Thursday, June 30, 2011

Good Words on Vows - Ray Orllund

Pastor Ortlund (senior) was pastor of Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, California and was pastor to Ralph and Roberta Winter when I worked at the US Center for World Missions. His son wrote about his father's vows on his blog. 
On 19 June 2003 my dad wrote down these five vows that he made before the Lord:
1.  Vow to give God all the glory in all your successes.
2.  Vow to confess your sins and do a thorough job of repentance.
3.  Vow never to say anything slanderous or destructive against any of God’s children.
4.  Vow not to own anything.  Leave all ownership to God.
5.  Vow that while you live you will seek to live with enthusiasm and joy by the Holy Spirit.
Then dad quoted Psalm 56:12, “I am under vows to you, O God.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Christian Computing Magazine -- The economics of online distribution

I've been an avid reader of Christian Computing Magazine since it came out about 20 years ago. The online publication is going through a transition from PDF to "Flash" distribution. This reminded me of our calculation about halting the publication of the U.S. edition of our mission's magazine about 15 years ago.

As a journalist who has edited several magazines distributed to the Christian missions public, including Mission Frontiers (published by the U.S. Center for World Missions) and the aware-winning East Asia Millions (published by OMF International), I'm well aware that the internet has turned the economics of magazine publishing on it's head.

In the ink-and-paper world, having "camera-ready" copy is just the start of your distribution costs. For a mission organization, most of the costs of finding information, getting it written, along with photos, is often done by people who are members of the organization, raising their own support, so the costs to the organization are not a significant factor. Likewise with the staff that edits the copy and does the layout for the publication.

Where the costs begin to mount up is when we start to turn that art and copy into a publication that can be mailed to potential readers.For a 16-page, full-color magazine printing 25,000 copies (EAM), were looking at about $6,000. at four issues per year, that's almost $25,000 in annual printing costs.

Internet distribution has turned that financial equation on its head. For them, having "camera-ready" copy is the final cost to the organization. From there, posting the copy on the web site is the last money the organization has to spend to distribute the magazine. The reading public pays the cost of buying and operating the computers. Of course, if the public is reading the magazine in the public library, they don't even have to pay for that cost, except as a small percentage of their local taxes.

Christian Computing magazine, and their sister publication, Christian Video, moving from ink-and-paper to online distribution had to be a "no-brainer". First, consider their audience, their readers were already using computers in their daily work. Then their readers were also used to getting their information online, so there wasn't a barrier they had to overcome.

An experiment on this Blog

I just realized that it's been at least two weeks since my last post. I'm going to try to use this blog for the next week to post most, if not all, of my web work, including searches, articles, etc.

This discipline will help me keep track of what I'm working on and how I'm using my time.

You are welcome to help me keep track of the meanderings.

Social Networking Goes "In-House"

Recognizing the impact of social networking (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) more and more companies are creating tools that enable people in the organization to share things with others in the organization.

Here's a New York Times article on this phenomenon:

Companies Are Erecting In-House Social Networks

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Viewing Keynote Files in PowerPoint

Today I had an need to view a file created in Macintosh Keynote (the Mac presentation program) in Microsoft PowerPoint. I found several messages from Apple saying that you couldn't do this.

Fortunately, I found which lets you upload a Keynote (.key) file and then e-mails back to you the file in PowerPoint format (.ppt).

Helpful thing to know if you have a PC and need to access the content of a Keynote file.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Great Resources from ASTD 2011

Here is a web page that lists great resources from the 2011 convention of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)

My note: the term "backchannel" refers to an online conversation that takes place during some online or in-person event.

Here's the "authoritative" Wikipedia definition:

"Backchannel is the practice of using networked computers to maintain a real-time online conversation alongside live spoken remarks. 
"The term "backchannel" generally refers to online conversation about the topic or the speaker. Occasionally backchannel provides audience members a chance to fact-check the presentation.
"First growing in popularity at technology conferences, backchannel is increasingly a factor in education where WiFi connections and laptop computers allow students to use ordinary chat like IRC orAIM to actively communicate during class. 
"Twitter is also widely used today by audiences to create backchannels at technology conferences." 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The New Reality in Leadership Communication

From trainleadersjune2010-1276697302212-phpapp02.ppt

People don't just "believe what you say, because you say it." They have a wide variety of sources for input and are becoming more discerning about what to believe and why. This is partially a result of the growing influence of "social media" which greatly expands the ability of people to "publish." and diminishes the gap between "publisher" and "reader."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Still More on Using Social Media in Training from Jane Bozarth's Book

Here is the third installment of my notes and clippings from the opening chapters of Jane Bozarth's book Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning. 2010 John Wiley and Sons.

