Jacinda Ardern – where does her strength come from

I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for so many since the events in Christchurch last Friday, and we have seen weak, and at times shameful, comments from leaders across the world, including those in Australia.

Jacinda Ardern has been a light in the darkness, showing strength, contained emotion, and clarity.

This speech an outstanding example. So good to have the transcript there as well as the video.

And when asked to comment on the statements of Australian Senator Fraser Anning, her response, “Disgraceful. Next question.” – pitch perfect.

un-Google-able questions

Steve Wheeler

ask students an un-Google-able question e.g. what does the human body have 5 of… lobes of the lungs

this then is a gateway question for exploration – why 5?

David Kelly

AR and VR we will get over the awkwardness of the tech

need to recognise the unique affordances of each

VR – good for learning to deal with life threatening situations in a safe environment, or difficult to replicate environments e.g. fire fighting, Black Friday sales (people have been killed in stampedes at these sales)




Content design and user experience

Myles Runham – Content Design

Why don’t we always do what users need?

we don’t talk to them enough

they don’t know what they need

someone else has asked you to do something that is not in line with what users need – stakeholders might not know what users need – they have a particular perspective

Remember who is really in charge

3Ps – Putting users at the heart

purpose / vision





Learning to learn

Boser – Learning to Learn

Boser repeated kindergarten due to ‘learning problems’

Author of Learn Better, listed as one of the 2017 Best Science books of the Year by Amazon

10 Principles for us to think about learning better

1. Make meaning

  • learning is an active process
  • the “hyper-correction” effect …. when shown to be wrong, you are more likely to remember this in the future
  • the bigger error that we make the more that we learn
  • explaining something to themselves, or quizzing yourself
  • or explaining something to someone else
  • management practice – “repeat back”
  • summarising


2. The blessing and curse of knowledge

  • Heath Brothers book
  • “The Humming Game” – hard for others to get but you hear it so clearly in your own head!
  • Thinking and learning is infused with knowledge
  • the way we think is embedded with the things we know
  • it is so hard to get out of our heads
  • that is the curse of knowledge
  • knowledge is also a blessing
  • What is the best predictor of learning?
    • Prior knowledge

3. Honour short term memory

  • How much can you store in your brain’s working memory?
    • don’t overwhelm short term memory
    • knowledge allows us to expand our short term memory association)
    • why we can’t multi-task
    • on the net during lectures reduces learning

4. Think about thinking (meta-cognition)

  • we need to plan what we are going to learn
  • when we learning, we need to monitor our learning – could I explain this to a child? and reflecting on this
  • model this as instructors

5. Promote feedback

Mark Bernstein – brain surgeon who kept a reflective journal – after each surgery he wrote what he did wrong during the surgery

the power of the tutor

6. Remember to remember

  • How much will you remember after 24 hours?
    • around 50%
  • “The forgetting curve”
  • using highlighters … no evidence for these helping
  • the forgetting curve – when you re-learn you retain this knowledge for longer
  • we need to know that people will forget and give them opportunities to remember
  • some evidence that all experience is stored in your brain
  • the problem is retrieval

7. Respect emotions

  • think about your childhood bedroom
  • when we ask people to think back, they lean back
  • when we ask people about the future they lean forward
  • you think with your bodies
  • how we feel and our emotions is central to us gaining expertise

8. Gain deep features

  • Surface features
  • details for marketing, to capture attention
  • when we learn – what is important is the deeper feature
  • mixed approach is more effective for practice e.g ABCABCABC is more effective than AAABBBCCC
  • this is after you have developed rudimentary skills
  • why? it helps you see the deeper principle

9. Uncover connections

pattern recognition

analogies e.g. we need an Uber for child care, we need an Uber for hair cuts

10. reflect, reflect, reflect

  • what is the most effective length of a pause during a presentation – 3 seconds …..
  • we are usually in such a hurry to get the information out there
  • reflection – we needs these moments of pause to understand
  • 3 seconds is long …. awkwardly long …..


multi-choice questions are not retrieval

  • multi-choice is a trade-off
  • you can create them so people think deeper
  • also hyper-correction effect has value

one thing you can do to help your learning

  • test yourself!







