Another tdc: #613

Second TDC in a week! It feels good to be doing them again, making time in my brain to look and think about how I might approach a creative challenge.  The two things I always keep in mind when doing them are:

  • Come up with an idea, then dismiss it and think beyond it. I’ve always taken to heart the TDC suggestion that often your first instinct may not be your best work. And I’ve found it to be true time and time again.
  • Remember they’re only supposed to take 15-20 mins, and involve minimal editing. I find this liberating, because it means you can let go of the pressure of creating perfection, and just create. Just make art, dammit. Not high art, just art. And art is simply a form of expression. It ain’t a competition.

So…today’s daily create:

Take a photo that represents the TDC idea of regular exercises of creativity

The photo that the brief refers to is so brilliant that it takes away the temptation to even try and match it. But it did get me visualising scenes of tai-chi at dawn in a beautiful green park. I thought about taking a photo of that. But, although we do have quite a lovely park nearby, no-one does tai chi there. Actually thinking about it now, there may be a couple of people who do, but it was already past dawn. And I wasn’t about to head over there in my PJs.

I was up with my just-turned-3-year-old, and watching him, realised I had the perfect subject. He has been my muse for these daily creates, and I often involve him in doing them with me. Just cos it’s fun. I thought about how I could integrate him into the themes of exercise and creativity. I thought about taking a pic of him doing a ‘stunt jump’ (the jumps does when he ‘practices’ doing skateboard stunts….p.s. there’s a skate ramp at our local park: enough said!).

But then, he started playing with lego. And I started taking some snaps of him doing that. And then I made the connection: for kids, playing is often, creating. And, they play, daily.  So, here ’tis:

Daily creating_sm

Daily creating

After I took this one (above) and looked at it, I noticed a couple of other things that, purely accidentally, fit quite nicely with the theme: the train ticket (for my daily journey to work), and the bag on the chair in the background, with a slogan which reads: “because even the little things can make a difference” (cf. tdc: a little thing that can make a difference to your creativity). The serentipidous connections are always the best.

Daily play_sm

Daily playing

On the down side, I still haven’t written up my MA research proposal. Yikes. I really am using tdc as a form of procrastination…

Well, at least it’s artistic procrastination. And it’s gotta be a helluva lot more fun than cleaning the bathroom to procrastinate, right?

‘Procrastinating’…with DS106 tdc611

I have many many half started, half finished blog posts – possibly close to 10. I think it’s because I have a lot of ideas about what I’d like to write about, start, then never finish. Posts always seem so clear in my head, but when I get down to writing them it takes a lot longer than I anticipate to construct them into a complete and coherent structure.

But perhaps I’m trying too hard. The original intent of this blog was a space for reflection, which means semi-coherent-stream-of-consciousness-thoughts-in-progress are acceptable. So, inspired by Julian Stodd’s post on the reason for reflection I’m abandoning / ‘procrastinating’ my intended post for something fun and lighthearted: a DS106 daily create (tdc611):

Create an interesting high contrast black and white image of an easily overlooked object.

Oft Overlooked Car

One of the dozens of small cars that may be found in every nook and cranny of the house. The one he wants is, of course, the one that can never be found.

Looking at the example from the original brief, I know mine isn’t *quite* right; it’s not high contrast enough – those cars should be less grey and more black or white. Probably because they weren’t sufficiently monotone in the original pic. It’s possibly something I could fix with more editing but I didn’t really want to spend all night on it (tdcs are supposed to be 15 minute challenges after all…!). Regardless, it’s good to get back into daily creates after not having looked at one for a few weeks. I’ll be trying to get back to at least 1 or 2 a week. The challenge is making space and time for everything I’d like to do, without total chaos descending. That’s still a work in progress.

Towards sustainable eLearning development

One of the challenges emerging within our centralised OD structure is how to sustainably support the needs of 5 diverse organisations with fewer resources than we previously had supporting just one.  The challenge exists across the range of OD services, but as the person responsible for eLearning, I’ve been pondering how we might work towards a sustainable eLearning design and development model. Here are some approaches I think are worth experimenting with:

Develop collaborative partnerships

There are opportunities to develop collaborative partnerships to share eLearning design and development effort. These include:

  • Partnerships with external vendors and/or contractors: rather than outsourcing an entire eLearning project, do all or part of the design (high level design spec and/or storyboard / scripting) internally and outsource the development / build. This reduces the cost and makes the best use of resources because we are best placed to understand the business, audience, and work context (critical for developing an appropriate design approach), and development of a design spec can feasibly be incorporated as an extension of initial scoping and consultation required for any project. Module build requires a concerted block of time and effort which I don’t often have.
  • Partnerships with the business or SMEs: there are currently pockets of the business with eLearning authoring tools and skills, and who have been doing their own design and development for some time. We can add value by providing advice, mentoring, reviewing / refining their work, and/or collaborating on design and development.
  • Cross-cluster collaboration: whilst there are 5 separate transport agencies, there is an opportunity for cross-cluster collaboration on  projects where a common need exists. This enables budgets to be pooled, reduces duplication and increases efficiency. This approach works with much compliance content (e.g. bullying & harassment, office ergonomics / manual handling, information security…).
  • Partner with comms: there may be an opportunity to partner more closely with comms, where the need relates to general ‘awareness raising’. Either in developing a comms solution instead of a ‘learning’ or ‘training’ solution or comms + learning/training (see also final point “Consider whether eLearning or training is an appropriate solution at all”).

Modular design for reuse and repurposing

Taking a modular design approach –  develop small, self contained modules each covering a single topic, rather than one (say, 45 minute) module covering a number topics. This can increase the capacity for reuse and repurposing of content across diverse business and audience groups: modular content opens up the possibility of mixing and matching modules to create customised learning programs for different groups (e.g. Safety intro + office ergonomics + manual handling for office workers VS Safety intro + PPE + manual handling for field based staff).

Review and customise existing content

Rather than creating a custom solution from scratch, review existing content that may exist across the cluster, and look at customising that to meet the need. Sure there may need to be some compromises made, but in an age where change is constant, content dates rapidly – almost immediately in some instances. In this climate it may not be worth the time, effort and money required to create custom content.

Purchase off-the-shelf content

Look at whether a suitable off-the-shelf solution exists before considering custom content development. Ideally off-the-shelf content is also developed in an authoring tool we own so that content can be edited in-house.

Content curation

Curating content from a variety of sources rather than creating original content. Basically an extension of the above approaches.

Supporting user generated content and collaborative knowledge sharing

Rather than creating and delivering / broadcasting content, give employees the opportunity to create and share their own content / learning / resources with others. A collaborative ‘bottom up’, rather than authoritative ‘top down’ approach. Essentially, it’s supporting the organic social learning and knowledge sharing that often already happens in most teams and business units.  The opportunity is to make the sharing more widespread, and for OD to support it by providing platforms for doing it, and helping to develop the skills that enables it to be done effectively.

Consider whether eLearning or training is an appropriate solution at all

Really look at whether eLearning content needs to be developed to meet the need at all.  Or whether, in fact, it is even the most effective way to address the need. This requires good front end analysis, and thinking outside the training mindset. This may often lead to a performance support solution instead of, or alongside, some smaller training intervention. Cathy Moore has a most excellent post and flowchart to help decide if training really is the answer.