Following this introduction, the remainder of this book is devoted to an introduction to some major social media tools, providing both information about the tool and a how-to for getting started in using the tool. Tools include Twitter, Facebook and other communities, Blogs, Wikis, Other Tools, and The Bigger Picture.

In choosing technologies to use, remember that every additional site to check, every different user ID and password to remember, every new interface to learn creates a new obstacle for the learner. Try to meet your learners where they are and take them where your organization wants them to go. (page 16)

Choosing What (Tool) to Use When

Different tools have different strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right tool for the task at hand can make your work easier or harder. If your organization already has a policy about social media, that can make some of your choices more simple.

Most tools will allow you to have discussions or do collaborative work. You’ll need to choose things that support your instructional goals, but also that your organization will allow; what your organization already has in place; and what your users are already using or will accept. (page 17)

It’s tempting to become ‘tool happy’” (page 17) It’s best to start with a single tool, learn to use it well, and begin to design your learning strategies around it, rather than getting a half dozen tools which you barely understand and seldom use.

(Various tools) :are all a means to an end (better transfer of learning, more engagement ini the learning process, growth of a learning community, support for informal learning), but they are not ends in themselves. The point is not to “do” Twitter any more than it is to “do e-learning”. (page 17)

It is important in using social media that you move learners toward working together, building learning community, not just posting an answer in response to you. Encourage dialogue, debate and interaction. (Page 18)

Supporting the Learners

Nothing else you do—lesson planning, careful design, thoughtful choice of technologies—will matter if your learners struggle through the training. Make the experience painless and positive for them.” (page 19)

Make the social media site easy to find. Put your Twitter handle, blog URL, or Facebook name on handouts, your organization’s website and in your e-mail signature.” (page 19)

Encourage collaboration; so not force friendships.” (page 19)

“…provide clear guidelines and deadlines…define regularly. Do you mean once a day or once a week.” (page 19)

Walk the Talk

In order to be effective at using social media, you have to start participating in social networking activities and develop fluency with the tools. If nothing else set up Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Use them as you follow along with this book. Find some blogs to read. You won’t learn about Twitter by having someone explain Twitter. You need to join and participate in order to learn to use it as an effective training tool.” (Page 21)

The trainer using social media thoughtfully will find it a wonderful new means of engaging learners, extending the learning experience and supporting transfer of new learning to the workplace. Effective strategies can additionally extend the reach of the trainer and the training function, positioning training not just as an event, but part of the learners’ daily lives.” (page 22)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jane Bozarth on Converting Classroom Programs to Online

Many of us are not designing programs for online learning but converting our traditional training for usage online. Here's a brief article by Dr. Jane Bozarth on the conversion process. 


“Find out which aspects of the classroom program are most successful ... and which aspects fail. Talk with learners and the classroom instructors, and review any evaluation or follow-up data they are able to provide.”
Converting an existing classroom course to an online format can be a tricky, time-consuming undertaking. The easy way out — simply moving the content and lecture portions to an electronic means of delivery — is what leads to e“Learning” at its worst: slide after slide of bulleted information and loss of engaging activities and the contributions of individual instructors.
What’s a better way to go? Look for ways to capture the richness that a good instructor brings to the classroom, such as responsiveness, a sense of humor, interesting stories and examples, and immediate feedback. Also, when considering moving a classroom course online, approach it not just as converting one form to another, but as an opportunity to improve the existing product. This is a chance to leverage technology for what it can do. Here are some specific re-design tips that work.


This is a good time to reexamine purpose, intent, and objectives. In order to “work” online, you must distill a full-day classroom program to its essential elements. Cut out extraneous, “nice to know” information. Is some information population-specific? Is some information tangentially relevant to most but really relevant to none? Every element of the online program needs to be relevant to most learners. Another issue to consider: how old is the classroom program? Are there newer means of delivering the same content, perhaps through a performance support tool?

What’s working? What’s not?

