Posts Tagged ‘Collaborative Learning’

Examples of continuous, collaborative and collective Learning

November 12, 2009

1) Weight Watchers: Peer learning & support to a sustainable change of eating behaviour.
Probably one of most difficult learning endeavours is to change one’s eating behaviour
When Jean Nidetch in 1961 at the age of 38 went on a diet sponsored bz the New York City Department of Health she lost 20 pounds within 10 weeks, but also started to lose her motivation to continue. Only after she realized that what she needed was to talk to someone she had the inspiration to bring the diet program to her friends’ livnig rooms in Queens. They started to loose weith together. These meeting eventually turned into Weight Watchers one of the most widely recognized and effective weight-loss programs.
Reference: Feruzzi, Keith: Who’s got your back

2) Diversity of thinking: Game Show Who Wants to be a Millionaire
In this TV show the contestants are asked multiple choice questions with four answer options. The contestants have three jokers to work with: a) two choices of answers removed b) call a friend c) poll the audience. After analyzing the TV shows polling the audience led to a 91% chance to get the right answer versus calling a friend with 65% chance to get the right answer.
Reference: Surowiecki, James: The Wisdom of Crowds

3) Collective and collaborative informal learning: Interesting Example from Nucor

Summary: One of Nucor’s unit faced quality issues with the parts they produced. Supervisors would
bring this faulty part to the workers responsible and tell them how to improve. No sustainable change was observed, morale was down. The new leader of the unit Ken Iverson instead would collect all the faulty parts and in display those at the center of the foundry. About six weeks later the quality improved as employees had gathered around the parts and discussed among them how to improve the quality. It was a self directed collective and collaborative learning.

Further Reading:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

Key Learning from Toastmasters History

September 1, 2009

firstofficialtoastmastersclubThe Best way to share with you my key learning as Toastmasters is by looking at the history of Toastmasters

And I hope the history of Toastmasters will enlighten you to follow your vision – it all started small.

How did all start?

It began with one man who initiated Toastmasters and a few members and now Toastmasters has more than 500 000 members worldwide.

This is Dr. Ralph Smedley who had the idea of Toastmasters. Dr. Smedley was born in 1878 and graduated from Illionois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in 1903.

He became the Educational Director of the YMCA in Bloomington and realized soon that his young men had a need for speech training. And he also learned that with a speaking class, literary or debating society he would not attract them.

He settled on the idea of a social club meeting weekly devoted to practice in short speeches, debates and some work in chairmanship.

The first meeting was held on March, 24 1905. It started of with the dinner which was prepared by the participants and followed by speeches limited to 5 to 6 minutes. The subject was chosen by the speaker. Criticism was given by the older men and a critical discussion among the members, who also expressed their opinion. A rotation of duties for each meeting was established for members taking turns at presiding and speaking.

Very shortly the members noticed a prompt improvement in the speech and as well as in the leadership skills which spelled over into the other clubs at the YMCA

Key Learning’s:
1) Effective Learning is learning by doing and improving through continuous practice and evaluation in a social fun environment.

Why is the official birth date of Toastmasters is October 22, 1924 at the Santa Ana YMCA in California ?

tm_history_santaanna

Between Santa Ana and Bloomington Ralph Smedley moved several times to take on duties at other YMCAs. Each time he started a similar club, but as soon as he left, the club died down.

In Santa Ana he was approached by outside people who wanted to start a similar club. This led Ralph Smedley to write a manual on how to organize these kind of social learning events.

Toastmasters started to grow quickly as it was a simple idea put to work in a simple manner.

Key Learning’s:
2.) Easy to use (first principle) – a simple idea, put to work in a simple manner but if you want something to sustain you need to document it for others. Ralph Smedley also realized this when looking back in his biography.

drralphsmedleyin1920s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Ralph in the 1920s

How did the Toastmasters System evolve?

It was only with the Toastmasters club number 15 in Santa Ana that a new feature the so called Table Topics which are impromptu speeches by members were introduced.

A few years later the first competent communicator curriculumn than called speechcraft was introduced.

Key Learning’s:
3.) Once the fundamental principles are there every else will follow. An idea never starts perfect !!!

