Tom Spiglanin

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Microlearning: Fab or Fad?

Tom Spiglanin

There’s a new buzzword in town, and it’s name is microlearning. Like its predecessors social learning, mobile learning, and blended learning, it’s being tossed around as the new big thing, something we must all get on board with or face extinction. This begs the question asked of every one of its predecessors: is it really fab and here to stay, or is it just a passing fad? 27 Feb.

Motivated Learners Find A Way

Tom Spiglanin

Let me start by introducing my daughter, Arianna. She’s now seven, and she has cerebral palsy. She’s unable to sit upright or stand and is virtually nonverbal. For more than six years, Ari could communicated by visually responding to questions, expressing emotion with her face, or glancing toward something she wants. Learning despite awkward design. Restrictions on learning.

It’s Happening…

Tom Spiglanin

For some time now, a number of us in the Learning and Development (L&D) field have predicted and/or feared the obsolescence of our role in workplace learning. Formal training has never represented the preponderance of workplace learning, far surpassed by informal social learning and mentoring. Jane Hart recently posed the question, “What would happen if there were no L&D department?”

The State of Instructional Design

Tom Spiglanin

The conversation erupted on social media, as it has before, about the state of affairs in the field of Learning and Development, or L&D. 1 The conversation was generally about how we have all been committed to changing the practice of L&D for years, yet we were having much the same conversation all over again. Less than a week later, Andrew Jacobs wrote very similar thoughts. ” 2.

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Your Network is Calling

Tom Spiglanin

Much has been said about the benefits of a personal learning network, or PLN. A PLN can help you through challenging times, when creativity is at a low. It’s also a “place” to share new ideas and get feedback, not to mention a way to stimulate new ideas or choose a new direction, all to the benefit of one’s workplace. This happened to me just yesterday. Thanks for reading!

I Believe in the Importance of Personal Knowledge Management

Tom Spiglanin

Today we can find virtually anything we need to know on the Internet, whenever we need it, from wherever we are. But how do we sort through all this information, effectively filter content, judge the good from bad, and make sense of it all? How do we find things we’re not looking for but really need? The answer lies across several domains of a knowledge worker’s practice. tomspiglani n.

I Believe in the Importance of a Personal Learning Network

Tom Spiglanin

When I started using Twitter for my professional growth and development, I didn’t realize that I was also starting to build my personal learning network. I simply found myself tweeting at a learning and development conference using its hashtag and others began connecting with me. After the conference, I discovered Twitter chats and began participating in them regularly. Mark Sheppard.

I Believe that Learning is Inherently Social

Tom Spiglanin

Most of us remember many lessons we learned from others in our early childhood, both in the home and outside. We then started school and learned from teachers, but also by watching, playing, and talking with our friends. As we grew, lessons in school became more complex and required more time for homework. This is not to say that everything we know or can do was learned socially. ” 5. 1991).

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The Work-Life Balance Myth

Tom Spiglanin

Every fifteen to twenty years, a new generation enters the workplace. This seems always accompanied by a global debate about how the workplace should to adapt to meet the needs of these newest employees in order to attract and retain the best talent. For example, the 1990’s saw the workplace arrival of Generation X. For those of us already in the workplace, it seemed not a moment too soon.

KM 94

I Believe in the Value of Sharing

Tom Spiglanin

As a workplace professional, I believe strongly in the value of sharing. I’m not talking about the monetary value of a social share (which business people are keen on doing ), but rather the less tangible value that comes from sharing knowledge, making an individual more productive, effective, and efficient. Children need to be taught to share; it’s not instinctive. Thinks. Learns.

“Good Enough” in Learning and Development

Tom Spiglanin

The nearly poetic tweet by Marcia Conner appeared at the top of my feed with just the title of a linked article: When “Good Enough” is Good Enough. And it was good enough, compelling me to click and read. ” 2. In fact, these are all related and applicable to L&D in many ways. The Pareto Principle. Perhaps a 90% solution is good enough at times, or even a 95 or 99% solution.

The Demise of E-learning (the brand)

Tom Spiglanin

It was 1996, and many of us in training organizations around the world were just beginning to use the early tools to move training to the personal computer. Our first products, known simply as Computer Based Training, or CBT, had no inherent dissemination method, instead relying on distribution of diskettes or CD-ROMs. Within a few years, however, they began to focus nearly exclusively on the Web.

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I Believe in the 70:20:10 framework

Tom Spiglanin

Charles Jennings promotes a 70:20:10 framework for organizational learning, where on-the-job experiential/informal learning and social learning represent the preponderance of each employee’s overall learning. Only 10% is from formal learning activities. The reason this framework works is that it more or less reflects what’s actually true for employees in the typical workplace. tomspiglanin.

Revisiting 70:20:10

Tom Spiglanin

This past week there was an impromptu Twitter discussion about the “70:20:10” notion of learning in the workplace, where about 70 percent of workplace learning is experiential (basically doing the work), about 20 percent is learning from others, and just 10 percent is from training or other formal learning intervention. Still, there were a few questions and statements that surprised me.

The Burden to Have an Informed Opinion

Tom Spiglanin

The conversation took place nearly two years ago and it still bothers me. I was taking a stand against accommodating learning styles and cited several online articles supporting my position. Each referenced valid research but were, themselves, blog posts. I was met with surprisingly stubborn opposition. “Those are just opinions. Anybody can write their opinion. ” ~ Patti Shank.

