About the Conference Takeaways Chatbot

Hi, I’m Jamie Good, the Digital Fluency Coach and Learning Technology Integrator.

Thank you for taking the time to get setup on my new chatbot for capturing your 6 favourite key conference takeaways! I appreciate you giving it a go.

I built this chatbot on the Mobile Coach platform, founded and created by Vince Han in Provo, Utah. It is my second mobile coach (chatbot) ever, so it is quite simple and ‘no frills’ in its features and approach. Please don’t expect to have a lengthy conversation with an artificial intelligent robot! And please don’t fault Mobile Coach if something goes wrong. I can assure you that if my chatbot has an issue, it’s not their platform, but rather my beginner skills!

I am frustrated after big conferences when I can’t remember all the great things I heard and learned. I know I’m not alone in that frustration, so I created the takeaways chatbot to help remedy that situation. For this version, it allows for the capture of your favourite 6 key takeaways from the conference. 

Also, I want people unfamiliar with chatbots to be able to dip their toes in. Enjoy your experience with my chatbot and think big while you imagine the unlimited potential of chatbots! Mine is pretty bare bones but useful, so take it for a spin! And please send me your feedback anytime by texting FEEDBACK to the chatbot, or by contacting me here: goodwjamie@gmail.com

Thanks again!
Jamie Good
digitalfluencycoach.com

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Takeaways Chatbot Tip Sheet

You & Your Takeaways: Develop the Process of Implementation

*Thanks again for taking my Takeaways Chatbot for a spin!

If you try to capture and remember every good and inspiring thing that you hear at this conference in the hopes that you will act on them all, you are only fooling yourself. Focus in on the key takeaways that matter, that you can do something about and that are relevant to you and your business. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the overwhelm, anxiety and frustration of too many takeaways:

  • Eliminate takeaways that aren’t relevant to your business nor business objectives. (Not everything the speakers or presenters say will pertain to you right now.)
  • Eliminate takeaways that aren’t realistic to the goals or strategies you currently have. (What are you capable of NOW?)
  • Eliminate takeaways that can’t be refined to be consistent with your current work efforts. (Consider strengths and context of what already exists back at work.)
  • Capture takeaways that are relevant, realistic and can be refined. Choose the one takeaway from each session that you will develop into a process and implement back on the job.
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The Endless Potential and Use Cases for Chatbots

I have been talking about chatbots a lot lately and for good reason. I believe that chatbots are the future of learning, marketing, mobile communication and more. The potential and use cases for them are endless.

As I pointed out in this article, we no longer use apps like we used to on our smartphones. We have reached ‘app fatigue’. Most of the activity on our smartphones takes place in messaging apps. If you look at WeChat, it becomes clear that we will no longer use a group of apps to complete a variety of tasks.

I recently deleted some apps because I can do the same tasks they did within one app: Telegram. A group of great and helpful chatbots inside Telegram allows me to save time and focus.

Here are some examples of the chatbots I currently use in Telegram (T), Slack (S) and messaging (M) (see screenshots in slider above):

  • Weatherman (T): weather texted twice a day instead of unlocking  my phone and opening a weather app or asking Google

  • Mr. Fitbot (T): I just text this bot how much time I have for exercise and it fires back a complete workout in seconds
  • DeLorean (T): This has replaced my reminders app. I text DeLorean my reminders and when I want the bot to send them back to my phone
  • Todomebot (T): this bot has replaced my to do list app
  • Pomodoro bot (T): I use the Pomodoro method when working, and this bot sets the timers much quicker than other apps
  • Feed Reader Bot (T): Using RSS feeds, this bot gives me the news and info I want in an easy and automated way and all in one place. 
  • And Chill (M): A funny play on the ‘Netflix and chill’ expression, this chatbot gives you suggestions on what to watch on Netflix based on your preferences and feedback. 
  • Datacard (S): Before using this bot, I would check my analytics and stats in Twitter, Facebook and Google Analytics. Now? Datacard messages me every morning inside my PKM Slack team with the data. This slackbot is currently my favourite because of the time it saves.

Some of you may be asking, “Why aren’t there any Facebook Messenger bots on your list?” Fair question, especially since there are about 11,000 chatbots currently available for that platform. I also get asked about Kik since they were the first of the messaging giants to embrace bots and provide a bot store for them.

During a recent trip to Vancouver, I discovered one of my favourite singers, Lloyd Cole, was playing a sold out show. I had to download and use Messenger to converse with a woman selling tickets she couldn’t use. I found the app too invasive and disliked how it asked for permissions that would allow it to take over my phone. Although I preach ‘be where they are’ (where your target audience spends their time), I opt not to use nor create bots for Messenger now. I say this knowing that it’s unsurpassed growth will likely mean I have to change my mind soon.