The future of Toastmasters ?

TIWH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the world headquarters of Toastmasters connecting now over 500 000 members world wide and growing.

When Dr. Smedley was asked why he never turned his idea into a profitable business, he replied: “I would rather be rich in friendship than in money”.

On June 11 we Toastmasters in DOW joined together in a virtual meeting. Most of Toastmasters in DOW realized that we are spending more and more of our time in virtual teams and meetings and therefore see the need to practice virtual communication and leadership and we can all do this by applying the principles laid by the founder of Toastmaster Dr. Ralph Smedly.

The Final Key Learning’s:
4.) Network your way to your dreams and visions and never stop learning and adapting to the changing environment.

Learning is effective when it is learning by doing and improving through continuous practice and evaluation in a social fun environment even if it virtual.

Furhter Reading:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

Why I am in Love with Collaborative Learning?

September 1, 2008

Actually I always believed learning on my own is the most effective way.

It was only at university where I had an opinion changing experience.

We were about 15 students attending a class together. Our professor was one of the advisors to the German Government. One thing he enjoyed most was thinking out loud in front of our class. The class was officially scheduled for 90 minutes. This did not stop this famous professor to elaborate all aspects of the topic in front of us in a monologue while walking up and down. Needless to say his lecture could last up to 3 or 4 hours without break. We estimated that he walked about a minimum of 10 kilometers during this time. Most of us could not figure out what his key message were and what to learn for the final exam. Not to mention that it was impossible to keep the attention level during this time in the classroom. I still wonder today how I was able not to fall asleep and start snoring. Have you made similar experiences ? (Leave a comment. Thank you.)

Another obvious fact was that there were a large percentage of students who failed the final exam.

The only way I thought to survive the exam was to form a study group. This seemed to be such a good idea that all of the 15 participants joined. Still some of them at the beginning were questioning if studying together will be effective. By the end of the semester we were all fully engaged in this group and prepared the upcoming exam together. The result was better than imagined – None of us failed.

When Mark Zuckerberg was busy founding Facebook a $15 Billion company while at Harvard the final exam in his art course were only one week away and he wasn’t prepared at all for it. “Zuckerberg did what comes naturally to a native of the web. He went to the internet and downloaded images of all the pieces of art he knew would be covered in the exam. He put them on a web page and added blank boxes under each. Then he emailed the address of this page to his classmates, telling them he’d just put up a study guide… The class dutifully came along and filled in the blanks with the essential knowledge about each piece of art, editing each other as they went, collaborating to get it just right… Zuckerberg aced the exam. But here’s the real kicker: The professor said the class as a whole got better grades than usual.” Reference: Jarvis, Jeff: What Would Google Do?, Harper Luxe, page 84.

This was my personal experience. Is there any scientific research confirming my personal success story?

There is a landmark study by Richard J. Light, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Light discovered that one of the strongest determinants of students’ success in higher education – more important than the details of their instructors’ teaching styles – was their ability to form or participate in small study groups. Students, who studied in groups, even only once a week, were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class, and learned significantly more than students who worked on their own.” Seely Brown, John;Adler, Richard P.: “Minds on Fire – Open Education,

But how does it actually work? What does Neuroscience say?

“Your Brain Needs Others”

Ellen Weber, Ph.D., director of the MITA International Brain Based Center in Pittsford, N.Y made the following observation.

“Weber’s recommendation to talk with someone about what you just learned derives from something that neuroscientists are learning more about—the brain as a social animal that needs interaction with others.”

“Because of brain-imaging technologies, we know that we use only 3 percent to 5 percent of our brains,” Weber says. “If you send me to your staff meeting and sit me there and talk to me, I use 3 percent of my brain, and that is the reason I hate being there and why I’m disengaged.””

“However, “If you stir up my environment meaningfully so that I can teach the person next to me something that I [just learned], I will use 90 percent of my brain,” suggests Weber.” Reference: http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0308/0308fox.asp

I am now the President of the corporate Toastmasters club in the company I am working for. Toastmasters mission is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth. During my short time I have seen people developing unbelievable fast. While they used a script in their first speech and showed signs of nervousness most of them did not use a script in their second speech and were comfortably standing in front of the audience. This is just another experience that proves how effective collaborative learning is.