Assumptions about learning and teaching

This must be a critical discussion to have – our assumptions about people, how they learn, and what they do with what they learn.  My work focuses on workplace learning and I see great differences in not just the approach to the design of ‘training events and materials’ but in the fundamental design principles we use to decide whether we are about ‘filling people up with the exact knowledge that we want to give them’ or providing environments where people can learn and can apply what they learn in ways that are useful to their work.

Coincidentally I was reading this blog post tonight (The Education Scientist: What’s holding education back?).  The challenge that Michael Connell describes is this:

What if education is being held back by a number of common assumptions about learning and teaching that seem completely obvious to most people but that are nonetheless completely and utterly wrong? What if these assumptions are so obvious and so deep-seated that many people aren’t even aware they are assumptions, and what if education can’t move forward until we surface these assumptions, examine them critically, and get people to revise them?

I like his proposal that, rather than feelings of engagement leading to learning, that engagement is a product of learning.  He writes:

If learning drives engagement, then we actually have to start with high-quality learning experiences if we expect to produce high-quality learning outcomes. Instead of “injecting” fun to make the learning happen, we’ll know the learning is happening when we see students engaging deeply with the subject matter itself. In this view, “fun” (or engagement) is not something one puts into the teaching so much as something one expects to see coming out of the learning.

This approach provides a way of thinking about creation of learning environments that make the learning explicit – that is, that we can see something going on for the learners, and that learners are doing something with their newly constructed or extended knowledge and skill….

Caught in the Net in the past week

I love Harold Jarche’s Friday Finds.  They are a great resource for looking at contemporary issues as well as finding new sources that I haven’t come across before.

I have a habit of having 20 tabs open at the same time, as I follow different links and then a link from there, and then…. well you can see where I am going with that.  So this post is a snapshot of what is open at the moment.  I thought it might be interesting to note how I found these different sources as well (if I can remember!)

The Perils of being Invisible (found via Twitter @C4LPT RT of @JaneBozarth)

The messages below refer to HR professionals, but the messages are very relevant to a subset of that group – those in learning and development

“If HR executives aren’t learning about, thinking about and using newer technologies that are available and being used in their own profession, how likely is it that they’re playing a leadership role to ensure that others in the organization are taking the time to learn about, think about and use new technologies in their respective domains? This is particularly important when new technologies begin to emerge that may be disruptive and might threaten the very viability of a business model.”

“My message here isn’t to be sure you’re on LinkedIn or some other social-medial platform. My message is that you can’t be slow to investigate, experiment with, or understand the potential of social-media tools that are springing up and being used in the HR profession. If you fail to stay current with the technology in your own professional space, you could harm your credibility when you try to prepare your organization for technologies that might impact — or disrupt — your business.”

Sketchnotes from a presentation by Lee LeFever on “The Art of Explanation” (found via LinkedIn group “I Sketchnote”)

Great one pager!  I have loved the Common Craft videos for a long time, and this book looks like an excellent resource.

The Art of Explanation - Sketchnote

The Art of Explanation – Sketchnote

Sketchnoting Thoughts (I think I found it via Google when I was looking for something else)

A wonderful description of the process of sketchnoting.  The author, Mark Sheppard, makes three observations about sktechnoting:

  • the importance of icons
  • the relationship with mind mapping, that is, the importance of making connections between ideas
  • don’t judge“, particularly yourself

Will smaller organisations survive DisabilityCare changes? (via Link Magazine on facebook)

After participating in the Positive Practices Symposium this week (Centre of Excellence for Behaviour Support), it is abundantly clear that the potential impact of the introduction of DisabilityCare is on everyone’s lips.  So much is unknown, but the expectation is that the hopes of people with a disability for greater control and for many – greater access to – the support that they need to enjoy a good life, are realised.

Why I stayed (shared via a friend on facebook)

I usually skim posts, articles, and so on, but I read every word in this article.  It is about a journalist who changed to lives of two young men who were the subject of her story, and how her life was changed as well.