I don’t use Kik because it's so teenager-centric.  That’s not the demographic I am working with and focused on currently. Also, with Kik, Facebook Messenger, Telegram or Slack, I would be building a bot that lives inside their platform.  I prefer to use Mobile Coach so that any phone with text messaging can engage with my chatbots.

Be Where They Are

One reason I feel chatbots are so full of potential and deserve serious consideration: ‘be where they are’. I preach this message every time I deliver my workshops on personal branding, social media and the future of learning. We keep forcing consumers, learners and customers through too many hoops and barriers. There are too many clicks and taps to get to our content. We create elearning modules that require yet another login and password combination.

I will say it again: we need to provide people with frictionless learning experiences. Don’t make people wade through webpages, paywalls, logins and more to access content and knowledge. If people are already spending lots of time on a platform like YouTube or Facebook, why force them elsewhere?

We text all the time. Every day. Every hour. Text messages exceed a 99% open rate! (For context, email open rates rarely hit 25%.) So, with that reality plus chatbots we can provide frictionless engagement with users. Just make sure every interaction provides value.

Automated ‘push’ and user-controlled ‘pull’ are both possible in a chatbot. Want to change people’s behaviour through random but regular gentle nudges? No problem. Want to make a knowledge base available that employees can access when they need it? No problem! Performance support at their fingertips. Just in time, on-demand.

Let me give you a few current examples of where chatbots are making a big difference:

Obie (Tasytt)

The front page of Tasytt’s website reads, “You don’t need a learning management system.” What you need is their Slackbot, Obie, inside your Slack team. Chris Buttenham and his team have created a brilliant tool that helps solve the challenge of knowledge capture and transfer within organizations. Again quoting from their site, Obie is “the first continuous learning bot built for Slack. Obie can access your company tribal knowledge, deploy processes, and how-to’s without leaving your messaging app. Flows deliver knowledge and information when your team needs it - not all at once.” Wow. Just in time, on-demand learning. Finally!

Using Obie inside Slack allows organizations to develop a culture of knowledge sharing and makes necessary learning available anytime, anywhere since Slack works well on any device. The future of learning is here.

Mobile Coach

Vince Han studies behaviour change and built Mobile Coach to facilitate such change via text messages. I completed my Mobile Coach certification in April of this year and am currently working on two chatbots. What I love about Mobile Coach is that it works on any phone without the need of another app download. If your phone can send and receive text messages, then you’re good to go!

One of the most popular use cases for mobile coaches is onboarding which I think is not only smart, but saves time and money. Rather than a few days of full-day training for new hires, companies are using Mobile Coach to deliver the onboarding.  It lasts for about a month and goes right to their phones in text messages. Learning can take place over those four weeks instead of brain overload over a couple of days of training. None of the employees need to be away from their desks to have this learning experience as it’s fully mobile.

DoNotPay

The story of DoNotPay blows my mind, frankly, and I love it: this bot challenges traffic tickets and after being used more than 9,000 times a day by New Yorkers since March, has successfully challenged 160,000 of 250,000 tickets!

Joshua Browder -the 19 year-old creator of DoNotPay- says, “I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society. These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government.” (He is working on a bot that will help people with HIV better understand their legal rights and another one that helps you collect compensation if your flight is delayed more than 4 hours. Browder is also building a bot that helps refugees apply for asylum and utilizes IBM Watson to do the translating from Arabic to English.)

If you want to challenge your traffic ticket, chat with a bot at donotpay.co.uk where it asks you questions like whether signs were visible when the fine was issued or the size of the parking space.

Browder also says, “I feel like there’s a gold mine of opportunities because so many services and information could be automated using AI (artificial intelligence), and bots are a perfect way to do that.” I agree!

Aiday -

Grabbed from their site: “Better way to build a company culture. Aiday is a virtual assistant within Slack that collects and analyzes employee feedback to improve personal skills and company efficiency.

Feedback between co-workers is an essential part of personal development and company culture. Often lack of honest feedback is the reason why a company loses its best professionals. Why not to change it? After all, professionals are what drive a company forward.

Aiday helps to receive personal and meeting feedback right in Slack, so you don't need to use additional tools and create different polls.”

I don’t think it’s difficult to see how useful and efficient Aiday can be. I love solutions like this that aim for a frictionless user experience leading to substantial results and changes. You can easily measure the efficiency of your meetings and Aiday will provide smart suggestions to boost meeting productivity. Awesome!

Truebill

The Truebill bot (available on Messenger) “is the world’s first personal finance management service that allows users to find, track, and cancel paid subscriptions and recurring bills in one place, for free.

Truebill’s primary service allows users to securely connect and scan their bank transactions to identify paid subscriptions like Netflix, AT&T and gym memberships, and request Truebill to cancel unwanted services on their behalf.

Truebill supports thousands of financial institutions, identified over 700 paid subscription services and recurring billing agents, and tracks over $100 Million in annual subscription payments.”

