You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

It was refreshing to see the Daily Mail taking a constructive stance on the game industry over the weekend, even if the issue at hand was not a positive one.

The article – in The Mail on Sunday – highlighted the fact there are now several dozen ‘video game’ degrees being offered by UK universities (over 80 I believe) but that only four of these are accredited by the industry sector skills council, SkillSet, resulting in a host of, as the Mail put it; “Mickey Mouse degrees with little job relevance.”

Having written about this subject previously and as some one who was involved in a small way in the SKillset initiative and as an external industry reviewer of one institution’s curriculum I find this depressing. The UK is poised to be churning out several thousand ‘game degree graduates’ each year for a UK industry that currently employs less than ten thousand people in all capacities. There are far too many universities which are mashing together existing computer science and creative modules together and marketing them as being relevant to the games industry. At the same time companies are crying out for talented, motivated and well-trained people and cannot fill key position…at least not without paying ridiculous salaries.

Employers need graduates with specialisms e.g in 3D modelling, mathematics, physics or script-writing. Universities are providing courses that cover practically every job function in the industry meaning that whilst graduates may have an appreciation of all the different roles, they are equipped for non of them and thus place a heavy responsibility on companies to provide a huge amount of training for new hires.

Whilst the remit of educational institutions is to ‘educate’ not to train (e.g. in specific software packages) – and we must not ignore this – it is painfully apparent that there is a gross mismatch in courses which are supposed to equip graduates with the skills they need to gain employment and the real world needs of employers in this sector.

Until this matter is resolved, thousands of motivated and talented young people face having their dreams dashed and many companies will struggle to be competitive. When you consider that the cost of undertaking a degree can be calculated at £100,000 through loss of income, fees and living costs and that employers will increasingly need to offshore work in order to deliver then clearly this situation is failing UK Plc and needs to be tackled urgently.


Wow typing a blog whilst listening, digesting and IM’ing in a webinar is hard….SABA webinar blog notes:

Future of Learning: What You Need to Know About Web 2.0

SABA spiel: In the last couple of years, people have moved on from talking about whether or not organisations could benefit from informal learning initiatives, to a discussion on how to best implement formal and informal learning models. How people learn is now as important as what people learn. Organisations that appreciate these new learning styles and provide their employees with Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, blogs, video capturing and editing applications, virtual worlds etc have a greater advantage to creating a successful learning process. Individuals want to create their own content, provide information and share it with their colleagues.

A.G. Lambert from Saba, presents this webinar to advise you in the best-practice integration and use of Web 2.0 technologies into tomorrow’s Learning 2.0 solutions.

This webinar demonstrates:
– How to leverage a unified strategy for Learning 2.0
– An understanding of blending formal and informal learning with Web 2.0 technologies
– How to offer support for peer-to-peer learning and communities of practice
– How to capture the knowledge of internal experts or groups

‘AG’ started by asking the question: “How does eLearning and web 2.0 mashup? What is learning 2.0, how is it relvant and where do you start?” – which pretty much sums up the rest of the webinar.

[Note, SABA content (as ‘rescribed’ by me) in itallics]

CLO survey (“several hundred senior HR/CLO folks) – key challenge is “Building a leadership pipeline” – how do you predict future skills, find & predict leaders and foster collaboration in an adaptive workforce?

People learn significantly from their peers as opposed to actual or virtual instrutor. Individual direct their own learning. This learning is often unstructured. You find an expert who helps.

GEN Y / The ‘millenials’ are 10% of workforce right now but growing. They have grown up with technology and are looking for a “highly interactive session where they are constantly able to access the people and linformation that they need as opposed to being told to sign up for a course that starts in a month or so”.

Need for traditional learning is not going away but needs of younger workers needs additional methods/approach.

How does Web 2.0 mean to learning?

SABA definition of (and history of) Web 2.0….

1st Phase – Original publishing models (AOL etc)  were very structured. AOL editors had responsibility to ensure relevant information available to users.