I am now looking for programs to develop collaboratively team skills (effective team meetings, etc.). If you do know any such program or any other collaborative learning programs please leave me a comment. Thank you.

Further Reading:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

Interesting Blog Posts around Development and Web 2.0

March 13, 2008

New:

New: The Road To Financial Armageddon Series
Another interesting story about transformation. This time it is about personal cashflow management. How Trent Hamm managed to turn the looming bankruptcy of his family around and turn it into a sustainable financial success. Cashflow Management is key for any successful sustainable endeavour.

1) Web 2.0 in HCM
What it will do for Human Resources HR function ?

2) My prediction for 2008 – groupware is so cool
Why 2008 will be the year of web based groupware ?

3) Personal Learning Environments
What is are personal Learning Environments and what are their benefits ?

4) All about conferencing
What conference tools are around and what are their costs, etc ?

5) Personal Learning Environment for language learning
What does a Personal Learning Environment for language learning looks like ?
Fanatastic, this is just what I was looking for. This shows the state of the art in learning, wow . It also lists a very interesting free collaborative environment for language learning called MyHappyPlanet.

6) Jobs and Careers in Social and Collaborative Learning
What are the future or emerging jobs in careers in social and collaborative learning ?

7) How to become  a professional blogger ?
This is a great post on professional development. I find this a very good description of how someone transitioned over years into professional blogging. A must read in my opinion.

8) The Ten Most Marketable Web Development Skills ?
What are the current marketable technical skills for a web developper ? This post was published in December 2007. For each technical skill the author listed links to relevant learning resources. Excellent!

9)e-Learning Reloaded: Top 50 Web 2.0 Tools for Info Junkies, Researchers & Students
How to collect all your notes, lists, links, etc. online for free ? How to get 1GB free storage space ? How to create free mindmaps and flowcharts collaboratively ? And many more interesting helpers….

10) How Tom Peters is using a wiki to collect real life management stories ?
Another example on how to collect collabaretively knowledge continuously for your
development.
You want to know about the management guru Tom Peters, check out his Blog.

11) 1000 True Fans
What does it take to build a sustainable living online ? Article by Kevin Kelly, founder executive editor of Wired News.
How this would translate into a winning strategy in making a living through teaching online is explored by Brian clark in his article: A 20-Step Process For Finding Your 1,000 True Fans.

12) Doing Business in Second Life (A Virtual World)
How people make a real living in a virtual environment ? These are one of these emerging jobs that did not exist just a couple of years ago.

Collaborative Learning

February 6, 2008

During my time in university I have experienced the power of collaborative learning myself. We were about 15 students attending a class together. Our professor was one the advisors to the German Government. One thing he enjoyed most was thinking loud in front of this class. The class was officially scheduled for 90 minutes. This did not stop this famous professor to elaborate all aspects of the topic of the class during his lecture in a “dramatic” monologue while walking up and down in front of us. Needless to say that his type of lecture could last until 3 to 4 hours without break. Leaving most of us puzzled what his key message was and what to learn in respect of the final exam at the end of the semester. Not to mention that it was impossible to keep the attention level during this time in the classroom. I still wonder today how I was able to manage not to fall asleep.

Another obvious fact was that there was a large percentage of students who failed the final exam for this class.

The only way I thought about how to survive the exam was to form a study group. This seemed to be a good idea as then all the students of this class attended the study group. I remember some of them questioning at the beginning if studying together will be effective. By the end of the semester we were all fully engaged in this group and prepared the upcoming exam together. The result was better than imagined – None of us failed.

 Now I found a landmark study by Richard J. Light, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Light discovered that one of the strongest determinants of students’ succes in higher education – more important than the details of their instructors’ teaching styles – was their ability to form or participate in small study groups. Students who studied in groups, even only once a week, were more engaged in their studies, were better prepared for class, and learned significantly more than students who worked on their own.” Seely Brown, John;Adler, Richard P.: “Minds on Fire – Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0” Page 18


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