I’m guessing you can see the power of chatbots and the impact they are already having in the world of mobile. Still not convinced? Check out the following:

Despite the thousands of chatbots/bots already available, I believe we’re just getting started. Messaging will remain the most common activity on a smartphone. Chatbots enable seamless, frictionless experiences within messaging for an untold quantity of use cases and solutions.

What do I recommend you do next?

  1. Get Telegram (or Messenger...) on your phone and add a few bots to it. Try them out and see how helpful they can be, the time you can save and ‘the ROI’ everyone feels the need to force into the situation.

  2. Follow me on Twitter as I dig deeper into this world and share the progression and launch of my upcoming chatbots.
  3. Contact me to facilitate a workshop for your team.  You can learn about, experience and plan together the potential and opportunities for chatbots in your organization, especially in the area of learning and development.
  4. Stay tuned to my new podcast, Reaching the UML, for upcoming interviews with Chris, Vince and other leaders and thinkers in this space.
Posted by admin in Learning, 3 comments

Spark the Change Conference Notes

spark-logo-300x125-cdn (1)

On June 9-10, 2016, I keynoted at the Spark the Change conference held at the Ontario Science Centre. I have to say it’s one of the best conference experiences I’ve ever had. I knew it was going to be good when during the first keynote by Niels Pflaeging, a woman raised her hand to ask a question. I thought,’Wow, people are here to learn and discuss, not just be passive listeners!’ Two full days of knowledge, debate, discussion, laughter, ideas, challenges, participation and more laughter. I loved it.

I took some notes down in my handy new RocketBook Wave (yes, it’s microwaveable!) and thought I’d share them with you here. I love how attending and speaking at conferences helps me connect more dots.

Niels Pflaeging:
As mentioned, Niels Pflaeging, author of, Organize for Complexity, opened the conference Thursday morning. I loved how he pointed out that complexity is like the weather, neither good nor bad. What a great perspective to have in this ever-changing world! Yesterday we had weather different than today which will be different than tomorrow. Shorts? Jacket? Umbrella? Whatever we need, we grab it or wear it and go out into the world prepared.

Why then do we shut down when complexity arises? We are just as prepared for it as we are for different weather systems. Going out to buy a new jacket to keep warm is a simple, uncomplicated task. And as Niels stressed, complex systems are not complicated, but they do create surprise. Again much like the weather.

In Vancouver last weekend, I dealt with a full day of ‘Vancouver rain’. Did I cower inside? Was I unprepared? Nope. I had brought a rain jacket with me and so headed out to explore the city for the day. Easy peasy! I want to ensure I approach complexity in the same regard. That I handle it like getting dressed, putting on a jacket and then walking down the street. Let’s go forward into this complex world with shoes tied, umbrella up and coat buttoned. The world needs what we have to offer it.

A sobering thought that Niels shared was that organizations have the culture they deserve. I often hear that said about countries and their governments, but why not for companies? Bet that one makes you think, eh?

I loved this question Niels posed: “Why do we need bosses when it’s the market that is telling us what to do?” Talk about a quotable quote! Expand that statement and recognize what happens if you are not paying attention to your customers…

And finally, another line that stuck with me was that ‘people like change, but not being changed’. Theory X people don’t exist. That should give many in the training and development field something to ponder.

Dave Dame:
Another Thursday morning keynote made me and others in the audience cry. Dave Dame provided us with an excellent example of how storytelling can get a message across. Born with cerebral palsy, he recounted a story about struggling to reach the water on a Florida beach. I found myself touched by the obvious courage, optimism and strength at the front of the room as Dave spoke. I wrote down one key takeaway – stumbles are signs of growth and progress. Amen to that!

Shawn Murphy:
Before going to any conference, I reach out to other listed speakers via LinkedIn or Twitter. That way, I find that there is at least a small group of people there who are not strangers when I meet them. One other keynote speaker I had connected with ahead of the event was Shawn Murphy from Switch and Shift. He ended up in the hotel lobby the same time as me, so we rode together to Spark with a fantastic volunteer, Mike Edwards.

From that car ride until the end of conference, Shawn and I shared many great conversations and ideas. In his keynote, I liked how he used ‘violent work acts against the human spirit‘ to name the problems we face at work daily. I connected with ‘lack of clarity’ being one of these violent work acts. How many roles have you had where a lack of clarity left you feeling helpless and frustrated?

Shawn shared how work helps us to self-actualize. So, it should include enjoyment, challenge, motivation, creativity and collaboration. How many of us experience that every day?

Another great perspective Shawn shared: we need to focus on what’s possible and what’s right. Not what’s impossible and not right. After all, you get the culture you deserve. So, if you are shutting down the ideas that sound impossible, where will that leave you in future?