Lisa and Leroy helped Dartanyon celebrate his bronze medal in judo at the 2012 London Paralympics

Lisa and Leroy helped Dartanyon celebrate his bronze medal in judo at the 2012 London Paralympics

Other tabs open include:

Sketchnotes for Developers (another site I found in a google search for something else)

Some great information about sketchnoting.

Chapple Cartoons – Sketchnotes (from the I Sketchnote group on LinkedIn)

Some great examples of Sketchnotes.

Copyright Friendly Image Search  (found by checking out the Pearltree of someone who had pearls in common with me)


Harness the Potential

Recently I viewed a recording of a keynote presentation delivered by Professor John Boyer – aka the “Plaid Avenger“.  Below are my sketchnotes of the presentation, but before looking to those, a couple of other comments.


Ustream is an amazing video streaming site, which includes live presentations.  A “Social Stream” allows for live chat during the broadcast.  Some broadcasts are continuous, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  That was really cool!! Just saw a huge school of tiny fish creating a whirlpool…… They are still going – this massive spinning school of fish! While the quality of the video from the aquarium is patchy, it is still amazing that you can just hop onto the site and check out what the fish are up to whenever you want.

monterey bay aquarium pic

Screenshot – Ustream broadcast – Monterey Bay Aquarium

Blended Learning Symposium – Griffith University – 2012

The presentation mentioned above was a keynote address during a symposium held last year at Griffith University in Brisbane.  The other presentations can also be viewed on Ustream, and highlight a range of innovations introduced at the University to broaden and strengthen learning activities.  Some interesting insights were shared on tools and strategies.

3 Things to Remember to Engage Students – Professor John Boyers

Turning now back to the keynote presentation, Professor John Boyers has become well known for the large lecture audiences attending his geography classes, as well as the way he employs a range of technologies to engage students.  His two sites, Professor Boyer, and the Plaid Avenger (you’ll see why if you check out his photos or videos), are well worth a visit.

Sketchnote 1 - John Boyer Keynote

Sketchnote 1 – John Boyer Keynote

Sketchnote 2 - John Boyer Keynote

Sketchnote 2 – John Boyer Keynote

When to stop drinking from the hydrant… take a breath

Sketchnotes from article - When to stop drinking frojm the hydrant

When to stop drinking from the hydrant

A follow up from the earlier post… I found a useful post by Jill Chivers identifying two different approaches to seeking data – data gatherers, and data assessors.  Data gatherers cast a wide net, collecting as much as possible, and then struggling to organise their bounty so that they can make use of it.  Data assessors seek data when they need it, and potentially miss out on possibilities.

Sometimes it feels like this….

Getting information off the internet is like drinking from a fire hydrant.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/will-lion/2595497078/ (Creative Commons licence)

When I first read this quote (one night of reading on the Internet!) it seemed to exactly capture that experience of wanting to follow so many different connections, different threads, being afraid of forgetting something, or missing something.  Some people seem to be able to take in huge volumes information and then synthesise it, adding new insights, and thus create even more information!

This is where the work of people such as Howard Rheinhold and Harold Jarche has particular power.  Rheinhold writes about being “Net Smart”, or consciously discerning, when searching for information.  He teaches others in the skill of “Crap Detection”, an essential skill when conducting research.  Jarche writes and teaches on “Personal Knowledge Management”, another approach to drinking safely from the hydrant.  Having such models in mind when seeking information on the net is essential to allow time to personally process what we come across, and to ensure we think more deeply than mere ‘information bursts’.

Choosing curation tools has allowed me to drink without getting knocked over in the blast.  It took me a little while to work out what was going to work for me.  For now, I tend to use Pinterest for personal interests and hobbies and Pearltrees for links relating to learning.  I joined ScoopIt and Delicious but find I don’t use them very often.  The visual and structural aspects of Pinterest and Pearltrees appeal to me, and I find that it takes too much time, and becomes too confusing, to use multiple tools.

It is interesting to compare these two tools – I have spent hours on Pinterest as there is so much to look at right there, without ever visiting the source sites of the images.  In contrast Pearltrees is not as engaging as a source of information, but is useful as a repository of links.

For me the key to safely drinking from the rushing water is discernment – just follow a manageable amount of trickles while keeping an eye on the broader direction of the flow of the gushing hydrant.