Category Archives: Learning

Learning Technologies : Fishbowl Reflections

The definition of Learning Technology can be described as the ‘study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources’ Richey, R.C. (2008).

On Tuesday I visited the Learning Technologies Next Generation fishbowl discussion. This gave me a chance to catch up with a few friends, and watch and engage with a conversation topic of interest, using a conversational technology I enjoy.

Typically a fishbowl discussion is set up as shown in the diagram above, in the round with a panel in the centre. In an open fishbowl – one of the centre seats is vacant and at any point in the discussion, that seat can be filled by an audience member. Traditionally, when the empty seat is filled, one of the existing panel members moves to the audience. This way, there is always a space to be filled, should anyone wish to do so.

The panel members were Euan SempleLorna MattyGer DriesenBeth Aarons and the session was facilitated by Nigel Paine.

I chose to sketchnote the event. I’d not made a sketchnote in a while and wanted to practice, to see how I got on. Notwithstanding that I couldn’t capture as much detail through this method, I enjoyed listening, and creating an interpretation of what I heard.

Something that interested me was how little technology itself featured in the conversation, despite often being contained in the questions. It wasn’t absent – people referenced certain apps with their pros and cons, the acceptance that technology has and is improving and can have really useful applications, to aid planning for example. However, most of the exchanges were about:

  • behaviour
  • taking responsibility
  • getting started
  • start small
  • keep it simple
  • getting out of the way – managers take note!

I enjoyed being at the event. Afterwards, one thing I reflected on about the structure, was that on this occasion, the panel stayed put, and the one empty seat was occupied and vacated by different audience members at various points in the conversation. My personal preference is for the panel members to self select out of the centre as the empty seat is occupied as described above. This means the make up of the panel can and often does change completely, and that can create really interesting shifts in the discussion. That said, I really enjoyed listening to the exchange of thoughts and ideas.

If anyone who was at the fishbowl is reading this, please let me know what I missed. And given this session was a precursor to the 2018 Learning Technologies conference in London today and tomorrow, I wonder how many of these themes will also feature there?

Memorable Learning Experiences

I’m in a hotel room in Cleveland Ohio. I’ve been in this great city for a few days and enjoyed an excellent weekend with friends. Later today I head off to Sandusky to help prepare for the annual Ohio Society for Human Resource Management conference. There will be 950 of us under one roof learning with and from each other, I’m excited to be here.

This is my third time here and I have a deep connection with the event itself and the people associated with it. Back in November 2011 I had a conversation with my Dad about ‘what next?’ and the idea of doing interesting things in the USA emerged from that conversation. My Dad died unexpectedly just two months after our chat and a month after that, I got confirmation that Ohio had accepted my ideas for a presentation. I honour that conversation with my Dad each time I come here, and this year I’m facilitating a session on connectedness, We Are Better Together. Here’s where you come in…

I have a ton of ideas, stories, frameworks, models and behavioural stuff to play with. I’ve been preparing and planning for this session for months, and because it contains a high level of improvisation – twists and turns will emerge, about which we currently know nothing. It’s a bit like a subway map, we can see how to get across town and there are many choices and directions we could take to achieve this.

In support of building and following our own version of the map, I would really appreciate your help. What are your most memorable learning experiences? Good, bad, behavioural, tactical, technical, etcetera, I’d love to hear from you. How did you feel, and what did you learn? I’d love to include a few of your stops on our journey, and I promise to share the map we draw together once the event is over. Thanks in advance for your help, have an excellent week.