The last thing that I connected with in Shawn’s talk was the idea of contagious change. Once it gets started and makes a difference, others will be on board. So start small. Start with one team whose positive change and success attracts other teams. When they observe the difference it’s making, they’ll want the same thing.

Riina Hellström:
All the way from Finland, Riina Hellström brought with her an energy and sense of humour that I loved. I think I cheered when she said that “HR is broken and not built for Agile“! The more I’ve been digging into HR, the more I see the need for innovation and disruption.

Recently, I attempted to apply to a few jobs so that I could see what happens when you click on the ‘Apply’ button. I could not believe that I had to submit a cover letter! Who reads them anymore? Websites can help anyone create a cover letter worthy of the Smithsonian with no basis in reality. I also loved uploading and connecting my LinkedIn profile only to be asked for a resume upload. Really? Doesn’t the fact that your prospective candidate lacks an updated LinkedIn profile tell you all you need to know?

Riina has spent more time exploring neuroscience than I have, so I enjoyed her explanations of how our brains affect performance. Her expression, ‘neuro-bollocks‘, was a great reminder not to believe everything we read!

I also appreciated her spotlight on the SCARF model created by David Rock. Something I plan to explore more in the future as I found it insightful. If you’re a leader, manager, teacher, HR professional or trainer, definitely check out the SCARF model.

Jennifer Spear:
I put my pens down when it was Jennifer Spear‘s turn, because I wanted to watch a pro presenter in action. She’s so confident, engaging and smart. I love how she uses improv training and principles to help organizations and people innovate and create. She brings fun back into the workplace in a way that leads to stronger teams and meaningful successes. If you are not familiar with the ‘yes, and…‘ foundation of improv, I recommend you dig in and discover.

Vikas Narula:
Boy, did Vikas Narula ever have us laughing! And his company, Keyhubs, has some of the smartest technology I’ve seen in a long time. Brilliant graphs and charts illustrate important insights about influence. I think it’s incredible how organizations can know what to leverage and improve based on the findings.

I’m glad Vikas reminded me of VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. He posed this question: “How are you training people to survive in a VUCA-controlled world and economy?” I unfortunately don’t see many in L&D approaching this problem with any impact. I see the learning and development industry threatened by VUCA and unprepared for the consequences.

What also resonated with me? When I stand in front of people to share a message, idea or skill, I am ‘facilitating energy‘. This is a smart perspective to have next time I lead a workshop.

I wrote down a metaphor Vikas used in my RocketBook Wave, too: a horse race. We spend our days at work going as fast as possible like horses in a race. But we end up going in a circle only to arrive back at the beginning again. We race around with blinders on while others cheer us on. What a sad, but adequate explanation for so much of what happens in too many workplaces.

Thankfully, the engaged, motivated and smart attendees at Spark the Change want to make sure that reality comes to an end. We focused on people, collaboration and love. These common themes at a conference were so encouraging, because the way we are working is suffocating us. Time to breathe, innovate and create.

Interested in my keynote, Hiring Disruptors? Here’s a condensed version

Posted by admin in HR, 2 comments

What Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2016 Means for Learning and Development

Internet Trends 2016

Mary Meeker released her annual internet trends presentation on June 1, 2016. I’m surprised at the poor visual design of something so prestigious, but it’s full of great insights and stats. On Twitter last week, after a brief exchange with some colleagues over the visual aspect of Meeker’s super-dense deck, we agreed to blog our thoughts on the data.

Learning and Development

Here’s how I think it relates to learning and development (Please use 2 monitors or hit WinKey + left/right arrow to reference slides while reading):

slide 12 = As an Android user, this slide showing how the Android smartphone share gains continue doesn’t surprise me, but it definitely proves that if you are designing mobile training (and you should be!) and you only consider iPhone/iOS, then you will not reach everyone.

slide 40 = Mary points out (in italics) that ‘adjusting to slower growth + higher debt + aging population creates rising risks’, and ‘creates opportunities for businesses that innovate/increase efficiency/lower prices/create jobs’. Time to reflect: when was the last time your training was innovative, helped create efficiency (or was efficient itself), and used existing technology to lower the price (of your training solution)?

slide 44 = Wow, Facebook has a 59% increase in advertising revenue. As I’ve said before, we need to be where people ‘live’ online to reach them, and Facebook is one of those places. A private Facebook group might be better than your LMS…

slides 46, 76, 78 = 81% of people mute video ads, but videos work if they are: authentic, entertaining, evoke emotion, personal/relatable, useful, viewer control, and WORK WITH THE SOUND OFF. Do your training or elearning videos include these characteristics? And live-streaming? When was the last time the learning experience you offered your audience was live, vulnerable and ‘real’?

slide 47 = Global adblocking users are up Y/Y, which tells me not only are people sick of ads, but are becoming more tech-savvy. Does your training feel more like an ad than a genuine learning experience? Are you savvy enough yourself to be using an adblocker, or even know what that means? No? Here.

slides 51, 74, 107 = I’m sorry, but millennials are different and view work, life and the world differently. Many people will disagree with me, but I believe we must approach how we want to help them learn and develop in new and creative ways where technology is integral. Consider especially how you plan to reach them while viewing slide 107.

slide 62 = Data, data, data. Collect it, use it, learn from it.

slide 66 = ‘Always-On Connectivity’. And yet we still default to a classroom…

slide 68 = Apply Netflix and Spotify-like content discovery to LEARNING!

slides 72, 73 = Visual. Engagement through images. Are you trying to give people a learning experience that is primarily text-heavy and only good for reading? (before you say it, I’ll ask if you currently have Meeker’s slides open…?)

slides 80 = Yes, believe it or not, I’m going to keep disagreeing with the cool kids: I don’t believe Snapchat is worth our time, yet. When, 10 years after it launched, I still get asked to help L&D people figure out Twitter or see that out of thousands of people at ATD2016 only about 100 people are actively tweeting, I don’t see any point in trying to integrate another social media platform full of teenagers and digital marketers into the mix. Yet.

slide 85 = Understand UGC, encourage its creation and leverage it to help your learners learn what they want to learn.

slide 96 = Houzz personalized planning with images overlayed! For real. The potential for learning experiences designed for such a technology is insane. Seriously. Sit down right now and write down at least 5 that will come to mind immediately.

slides 103, 104, 106 = If your current and future learning design does not include messaging/SMS as part or all of the solution, then I wish you good luck with your performance support,and the on-demand/just-in-time learning that people expect and are becoming more accustomed to because of Netflix, Airbnb and Uber (to name a few).

slides 109, 110 = For God’s sake, NO MORE APPS! If you are currently working on an app you hope will help your people learn and develop or engage better with your learning event, stop.

slides 124, 125 = Hound. Maybe I’m including this because I’ve been desperately waiting for Hound to come to Canada, or maybe because I feel that AI will affect the bottom line to the point where, “But a live, skilled facilitator is better”, won’t be a decent argument any longer.

slide 152 = The Mary Barra quote, “We’re going to see more change in the next five to ten years than we’ve seen in the last fifty”, can apply to any industry. If we are not gradually, continuously learning through our connected networks, then how do we expect to remain employed in 5-10 years? And what are we -L&D professionals- doing now that will help thousands of others future-proof their careers? We must help and curate and guide, but are we even currently proving our own relevance?

slide 159 = Anyone started designing training for in-vehicle learning yet? I cannot wait for autonomous vehicles to become the norm, and when they do, you can bet that many will use their driving time to learn new skills and knowledge.

slide 173 = Unfortunately, this slide represents why I feel we have to elevate the L&D profession as soon as possible: we are like Priceline on the left, while people are wanting and expecting Ctrip on the right.

slides 195, 199 = OMG. Data accumulated vs cost to store. That is another slide deck story right there, but Frank Bien’s quote makes me wonder: how many times will your learners end up knowing more than you, and how will you keep them engaged and motivated if they do?

slides 208, 210 = Data privacy and security concerns. I personally am tired of organizations that reject useful technology that could improve their efficiency and the development of their employees over security concerns. IMHO, you should always design, create and operate as if you expect your data to be in jeopardy every. single. day.

Learning Technology Integrator

As my tagline states, I give you a front-row seat to the future of learning. Thank you for reading and please connect with me to apply these takeaways to your learning design, your learning team and your own development.

 

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The Future Of Learning Is Spelled ‘SMS’

The Future Of Learning Is Spelled ‘SMS’

How many times do you check your text messages per hour? How many text messages do you send per hour? Today, 80% of American adults text, making it the most common activity on a smartphone. (Pew Internet) Think about it: when was the last time you actually used your phone to make a phone call?

Short Message Service (SMS) has become the default method of communication for millions of people worldwide. Rather than call, email, or meet face to face, we chat, order Uber rides and ask for a divorce via text messages.

No surprise there. It’s a quick, mobile, easy, and cheap way to communicate with anyone, anytime, anywhere. And yet, the learning and development industry still lives and breathes classroom and elearning.

When text messages have a 98% open rate, then I believe it’s time we embrace them as the future of learning. (stat: Mobile Market Watch)

In March, I launched a productivity course delivered through SMS. In this post, I will outline the following:

  • the planning and build
  • the neuroscience behind it
  • the social component
  • the microlearning approach
  • the feedback – what worked
  • the feedback – what needs improvement
  • my take on the experience

I have been using text messages for training over the past couple of years because they eliminate the following:

  • Another username and password combination for learners to remember
  • A physical location to host the training
  • Another app on the learner’s phone
  • Prior training (Acision reports that 96% of smartphone users text)

I also believe SMS-based learning experiences increase engagement of the participants. Here’s what one of my productivity course participants wrote:

“I’m a Project Manager in the construction sector. I’m looking forward to the journey, (I love the idea of daily texts and learnings delivered in this format) and picking up some skills and applying them in my day to day life. Both professionally and personally.”

