Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 155 - May 2013


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 155 - May 2013


  1. Introduction to the May 2013 Knowledge Letter
  2. There's kids in here who don't learn like that, they need to learn face-to-face.
  3. Knowledge Cafe Masterclass Update
  4. Maybe the real value of a good talk is not in the learning at all
  5. What is a MOOC? It's a Massive Open Online Course.
  6. Resilient Knowledge Management Practice Course
  7. We are betrayed by what we laugh at
  8. Why size matters: groups, dialog and high quality participation
  9. Upcoming Events
  10. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: May 2013
  11. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  12. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the May 2013 Knowledge Letter

Many of you who have participated in one of my knowledge cafes or masterclasses in the past will have received an English version of my Knowledge Cafe Tipsheet.

I am now translating it into a number of local languages.

So far I have the Norwegian (thanks Renny Amundsen), Danish (thanks Bent Schou) and Malaysian (thanks Bank Negara Malaysia) versions complete with Dutch, German, Portuguese, Arabic and Thai in the works and many more planned.

Let me know if you would like a copy of the tipsheet in your language or contact me if you would be happy to translate it into your language for me.

There's kids in here who don't learn like that, they need to learn face-to-face.

You may well have seen this video as it has gone viral. In it, Jeff Bliss, a High School Student in Duncanville, Texas rants at his history teacher about her teaching methods after being kicked out of class. Here are a few things he says in the rant:

"If you would just get up and teach them instead of handing them a freaking packet, yo. There's kids in here who don't learn like that, they need to learn face-to-face."

"You want kids to come to class? You want them to get excited? You gotta come in here, you gotta make 'em excited, to change him and make him better, you gotta touch his freakin' heart.”

And later in an interview he says this: "I want to see a teacher stand up and interact with the students, get involved, discuss, talk, question and dig deep into the subject."

I was educated at a traditional boy's grammar school - most of the teaching was by "chalk and talk" delivered by crusty, aging, male school masters. Strangely, it was considered a good education at the time but one would have hoped that the world had moved on in 50 years since I was a boy.

If this teacher was really "teaching" her class by "handing them freaking packets" then surely that's a retrograde step.

If we are to stand any chance of saving our civilisation education must be transformed.

Original rant by Jeff Bliss in the classroom

Interview with Jeff Bliss

Knowledge Cafe Masterclass Update

I mentioned recently that I was looking for business partners to help me run my Knowledge Cafe Masterclasses.

Well, two of these have so far come to fruition.

The first in Copenhagen on 4 June: Knowledge Café: Facilitér effektiv videndeling i din organisation

And the second in Oslo on 20 June: David Gurteens Kunnskap Café

I am planning to run more in various countries around the world - so get in touch if you think you can help.

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe: SMARTlab at the University of East London

Knowledge Cafés as KM Tools. KM India 2010

Gurteen Knowledge Cafe at KMPAP 2006 in Hong Kong
Introduction to the Knowledge Cafe, Greenwich 2006
KM Egypt
Cairo, 2010
About the Gurteen Knowledge Cafe, 2009

Maybe the real value of a good talk is not in the learning at all

This is an interesting piece of research: Is This Why TED Talks Seem So Convincing? that Johnnie Moore points me to in his blog post The popcorn of learning: And here is the original paper: Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Instructor Fluency Increases Perceptions of Learning Without Increasing Actual Learning.

It seems that we over estimate the learning that we gain through a well delivered presentation such as a TED Talk and that in reality we only learn marginally more from a fluent presenter than we do from a boring one who just reads his or her notes.

We need to keep in mind that this was a rather limited study and probably does not represent fully the true picture. Nevertheless, its a significant and somewhat counter-intuitive finding.

One personal reflection though is that people may be over estimating the value as they enjoyed the more fluent presentation. They were better entertained and felt more stimulated but in reality did not learn a whole lot more than a boring talk.

I see an analogous response when I talk at conferences or workshops about rewards and the fact that the research shows they are ineffective. The most common response to this - is "But I enjoy being rewarded".

There is a big difference though between enjoying something and it being beneficial or good for you!

Another thought. For me what makes a good talk is not the "learning value" but the "inspirational value". The value for me in a talk is if it provokes me to go away and take some form of action such as to do more research of my own on the topic or to actually follow through on some of the "new trains of thought" that an inspiring talk has triggered in my head. Or the conversations it inspires and triggers.