Find out which aspects of the classroom program are most successful — and which aspects fail. Talk with learners and the classroom instructors, and review any evaluation or follow-up data they are able to provide. Are learners leaving the classroom fully prepared to perform successfully back on the job? If not, where are the gaps? Where do instructors feel they need to provide additional explanation? What concepts are difficult to explain? What questions or misunderstandings come up time and again? Does the classroom use cases, simulations, and scenarios for practice? What do goodindividual instructors add to the experience?

Inventory your assets

In examining the existing classroom program don’t overlook the assets associated with it. Assemble everything — handouts, PowerPoint shows, videos, case studies, and evaluation forms — everythingassociated with the program. There are likely many paper documents—outlines, worksheets, quizzes — that you might repurpose for the online version. Likewise, slide shows, video clips, case studies and role play information may be useful too as part of the eLearning program. You may find that much can be adapted for your new purpose.

Converting from classroom to online: the process

  1. Analyze the current state of the classroom program.
  2. Update and cut-and-chunk material.
  3. Identify ways of adding interactivity and capturing the richness of the “live” event.

Friday, May 6, 2011

From Daniel Pink’s forward to “The New Social Learning.”

“In business terms, most people—myself included—think of Twitter, Facebook and other social media as tools for marketing. But now that I’ve read this smart and incisive book, I realize that…the deepest, most enduring impact of social media might be on learning. …Learning is a fundamentally social act…sociability has always greased the gears of learning. Our inherent drive to learn together can be facilitated through emerging technologies that extend, widen and deepen our reach.

"…for instance, this new, technology-enabled approach can supplement instruction with collaboration and co-creation and, in so doing, blur the boundary between the instruct tor and the instructed and enhance the experience of all…Once you move away from the push of information to the pull of learning you liberate creative powers in your people."

More on Using Social Media in Training from Jane Bozarth

Expert observers now think in terms of Web 1.0 (one-way communication) and Web 2.0 using technological advances to make communication more interactive.

"(Web 1.0)  

  • Programmer-created web pages, graphics, Flash
  • Experts create content
  • Individuals visit web pages, read content
  • Tightly controlled “sites”
  • One way communication (one to many)
  • Britannica Online
  • Publish
  • Firewalls, hierarchies
  • Stable content, static, few changes

Web 2.0                                                                                      
  • User-created web pages, pictures, user reviews, blogs, wikis, YouTube, social networks
  • Everyone creates content
  • People construct shared information
  • Loosely controlled communities
  • Many to Many and peer-to-peer
  • Wikipedia
  • Participate
  • Dynamic, non-hierarchical
  • Constantly updated content, (Twitter, Wikipedia)"

From page 12 in Bozarth’s book

“The technologies dissolve many of the barriers between the learners and the instructor, creating a more informal, collegial and interactive learning environment.” (Page 13)

Social media “can provide a vehicle for continuing conversations beyond the time constraints of the workshop schedule…and support development of communities of learners.” (page 13)

“…even if (as a trainer) you do not find traditional instruction frustrating, many of your learners…have made their interest in and acceptance of online interaction clear. Again, social media tools can help the trainer meet the learners where they are.” (page 13)

“Training strategies incorporating social media tools can help learners become more aware of their own learning process, more mindful of and deliberate about their own learning, and encourage them to take ownership of learning and then apply it to their jobs.” (page 13)

People typically learn informally “Hey Joe, how do I reformat those tables, again? “What did you say was the trick of getting these contracts through so quickly?...reading, viewing online tutorials, and, yes, learning by trial and error. Research indicates that as much as 70 percent of workplace learning is informal, occurring outside the classroom and in the space between training events. Social media is one way for the training department and the training practitioners to get into those spaces and reach employees between events. In essence, training approaches incorporating social media strategies more closely resembles how we really learn in our day-to-day activities.” (pages 14-15)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Using Social Media in Training - 1