Wait, what? Someone is ‘looking forward to’ the training and ‘loves the idea’ of what I am about to give them!

USA Today reports that the average adult spends 23 hours per week texting, so I feel that’s where I should insert my training. It’s important to be where your audience lives rather than try and force them to come to where you are or want them to be. Like, a dull, gray classroom on a Friday morning, for example.

The Build

For this SMS-delivered productivity course, I used Remind. Remind is an app that public school teachers and university profs use to remind students and parents of important assignments, exams and events. It is free, easy to use and available worldwide. If not using the app or browser, participants must be living in North America. Remind has a code to text for the US, and a number for Canada. You and your students won’t see each other’s private phone number when using Remind. Good feature for privacy reasons.

Another great feature is that I can schedule the text messages I want to send out to participants. This allowed me to schedule the messages for the full month of learning in one sitting. The last thing I want to do is to have to manually send the text messages every day on my own.

When I set up my course on Remind, I had a 160 character limit. Since then, my limit has increased to 300 characters. This new limit would change my planning and the content that I would deliver to participants. The bigger character limit would eliminate extra messages needed on days with more content.

I planned my course out in Google Slides after creating a course template. Here’s an example slide that shows the content for Day 8:

SMS_Slide

Here is a screenshot of the scheduling feature in Remind that allowed me to queue up the messages in advance:

Remind_schedule

The Neuroscience of Learning – Retrieval and More

My learning design includes the neuroscience of learning thanks to Britt Andreatta. In my course, I included: retrieval, word play, social learning, a-ha moments, evaluation, application, fun, self-reflection and quizzes.

I feel that we haven’t been doing a good job of performance support after training. We deliver half-day workshops and then expect participants to remember what they learned, and put it into practice. This is where text messages and chatbots can shine! They provide learners with retrieval so the learning sticks. Through texts, you can also give gentle nudges so practical application happens.

I also used the texts for self-reflection in the form of questions, images and links to Google Forms. (Google Forms automatically create spreadsheets, making measurement an easy task if you need to track the learning.) Here is an example of an image I texted to participants:

Schedule time for breaks.

 

The Social Component – Private Facebook Group

According to Britt’s neuroscience research, “We are innately social creatures, and learning will get reactivated when the participants meet together.” So, I created a private Facebook group for participants. Text messages prompted learners to share their thoughts and learning in the Facebook group.

In Slack, I belong to a fantastic Personal Learning Network (PLN) of learning and development professionals. I asked them to take part in my course and to provide feedback on their experience and my design. One of my colleagues had this to say about the private Facebook group:

“The emphasis on ‘working-out-loud’ on Facebook was one of the most successful implementations of creating a virtual classroom that I’ve experienced to date. It took the 10 into the 20 (70:20:10) through coaching, and you took great strides to respond to your participants. At first, I thought that people weren’t responding too much to each other, but that’s all part of group dynamics, and how you work as a facilitator. Of course, the overwhelming theme is to encourage Digital Fluency, so one of the ‘expectations’ that you might want your participants to take on is to respond to each other. So how you used Facebook is a take-away for me.”

In the private Facebook group, course participants:

  • shared their reflections on what they learned
  • answered each other’s questions
  • asked for feedback on ideas and approaches
  • networked
  • ‘worked out loud’
  • shared tips and advice

It definitely enhanced the learning experience for everyone who participated. I fought the temptation not to interfere and ‘just let it happen’. I believe that allowed the group to connect and share more deeply than if I had tried to direct its flow and activity.

The Microlearning Approach – Between Diapers and Dinner

A huge benefit I feel text messages bring to learning is that they are mobile and small. We can’t reach people by forcing them into elearning or a classroom anymore.

As I explained in The Why & How of Microlearning, it’s important for us to reach people between ‘diapers and dinner’. We do this with microlearning chunks connected together as a whole, robust learning experience. Text messages are perfect for this approach. As my colleague shared after finishing the course:

“Loved how you used SMS. It annoyed me, but it made me feel guilty too. A great little pain in the ass.”

SMS delivery is perfect for small, focused learning consumed anytime, anywhere on a phone. Why sign in to an elearning course requiring a login name and password? Is your elearning course even accessible on a mobile phone? Why force people into a classroom when the Untethered Modern Learner works from home? Text messages are a simple, cheap, and effective way to be where learners are at any time.

Feedback – What Worked

In my SMS-delivered course, participants included:

  • instructional designers
  • trainers
  • bankers
  • stay-at-home moms
  • an engineer
  • a project manager
  • a librarian
  • solopreneurs
  • corporate employees.