In other words, maybe the real value of a good talk is not in the learning at all.

What is a MOOC? It's a Massive Open Online Course.

If you have ever wondered what a MOOC is but never taken the time to Google it then take e a look at this blog post by Stephen Dale MOOC's – What Are They?

It's a really good overview based on his own experience of participating in one.

What jumped out at me towards the end of the post was this:

Education is primarily driven by motivation, and online learning doesn't do anything to address people's motivational needs. In fact, the nature of online education strips away many of the components that keep students engaged and committed.

Many of the factors that online education advocates claim are a benefit, such as time flexibility and the lack of classrooms, are actually a hindrance to learning.

Studies have shown that a fixed structure and the sense of belonging that comes from a student body improve completion rates.

Allowing students to study on their own removes these components of the support system resulting in lower rates of course completion.

Like Steve, I am not so sure I totally agree but it does remind me of this quotation from Plutarch:

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

Seems to me, this is the key point that is missed in education time and time again.

Resilient Knowledge Management Practice Course

I am often asked to recommend a good Knowledge Management course.

Well here is a week long certified KM course to be held in the UK in August, facilitated by David Griffiths from K3-Cubed

If you are familiar with David's work - you will realise that he is passionate about KM and knows his stuff. Take a look.

We are betrayed by what we laugh at

The words we choose, the metaphors we use, reveal our personality; our attitudes and our thinking.

This is true of face to face conversation and to a lesser degree compuer-based communication. When we communicate electronically we have the ability to edit what we say before we send it but in face to face conversation - things we intend to conceal slip out in the heat of the moment.

But what I think really reveals us - even betrays us - is what we find funny - the jokes we tell and what we laugh at or even what we don't find humorous. Often a grin or a wry smile gives us away.

Our sense of humour is something we find hard to fake or suppress
There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at.

Yet another reason why face to face conversation is so powerful.

Why size matters: groups, dialog and high quality participation

I recently attributed my discovery of a research paper: Group Discussion as Interactive Dialogue or as Serial Monologue: The Influence of Group Size by Nicolas Fay; Simon Garrod; Jean Carletta to Keith de la Rue.

I was wrong. Stephen Mugford pointed me to it via this great SlideShare presentation of his: Why size matters: groups, dialog and high quality participation. My apologies Stephen.

It also includes some interesting comments on How to Run a Good Conference from the late Aaron Swartz

Upcoming Events

Here are some of the major KM events taking place around the world in the coming months and ones in which I am actively involved. You will find a full list on my website where you can also subscribe to both regional e-mail alerts and RSS feeds which will keep you informed of new and upcoming events.

Knowledge Café: Facilitér effektiv videndeling i din organisation
04 Jun 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark

David Gurteens Kunnskap Café
20 Jun 2013, Oslo, Norway

KM UK 2013
26 - 27 Jun 2013, London, United Kingdom
I will be speaking at KM UK again this year.

KM Australia Congress 2013
23 - 25 Jul 2013, Sydney, Australia
This will be a conversational event once again this year.

Resilient Knowledge Management Practice (Prof. Development Certificate)
12 - 16 Aug 2013, Slough, United Kingdom

14th European Conference on Knowledge Management
05 - 06 Sep 2013, Kaunas, Lithuania

International Conference on Knowledge Economy icke2013
28 - 30 Oct 2013, Cape Town, South Africa

The 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2013)
01 - 02 Nov 2013, Montréal, Canada

KMWorld 2013
06 - 08 Nov 2013, Washington DC, United States

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: May 2013

Here are what I consider some of my more interesting Tweets for April to May 2013. Take a look, if you are not a Tweeter, you will get a good idea of how I use it by browsing the list of micro-posts.

If you like the Tweets then subscribe to my Tweet stream.

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

You may subscribe to this newsletter on my website. Or if you no longer wish to receive this newsletter or if you wish to modify your e-mail address or make other changes to your membership profile then please go to this page on my website.

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based KM newsletter for knowledge workers. Its purpose is to help you better manage your knowledge and to stimulate thought and interest in such subjects as Knowledge Management, Learning, Creativity and the effective use of Internet technology. Archive copies are held on-line where you can register to receive the newsletter.

It is sponsored by the Knowledge Management Forum of the Henley Business School, Oxfordshire, England.

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues or customers, so long as any use is not for resale or profit and I am attributed. And if you have any queries please contact me.

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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