Earlier this year, I volunteered to facilitate a session on “Using Social Media in Training” at the Personnel Workshop. I knew that my actual, “on the ground” experience with social media was thin, but I also knew that social media had the potential to significantly change the way that we could interact with participants in our training sessions, and I wanted to expand my knowledge and practice.
One of the greatest influences on my approach to training has been Dr. Jane Vella, who introduced the idea that people learn best from what they “process,” not just from “content” they hear or see.
Joining Jane on my short list of “training style influencers” is Dr. Jane Bozarth. (There must be something about being named, “Jane”!) Jane B. has written “Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning,” published by Pfeiffer just last year.
I thought I would take some introductory ideas from Jane B’s book and share them with you in small (one-page) doses, in case you wanted to get up to speed on the whole idea of using things like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs and Wikis to enhance and extend your training impact.
“The possibilities for uses of social media to create community and collaboration are dazzling, although the array of tools and their applications can seem daunting. But there is no denying the very popularity of social media.” (page 1)
“…this book will help you…better understand the ideas behind social media, and…identify ways of leveraging them to enhance and extend your training programs.” (page 2)
“Finally, in a broader sense, learning to leverage social media tools is critical to the future of training departments…In short: the trainer who masters social media is positioned to help the organization get where it wants to go. (page 2)
“Social Media: This term refers to online material produced by the public. This is distinct form content produced by professional writers, journalists, or generated by the industrial or mass media.” (page 8)
“Web 2.0: Refers to the advert of many technologies that allow users to easily—and often for free-create, publish, and share their own content via the Internet.” (page 9)
“Examples of social technologies used to create social media include those for communication (such as blogs), collaboration (such as wikis), communities (such as Facebook), reviews and opinions (such as Amazon reader reviews), and multimedia (such as YouTube). (page 11)
“Web 2.0 technologies invite everyone to create and share content.” (page 11)
I’ll have more to share in a few days.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Copies, Copying, Copyright and Copy Wrongs

One issue that often confronts us is whether and how to use materials what we've discovered in our work. In the course of recently responding to an e-mail on this question, I wrote...


The Leadership Challenge licenses their materials for use by other organizations at a cost of something like $100 to $200 per participant.

You can contact them at for information.

Use of this material also requires attending a training program which costs about $3,000

If your budget won't accommodate this kind of costs, there is nothing to prevent you from developing your own material/learning tasks loosely based on their content.

What is in view here is the concept of "fair use" which is an aspect of US Copyright law. (Not to be confused with the commonly known practice of "copy things right".)

One difficulty is finding out what the honest parameters of fair use actually are. Organizations who produce materials that might be duplicated don't want you to know that there is such a thing as the "fair use" provision so they will tell you it does not exist.

On the other hand, people who want to use anything they can find on the Internet or elsewhere without payment, acknowledgement or permission assume that until they get stopped there is no problem.

The government seems reluctant to issue guidelines for the "fair use" of copyrighted materials, preferring to operate on a "case-by-case" basis. This practice is also known as the "copyright lawyer full employment act" provision.

Those who have ventured to extrapolate principles or guidelines from case law end up with questions like:

1. Will the material be used in "not-for-profit" settings?

2. What percentage of the original material is used?

3. Will the material be used in face-to-face instructional settings?

4. In what country will the material be used? (U.S. copyright law is sometimes different from international copyright law.)

5. Is exact representation of the original material used, or just the general sense of a concept?

6. Are you talking with people who are trainers, or people who are lawyers?

It would be great if some Christian organizations could get together and come up with something like Christian musicians have done where an organization could pay a fee of $100 to $500 per year to get an overall license for using copyrighted materials throughout their organization. It would provide payment to the copyright holders, but also put the use of materials at a level that organizations could afford.

Flash Mobs, Body of Christ and Mission Leader Training

Today, Jeannie sent me a link to a flash mob video from a store in Canada. I had read about flash mobs, but was not aware of the video files that show some of their more public venures, singing, dancing and freeze action posing in a public place.

The first thing I thought when I saw this was isn’t this an amazing picture of the function of the Body of Christ in the world. One of my mentors, Pastor Ray Stedman, talked about the Kingdom of God as “God’s secret government of the earth.”

So when I see dozens or hundreds of seemingly normal people, in a very public venue, in the middle of their daily activities, suddenly breaking into a choral rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus, it quickly becomes obvious that they have a different agenda, and are responding to different cues, on a different timetable than others around them.

But isn’t this what we are supposed to be doing every day, all day? Not singing or dancing (at least not for people like me) but going about my daily schedule with a different agenda, a different purpose, responding to different cues, and looking for a different response?

Of course, I couldn’t go far without reflecting on how this kind of technique might be used on some of our training events. For example, use a prepared role play which would emerge naturally from a session with no introduction or instruction that would make it appear to be anything other than part of the dialogue in a session. Or have three or four people, at a particular point in the session, again with no introduction or announcement, stand and read something aloud in unison. (that might even wake up some of the people in the class).

Well that little bit of output has probably used up all my creative juices for the week. I think it’s time for a nap.