Here is some of their feedback quoted below:

-“I love receiving the texts!”

-“Judging by what I’ve seen in this group, we’re all finding our way through 70-20-10, and I think you’ve made a strong, meaningful, and effective foray into this world. I for one will be using what you’ve done here as a template in my own work, particularly as I go forward in my Security and Privacy Awareness curriculum. Keep working on ways to encourage practice and retrieval so that people can look back and feel that they’ve really gotten into the habit of (in this example), using digital tools to increase productivity, and keep on them when and if necessary”

-“I really liked receiving the messages via SMS. I thought they were well designed in terms of meaning and timing. Receiving this message at the same time was great. This ‘pulse’ was one of the strongest aspects of the experience.”

-“Like Mike I am doing a TYCTYG (Take You Closer To Your Goal) and Reflection together. I need to overcome my lack of time and make time to have time. It may sound weird, but my avoidance of utilizing digital tools for planning projects, developing content and organizing my life are costing me time and energy I could be using to be a better business owner, wife, daughter and Mom. So, my goal is to pick 1 new digital tool every month until Dec 2016 to test, apply and integrate into my business world. 10 months, 10 tools! Here I go!!!!”

-“I’ve been thinking about the micro-learning approach this week and how it has created more ‘space’ for me to reflect each day. I’ve trialed other daily learning approaches and have found they try to cram too much into each day and then I quickly start ignoring them. This is better so far because it’s short and doable while at the same time helping me think about what I’m doing and preparing me for learning. I am curious about how others are feeling and thinking about the approach?”

-“I like the microlearning approach. It seems more “natural” to me, in that I think of many things throughout the course of a day, and having just a small task enables me to fit it into my schedule daily, instead of having to block off a large period of time. Having said that, I still like to have time to reflect before I “work out loud,” so I can see where I will fall behind on daily tasks if I try to get it done perfectly instead of simply getting it done”

-“‘Done is better than perfect,’ (what a liberating thought! lol) Making only important decisions? Ok. Planning my day the afternoon before is something I will definitely try. What I’ve realized however, is that I rely so little on digital devices to help out, and only recently have started using the calendar in my iPhone. (I can’t do without it now) Old habits die hard. I’ve always viewed digital devices as dangerous. I would think, ‘If I put everything into something that can malfunction, break or get lost, then what?’ I’m looking forward to changing that and hopefully eliminating some stress from my everyday routine.”

-“Hi! I’m Amanda and the idea of micro learning sounds very exciting! I consider myself a lifetime learner – I seek out courses and books to learn new things. With 3 kids, and a full time job with a decent commute, it’s not always a feasible or sustainable option. The topic is applicable and engaging to me. My work revolves around project delivery and I’m looking forward to consuming daily nuggets of information that will help me be more productive. Excited to join this group”

The Feedback – What Needs Improving

Here is feedback that suggested improvements for the course and course experience:

-“Using Twitter, and then the talk about different productivity apps made my head swirl a bit. It was a little too much extraneous cognitive load, especially if I’m trying to learn between diapers and dinner. The objective of this course was to get more important work done using digital tools, but I found that I got lost in the tools, and felt that I got less done.

-“My recommendation? Use SMS to trigger and motivate, and then choose *one* platform for discussion.”

-“I have tried Trello before and was using it wrong. Jamie’s demo sparked my interest and I then starting google searching more information. Is this how the modern learning is suppose to happen? Can Jamie do more to curate the experience beyond the first link?”

-“I find it interesting how this modern approach still forces a synchronous learning event. Meaning, it is all push information. The instructor gets to decide when and what information is provided.

-“Jamie is providing a short drip feed. It would be interesting for the learner to be able to pull the information. To be able to have more or less information at any given time.”

-“Maybe the SMS should act as an advanced organizer for the learning. Activate prior knowledge by asking a question. Provide the objective or information succinctly. Then provide the links to 1) more info on topic, 2) the interaction or activity.”

-“First video didn’t have captions. I was going to watch on the bus here but forgot headphones today.”

-“The size of the communication should not limit the quality of learning. It takes much more to write in a concise manner than a verbose manner. In the condensation of the the communication, one has to do so much more synthesis and analysis.”

My Take On The Experience

I feel the first edition of my SMS-delivered productivity course was a success. I learned and participants learned. It also helped me to create my own case study of which I’m sharing with you now. When I started planning this course, it felt like I was stepping into new territory. I had a lot of research and searching to do. Finding a tool to use was the biggest challenge. Then realizing there were no examples to follow nor learn from was another. There are thousands of articles, videos and podcasts to help guide you in creating an elearning course. But with microlearning and text message-based learning experiences, I found little to none.