2nd Phase – YAHOO etc, users became very much more active (define what yu want + contribute). Still hierarchical (first gen search).

Now – GOOGLE etc what are the interactions between the users? Examine this to determine the most relevant content. The users (crowd) is determining th eprocess, relevance – collective wisdom drives results. Not ‘management’ – is dynamic. Is not web site owner but web site users that determine relevance/ranking of content etc.

SABA conclusion – unlike Web 2.0 is NOT evolution (in learning) but rather an augmentation of current methods. I guess this links to the fact that audience is mix of Gen X and Gen Y and therefore SABA are acutley aware that they cannot completely change the way they sell solutions.

SABA take on ‘augmenation’ – how use wikis, blogs etc to drive collaboration and sharing of expertise?

Web 2.0 is everywhere – they referenced Time Magazine (“You being person of the year”) – key to Web 2.0, service centres on user. Made obvious references to YouTube, online bookmarking services, YAHOO Groups, NetFlix and web 2.0 usage of using the crowd to write reviews and drive value of services/products.

“You go the web to write as well as to read now.” – the “read/write web”

YouTube would be nothing if users didn’t publish. The end users are creating the network (and the content).

Collective Intelligence – how do you increase the relevancy and knowledge of the network based on the people that are using it? O’Reilly reference – the (web 2.0) service gets better the more people that use it.

SABA Analogy – picture a jar full of jelly beans. Do you get a single ‘expert’ who could estimate the number of jelly beans, or do you get 100 ‘normal’ people to guestimate and average the results. In most cases (according to ‘research’ – apparenlty) the crowd will very often be more accurate than the (single) expert.

US Dept of Labor stats – 70% of learning on the job is informal.

Current knowledge management systems (with formal taxonmmies) fail to capture knowledge in real world. To a large extent the results of these knowledge management initiatives have not delivered hoped-for results, are expensive and people don’t contribute. Obviously this is the complete opposite of what successfull web 2.0 services achieve.

Key message – moving from ‘delivering learning’ to ‘enabling learning’ – turns traditional principles on their head. Learning leaders become brokers or merchants – an interesting way of viewing the changing nature of learning.

My Q (not answered!) – how do organisations assess the impact? Organisations need ROI data or believable evidence in order to spend funds/make transition.

SABA – how do you give up control? People could be seen as a ‘renegade’ as opposed to ‘Comrades’. Organisations need to manage the contributions but encourage diversity and multiple points of view. Bringing in infrastructure (obviously where the SABA sales pitch kicks in) – SABA Centra.

How do you eliminate barriers to publishing?  How do you eliminate silos….but protect sensitive information.

All about how you think – how do you become as broker of learning as opposed to a publisher of learning?

Highlighted tagging of information as opposed to complex taxonmies.

Need a universal “governance-enabled’ approach – assume this is where you try and protect/control as all large orgs will still endeavour to achieve as the concept is alien to most.

Finding the right tools

Ref Bersin diagram – time sensitivity vs content sensitivity

Bersin Diagram from SABA webinar

Bersin Diagram from SABA webinar

Ref ‘Multiple aspects of learning 2.0 diagram – contribute, search/discover, rate & rank and connect & network – all the ‘connected community’

SABA diagram (multiple aspects of learning)

SABA diagram (multiple aspects of learning)

Using the context of the person in order to understand the value/relevancy of their contribution e.g. their rating on a competency area.


[1] wikis (prone to ‘vandalism’ but self-correcting – wouldn’t use for nuclear power plant safety plan!, discussions (well accepted, understood), blogs (encourage self-expression and sharing + easy to publish), eMeeting/editing, podcasting (great for rapid information broadcast) and a knowledge base.

Example…Showed example of Motorola using Wikis to support customers in using mobile phones – see image

[2] Search & discovery – a unified search is invaluable to capturing the value of learning 2.0. Search courses and all media/content – codified content + informal content all usable in a single ‘session’. Easy to subscribe – e.g. RSS readers, communities of practice, shared bookmarks etc.