I Believe in the Erosion of Hierarchies

Tom Spiglanin

It might be a surprise that I place the erosion of hierarchies as one of my top beliefs about workplace learning. In the last several articles , we focused on aspects of the changing workplace and also discussed behaviors that those of us in the learning and development (L&D) role can adopt to help improve our effectiveness. Most organizations are hierarchical. Why the Hierarchy is Evolving.

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I Believe in the Many Emerging Roles for Learning and Development Professionals

Tom Spiglanin

The 70:20:10 framework helps to put the work of learning and development (L&D) organizations into perspective within the whole of employee learning ( previous article ). That leaves the question of what, if anything, should L&D do to facilitate the over 90% of learning that takes place outside of its traditional role. I learned quickly how wrong I was. There was a company culture to learn.

FocusOn Learning Conference – Day 2

Tom Spiglanin

This is my fourth post about the FocusOn Learning conference that wrapped in Austin, Texas. This video log discusses day 2 of the conference. Thanks for watching! tomspiglanin. This work by [link] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at International License. Based on a work at

Ten Things I Believe About Workplace Learning

Tom Spiglanin

For nearly three years, I’ve been exploring social learning, informal learning, and the changing workplace. My beliefs about workplace learning have evolved quite a bit over those years, partly by experimenting with new ideas and learning from the results, both positive and negative. But now I’m getting well ahead of myself. The 70:20:10 framework. The value of connectedness.

PKM 51

Checking In

Tom Spiglanin

I’m busy preparing for the FocusOn Learning conference that will be taking place 8-10 June in Austin, Texas. I’m leading a pre-conference workshop titled Guerrilla Video Techniques for Beginners, as well as two conference sessions. Yet another reason to love my network, but also a reminder to check in. So here is a brief, off-the-top-of-my-head summary of what’s going on. Video.

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I Believe in the Inverse Relationship Between Experience and the Value of Formal Learning

Tom Spiglanin

If Learning and Development organizations (or anyone, for that matter) are going to facilitate learning in the changing workplace, it’s vitally important to understand how employees actually learn. To be clear, I’m not talking about learning styles or preferences, nor am I making assumptions about attention spans or preferences for the format of information. My “Ah ha!”

My First Vlog (video log)

Tom Spiglanin

After studying Casey Neistat’s vlog, I decided I had no excuse to jot just jump in and get started. This is my first effort. It was shot entirely using an iPhone and occasionally a Joby Gorillapod. I’d love to hear your thoughts, but look for more of these from me on occasion. And special thanks to Colin Steed and Brent Schlenker for encouraging words and support. Thanks for watching!

Learning and the Changing Workplace – Part 3

Tom Spiglanin

In part 1 of this series , I wrote how the field of Learning and Development* (L&D) hasn’t really changed much over the last decade, despite substantial changes in the workplace. Part 2 addressed how even more changes are coming to the workplace , with or without L&D as a partner, as organizations move to cloud-based infrastructures. Wirearchies will result, even if unplanned.

Are you transparent?

Tom Spiglanin

Do you cringe when you hear the word, “Transparency?” ” I do, and I hear it all too often. We expect our government to be transparent. Managers talk of their transparency in the workplace. Workers complain of a lack of transparency in management. Public officials call for transparency in their agencies. The fact is, most people want transparency from others. That’s why I cringe.

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Learning and the Changing Workplace – Part 1

Tom Spiglanin

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of workplace Learning and Development* (L&D) or, more specifically, about the evolution of the workplace and the changing role of L&D in it. I’m not alone, of course. Jon Husband ( ), Harold Jarche ( ), and Jane Hart ( It seems nothing much has changed. Thanks for reading! tomspiglanin.

Emergence of the Performance Catalyst

Tom Spiglanin

I’ve worked in the field of Learning and Development (L&D) now for nearly two decades. I’ve been fortunate to have seen and work through some pretty big changes in approaches to workplace learning. Three decades ago, learning in the workplace was predominantly face-to-face. Just as now, even then most of this learning wasn’t formal. Of course that was only the beginning.

Ten Reasons I Hate Email

Tom Spiglanin

Source Yoel Ben-Avraham on Flikr. I hate email. It’s wasted a lot of my time over the years, and promises to continue. The problem isn’t actually email itself, of course. It’s a perfectly useful communication medium. The problem is in the way it’s used and abused. Email is a default medium. People use it because it’s comfortable. Email invites secondary distribution.


Tom Spiglanin

David Kelly recently wrote a post about, “ How to Recognize Snake Oil in Your Personal Learning Network.” ” Seldom do I read a post beginning to end more than once, but I read this one three times through, and then began dissecting the key messages therein. I found it provocative, and that fits the criteria for a really good article. A seaworthy ship has integrity. Own it.

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It’s Not Personal

Tom Spiglanin

I recently witnessed several surprising examples of miscommunication on Twitter and Skype. Tension rose between people I thought were friends and harsh words were typed. How could congenial conversation suddenly turn ugly? Communication is an extraordinarily complex phenomenon that many of us take for granted. We talk with our hands, our eyes, and our whole bodies at times. Thanks for reading.