This second week of the Exploring Personal Learning Networks cMOOC was about defining Personal Learning Networks – and let me just say, there were LOTS of definitions. So much so that in all honesty, it confused me because I was getting bogged down in the details trying to grapple with everyone’s definitions, explanations and reflections. Luckily, however Jeff Merrell then asked us:
“How will you define Personal Learning Networks to your mother?”
Phew. That’s what I needed. Someone to take my hand and pull me out of the murky depths and make it simple enough for me to understand.
Then I had some anxieties.
Crikey, I’d have to explain it in Greek for her to understand.
But then, maybe that’s a positive for me as my Greek isn’t so good. I’d have to really take it to the basic level of definition.
This is how I think my definition would have transpired…
All mirth aside I decided to use my PLE to solve a little problem that I came across this week at work.
The intention was two fold:
- I wanted to get some ideas for the actual project (more creative ideas I would never have thought of myself; and lack of time to develop anything new from scratch – besides I don’t like to do work work on weekends and I had to have my brief to my manager in by 0830 Monday morning)
- I wanted to use this as an example of a “real life organisational problem and how the PLN added value” for the MOOC assignment where we have to pitch to the CEO. (I needed real life examples, hard data, testimonials, figures, results…you know ‘tangibles’ )
I was tasked to provide some recommendations around an induction (onboarding) program at our work. I was not involved in the original brief and the team who had created the induction program were not subject matter experts in learning design or development. In fact, I got handed the whole induction pack and program and was told to “finish it off and get it out there as quickly as possible” by the client.
The hairs on my arms stood on end when clients tell me this.
I don’t like taking orders.
Luckily my manager supported my view of that we critically review and assess their program and provide recommendations for how it could be improved. We could then seek their support and approval to redesign and develop it in the way that we saw best for the organisation and for the new employee.
When the client describes their working environment and current induction as, “survival of the fittest” I don’t know about you but for me, alarm bells start to ring. She was desperate for this to change – why wouldn’t she be!
But this got me thinking about induction stories and whether there were people in our organisation who had experienced a great onboarding program somewhere. What made their induction memorable? Why?
So I posted the question on Twitter and got a few responses with some links and leads to companies who do it well. (Thanks to Joyce Seitzinger for mentioning about iPads in induction as I threw an offhand remark about this idea in the meeting about this and they stopped short – you could see their minds thinking about it).
I did a search on Google + and found the same question was asked by Harold Jarche in his post New Hire Practices back in 2011 and there were some great resources there that I could use. Finally, I put the same question up on Yammer, our internal social networking tool expecting little or no response, but I got 11 responses within the first two days.
One person helped me out even further (and he’s a member of my PLN no less) also did a Yammer tag search on #induction and come up with another 38 different responses when the question was asked two years ago by Simon Terry and posted it up on Yammer for me to see. So within the space of 2 days, I had an abundance of personal stories, links to companies who do it well and some wonderful ideas to include in the induction program!
Now if that’s not proof of a PLN working to solve a small issue or answer a question, I don’t know what is. There would be no way I could have got the same amount of responses any other way without doing some formal survey and taking a lot longer to design, develop, roll out and collate responses…and not as personal.
This week I also asked a few members of my PLN to create short videos (less than 2 minutes) on how their Personal Learning Network helped them in their role and provide specific organisational examples. I’ll collate these responses as part of the final assignment pitch and put it up on the blog at a later date. They form part of the ‘testimonial’ side of the pitch to the CEO because let’s face it – I want to make it personal and social because it’s not always about the numbers and hard data anymore.