SABA Image - Unified Search

SABA Image - Unified Search

Quote from BestBuy (see image)

SABA - Best Buy quote

SABA - Best Buy quote

[3] Evaluation & Ranking – being able to understand what is valuable (and what is not!). Users doing the work for you (SABA in this case) for free!

Showed user-created SABA USers Forum with ranking/evaluation

[4] Connecting & Networkingobviously SABA say Centra is a great tool. I cannot say either way but it looks fine.

IBM image (Second Life)

Poll – less than 50% of audience had ever created an avatar in a virtual world

Food for thought………

The importance of Search & Discovery, Compelling Experience and User Engagement?

How streamline learning content? How make it easy for community to participate? If you don’t you will have “structures that are empty”.

Have a “Plan B” – 2.0 methods not necessarily better…just different. Remember many people born prior to 1960.

Emphasise network creation. Look at adding value, connecting people to people. What pre-event interactions can you provide to get people connected and what can you do after an event to maintan it? CoP’s around subject area, job role etc.

Set expectations – sharing is lonely (at first). Often a 6 months difficult period where you feel that you are throwing our information intot he void with little response before community builds. Promote good channels of communication.

Learning technology – moving from managing and tracking to managing growing content

Create a Tipping POint – create critical mass yourself. Record subject experts, get enough valuable content ‘out there’ to get people to consume an dthen they will contribute.

Conclusion – L2.0 is about creating adaptive learners and adaptive organisations. Lifelong learners, Empower to drive own learning and contribute more = adaptive organisation.

Link to playback URL – TBC

A funny aside, after preaching about sharing, wisdom of crouds, group discussions etc, SABA decided not to have any Q&A session.

How ironic.


It seems that all of a sudden the established players in the eLearning world are waking up to learning 2.0. The question, though, is do they really understand it and are they truly serious….or are they simply jumping on the bandwagon after seeing the success of much more innovative and smaller companies around the world.

SABA have a free whitepaper available entitled “Learning 2.0: Using Web 2.0 to Create Effective Informal Learning.” You can get it for free by registering at the following URL (albeit you may have to pretend that you really want to buy a new LMS!:

Overview (from SABA web site):

“While the size of the workforce is declining in North America, Europe, and Japan, the span of generations within the workforce is increasing. For the first time we have five different generations working together. Each generation is made up of a group of people who were born at approximately the same time and considered as a group having shared interests and attitudes. Therefore, the people collaborating and competing with each other in the newly flat world are multi-dimensional and these various dimensions must be accounted for in order to maximize individual and organizational performance.”

Don’t miss these key takeaways!

  1. Create a blended informal and formal learning model to meet the needs of today’s multigenerational workforce
  2. Understand the use of Web 2.0 tools, such as wikis, blogs, video capturing and editing applications, and virtual worlds for informal learning purposes
  3. Use technology for just-in-time information, accelerated time to competency, extended global reach and increased resource productivity

The SVW 08 event is confirmed for 11th and 12th September in Coventry, UK. Details below or visit


Keynote Speakers Confirmed:

Christian Renaud, Claus Nehmzov, Bruce Damer and David Wortley

Feedback from last years event included;

‘Extremely informative!’, ‘Exceptional speakers!’, ‘A flawless event!’

We have created this years conference to be our finest yet!

Building on the real success of first Serious Virtual Worlds conference in 2007 this is your invitation to be a part of the newly emerging professional community for the serious uses of virtual worlds. Serious Virtual Worlds’08 is the only event focussing on the serious uses of these environments.

SVW’08 will address the live issue of how virtual worlds will cross boundaries both between the real world and virtual worlds and between virtual worlds. As people spend increasing time in virtual worlds how will they interoperate between these virtual and real spaces? SVW’08 is the only international event that takes these leading edge issues and addresses them in a compact 2 day event.

twitter me

Share this blog

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: