difficult challenges in any organizational change — dealing with an organization’s culture and implementing strategies that require a cultural shift. Through examining a case study of the ACU Connected Mobile Learning Initiative we explored how addressing the following four key principles increase your chances of success significantly:

  1. Start with Why
  2. Identify and engage key influencers
  3. Install an effective execution strategy
  4. Enlist and empower self-differentiated leaders

We also analyzed how ignoring even one of these principles can contribute to failure and how these principles are currently being used in new E-learning strategy at BCIT.

Webinar slide deck – MDDE 610 Nov 2014.pdf

The following resources were mentioned or briefly discussed in the webinar and can be used to gain a deeper understanding:

People who like this stuff…like this stuff
Includes a short annotation and links the books Start with Why (Simon Sinek), Influencer, Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) and Freidmen’s Failure of Nerve.

Connected The Movie by the ACU Connected Initiative
Link to the ACU Connected mobile movie that started and provided the fundamental Why or vision for Mobile Learning at ACU.

Additional resources on Change and Innovation:

mediocracy
Source: createyourownmemes.com/2014/06/24/mediocracy/

“Those who fear the new are the ones who have mastered the old.”

Simon Sinek’s inspirational quote has me considering why some people are fearful of the new.

I believe that when it comes to creating significant learning environments and enhancing student learning that if we believe we have arrived or have “mastered the old” then we are simply satisfied with mediocracy. We owe it to our learners to always look for the better way…to make learning more engaging, more relevant, more effective. Learning by its very essence is about “the new”… about making meaningful connections. Learning is about perpetual growth, creation, synthesis, and development. One can achieve levels of mastery but one is never finished learning.

Those are satisfied with mastering the old and fear the new are also satisfied with mediocracy and stagnation.

Learning from LEAN

October 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

LEAN
Having just completed the LEAN 201 workshop and earning my LEAN White Belt I now have a greater appreciation for the LEAN methodology advocated by the Continuous Service Improvement group at BCIT and I can now see how it can be used to bring greater efficiency to process intensive workflow scenarios. If you are looking to improve a mechanical or logistical process in your work setting LEAN can definitely help solve problems and improve situations. I have also confirmed that if your work-setting is hampered by organization culture issues and you need to make changes in that culture then the Influencer model provides a much better starting point because it addresses how to bring about behavioural changes and motivate the key organizational influencers who can lead or hinder this type of change. Ideally I see how you need to use and combine LEAN, Influencer and the 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) as well as many other methodologies in your organizational change endeavours. I explain this eclectic approach in my post People who like this stuff…like this stuff.

The power of LEAN is in its simplicity. We were able to go from very minimal knowledge of the LEAN methodology to being able to recommend a very detailed solution to a real world problem in just 3 full days. While the LEAN 101 afternoon workshop I took 12 months ago as a pre-requisite exposed me to the central LEAN processes it wasn’t until we worked through an entire real life case that I full appreciated the power of this methodology. I am questioning the value of the 101 workshop because several other workshop attendees also commented on the fact that they were not really able to appreciate LEAN even at its most basic level until going through the 201 workshop.

The 201 workshop worked well because there was no need to read anything in advance, there were no special tools other than sticky notes, paper, markers and basic presentation software. Another significant factor to LEAN 201 working well was the authentic case study where we solved a genuine problem which ensured that all participants were engaged and contributed. Our group of 5 participants worked out a solution for the degree audit process that Records Officers faced on an annual basis at BCIT. We not only solved the main problems with the existing degree audit, we were also able to show how the new process could be used to address student retention and graduation issues by moving from a reactive audit at the end of the student life cycle to a proactive live and dynamic auditing process that started at the beginning of the students time at BCIT. The added benefit of this move is that students could now have an active program map of their progress. In addition, faculty, department heads, Associate Deans, Deans and other administrators could also use the live program map to catch the students who were having problems at the beginning and enabling the institution to provide solutions to these students quickly enough to get them back on track.

By the end of the second day of the workshop our group not only assessed the situation but had identified the appropriate solutions and on the third day we built a presented a summary of the degree audit solution to the main stakeholders in the Registrars Office, and to key administrators like the Assistant Registrar and the VP Academic who immediately asked what it would take to start working on the implementation of our plan. I am looking forward to seeing our plan used as a foundation for a more detailed gap analysis and the development of an implementation strategy.

We were not only able to save some valuable time for the hard working group of Records Officers, the changes will significantly improve the student experience and contribute to increasing the student retention and completion. Whenever you can help more students complete their programs and achieve their dream you know you are involved in something special.

The LEAN 201 workshop and methodology was definitely beneficial and will be added to my toolbox that I bring to future organization change challenges.

I have been subscribing to LifeHacker even before it was popular because they consistently point to some of the most interesting and useful information. I have also been watching TED talks since they first went online back in 2006 and over the years I have lost count of the numbers of full TED and TEDx talks that I have watched. Some are amazing like Ken Robinson’s Why Schools Kill Creativity or Simon Sinek’s, How Great Leaders Inspire Action and other while others are simply informative.

So when the post Transform Your Life In One Month: The 31 Best TED Talks Of All Time That Will Inspire You I immediately checked it out to see if there were any TED talks that I needed to watch. I was surprised to find that out the 31 recommended talks I missed only David Blaine’s How I held my breath for 17 minutes. But had added this talk to my Evernote “to watch” list so I was planning on getting to it. I then followed another link on the Lifehaker page to the post 10 Inspiring TED Talks That Will Completely Refresh Your Perspective On Life and I learned that I had watched all these TED talks as well. Noticing a pattern I went to the TED site and looked at The most popular talks of all time an found that I had watched all these TED Talks as well.

What makes TED talks and these talks in particular so appealing? I have my suspicions and to confirm them I did some research and found Mark Fidelman’s Forbes post and inforgraphic Here’s Why TED and TEDx are So Incredibly Appealing (infographic) which I believe offers a couple of key reasons so many of us watch so many of the same TED talks. TED’s philosophy “simplified authentic storytelling” work so well because we (humanity) all love stories. We all respond to a well told story. Equally important and perhaps even more transforming is TED Director, Chris Anderson’s passion for and commitment to the TED mission of “ideas worth sharing” he has surrounded himself and all of us through the TED talks with people who want to change the world.

We are drawn to TED talks because we moved by powerful stories about how humanity can change the world. This passion to change the world is best summarized in Steve Job’s narration in Apple’s Think Different campaign.