Active Learning, Active Training, game theory, Resources for Trainers

Book Review: A New Culture of Learning

Last week I spent 4 hours standing in a line at the airport, only to not be able to fly out at all. Thank goodness I had my Nook with me and made lots of progress on Hunger Games. Thanks to Heather Braum, I also had A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown with me and was able to read it, too. At only 137 pages, it was a quick read, but very affirming. If you’re a trainer or an educator and you’re thinking about the future, I recommend this book.

If travel plans had gone as scheduled, I was on my way to Houston to deliver a workshop on technology training. The workshop was created in collaboration with Stephanie Gerding, my friend and the author of The Accidental Technology Trainer. Stephanie and I have known each other for a long time now and our approach to training is very similar. The ideas in the New Culture of Learning really fit with the active approach to technology training that we discuss. Many of the ideas in the book were not new to me, however, the final chapter covered Game Theory and I realized this is something about which I would like to learn more (it also had me thinking about starting to play World of Warcraft!!). If you have resource suggestions for reading more on this, I’d love to hear them.


A New Culture of Learning website

Active Learning, Active Training

School – Smart Mob Style

This isn’t a “training” example really; it’s a teaching example instead (teaching/training – boundaries between the two blur). Many of you may be familiar with Kansas State University Professor Michael Wesch because of the innovative videos he and his students have created. I read his blog regularly and am often inspired by his unique approach.

The latest post, “How to get students to find and read 94 articles before the next class,” is a great example of active learning. Rather than handing students a syllabus with a list of articles they should read, students were asked to find, read and summarize articles for the class. ZohoCreator helped pull it all together in an online database that was easily accessible for the class members. The topic was online anonymity and you can see the product of the student work here.

Active Learning, Active Training, Train the trainer opportunities

Ye Old Snowball Fight

I don’t think I have talked about the snowball fight as a training technique here on the blog, but it’s a favorite. Stephanie Gerding and I talked about it in yesterday’s MaintainIT train-the-trainer webinar and Paul Signorelli liked the idea and described it quite well over on the Infoblog. Thanks for the great post,  Paul,  and thanks as always to Stephanie for being an inspiration.

Active Learning, Resources for Trainers, Train the trainer opportunities

Pre-conference at Internet Librarian

One week from today, Stephanie Gerding and I will be presenting a preconference at Internet Librarian in Monterey. The session is called “The Accidental Trainer”.


If you are like most “accidental” library technology trainers, you are expected to take on computer training in your library, often with little or no previous experience or instruction. This workshop addresses the most common concerns of newly minted technology trainers, recommends great tools and techniques, and shares helpful advice from many years of coordinating and providing training for libraries of all types around the country. If you are responsible for technology training — whether in computer labs, classrooms, or one-on-one with library users or staff — join us for this workshop. You will learn why learning styles are important, how to create a learning community, strategies for communicating about technology, techniques for using activities, storytelling, and case studies to increase learning and retention.

Can’t wait to be in Monterey, to work with Stephanie, and to see other friends, too. Plus OCEAN!

Active Learning

From the screen to the brain

Jean Montgomery, with the Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation (MI), shared a new website with me, created by the Michigan Coop directors to disseminate information about library training opportunities in the state. As I was looking at the first two training announcements, I noticed they both are virtual (or potentially virtual). It got me thinking about training in an online environment.

Continue reading “From the screen to the brain”

Active Learning

Tell me a story

I posted on MaintainIT’s blog today about the power of stories for capturing and sharing technology troubleshooting tips. I was inspired by a chapter in Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind. I wanted to cross-post/link here, too, because I think this is important to think about from a training perspective. I have worked with a lot of technology trainers and the best use this strategy regularly — frame the information you want to convey as a story. As Stephanie Gerding says in her book The Accidental Technology Trainer, “Illustrative stories can communicate pertinent messages with humor, insight, and the experience of the trainer” (p 149). In addition to using story-telling as a strategy for delivering information, training can also provide an opportunity for participants to tell stories to one another. As Pink says in the book, “We are our stories.”

Flickr Creative Commons

Active Learning, Tools for trainers

23 Things — Minnesota Style

Like all good Minnesotans who have moved away from the homeland, I see it as my duty to inform the rest of the world about my home state. If a MN company is mentioned in conversation, for example, (Best Buy, Target, Aveda, Hormel…), I make sure everyone knows it’s a MN company that has been mentioned. In conversations about music, I can almost always find a way to make a connection to Prince or The Replacements or Husker Du or Bob Dylan or some other Minnesota music maker. People often bring up Garrison Keillor, but I make sure they know Louise Erdrich, Leif Enger, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are MN authors, too. It is very important to me, therefore, to make sure you know how cool the recent Minnesota library learning program, 23 Things on a Stick, is. Even if not from MN, I’m sure I would be impressed with the way the Minnesotans have taken the idea and run with it in a big way.

Many, many moons ago my friend and hero Ruth Solie of the Northern Lights Library Network told me about an idea she and the other multi-type directors were considering… taking the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County’s 23 Things program and running it statewide. That little idea sparked a hugely successful project. During the first round of 23 Things on a Stick, many participated in the program and a good share of them completed it. By popular demand, a second round will run from May 15-September 15, 2008. Check out the project website to view some of the blogs and other projects that are the result of this program.