A few changes I would make:

  • I would add details about fees in the course introduction. Some particpants expressed concern over possible long distance charges.
  • I would aim to make some of the videos and other text-based content more concise and quicker to digest.
  • I would limit the number of apps involved in the learning experience to reduce cognitive load.
  • I used bit.ly, Google Forms and Google Analytics to track engagement, clicks and activity. Although helpful, I would use Mobile Coach for the next iteration. Then all activity and engagement could be measured and observed.

I feel that rebuilding the course as a chatbot on the Mobile Coach platform would be a worthwhile effort. As feedback suggested, it would be better for participants to pull some of the learning to their phones. This is how the learning experience should be for today’s Untethered Modern Learner, and why I am now certified to build chatbots on Mobile Coach. One of the best ways to help people learn today is with an automated SMS delivery approach on demand and mobile.

Going Forward

For the past two years, I have focused my learning design around SMS delivery. I have been using a microlearning approach to training and performance support. I will continue doing so with the addition of chatbots now, and add in more measurement and data as I go. It is exciting and necessary territory with innumerable possibilities.

For guidance, strategy and planning SMS-delivered training and performance support, contact me today. I’d love to work together with you on your exciting projects. And follow me on Twitter where I regularly tweet and discuss chatbots and more. Thanks for reading!Jamie

**Please take a minute to reflect on this post here. Thank you.

Posted by admin in Learning, 12 comments

HR’s Biggest Challenge Yet: Hiring Disruptors

Board The Train, Or Be Left Behind

Digital disruption is moving at a breakneck speed and companies who don’t board the train will be left behind to die. This gives the HR world its most important task to date: hiring disruptors.

 

I was privileged to share this message with the DisruptHR Toronto audience back in December at a fabulous event. Take a watch and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

 

I guide professionals and organizations through digital transformation by removing the ‘fear of the future’ and demonstrating which steps lead to success. Enjoyed this talk? There’s more. Interested in a workshop, lunch & learn, or custom micro-learning solution for your team? Start here

Posted by admin in HR, 0 comments

How Bots, AI and Big Data Will End L&D as We Know It

End Of L&D (1)

The Chatbots Are Here

Messaging apps are taking over. Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Kik are growing at an unprecedented scale as people abandon the plethora of apps on their phone.

Why fill your phone with ‘one task’ apps when you can do all you need with just one? In WeChat you can hail a cab, pay for it, order wine, send a friend your location and some Bitcoin, and catch up on the news among other amazing things.

New Chatbots launch hourly into these text messaging apps. Together, they become powerful tools for almost any task or use you can imagine. Like learning, for example. In the past, new hires at a company would go through onboarding training. This could typically be a couple of days with a contracted instructor. Now, companies like Freeman use an onboarding chatbot built and delivered via Mobile Coach that saves time and money and gathers data every time new employees use it. And, it’s conveniently delivered right to their phones by SMS.

Over the past year, my focus has been designing training delivered via text messages. Today’s learners are mobile, busy and distracted. I believe that simple, succinct and available anywhere text messages are the way to reach them in a microlearning approach that fits between diapers and dinner. Introduce chatbots into this SMS equation and you’ve got a powerful way of delivering effective training.

How about combining chatbots with AI -artificial intelligence? Then you have a tool that improves itself, and have no need for a designer. And a tool that best fits what the learners need.

AI Used To Be Science Fiction

I had a conversation with Jessica Knox last week. She believes the L&D threat will take years, but I believe it’s much, much sooner. One main reason is AI.

Today, you can take all the learning data you can find and feed it into IBM’s Watson to gather results, insight and feedback you never could before. Now take what Watson gives you and design better, more effective learning. You follow me?

The combination of AI and data changes the game. Why bother with hours of effort spent on needs assessment? Create a learning experience, launch it and then track engagement with any analytics or tracking tool available. Then make real-time changes so that people get what they need, when they need, wherever they need it.

You can fix a script or condition in Mobile Coach or Remind in minutes to provide learners with improved performance support. So, why have an L&D team spend hours on elearning modules that don’t meet the needs of the target audience? (Dare I say it? Why the team when an AI-powered tool can do the job for you?)

Big Data Is A Big Deal

If you want to be a relevant learning and development professional, get digital marketing skills. Stop building learning on SharePoint, Yammer or Slack that no one uses for lack of good marketing. People won’t use what they don’t know exists.

Also take the best practices of digital marketing around data and apply them to your L&D efforts. Connect xAPI, bit.ly, Google Analytics and more to the designed learning experiences you provide. Stop guessing, assuming and wondering where learners are engaging and disengaging. There’s no excuse anymore not to know.

Gather data and real-time stats to help you provide the best and most efficient learning possible.

1 + 1 + 1 = 3

The equation we have today leads to changes at a scale and pace never before seen nor experienced. We have automated chatbots that train people in the thousands right on their phone anytime, anywhere. We can connect the bots toartificial intelligence, so they learn to help people learn better. And we can track all the data so that a few quick adjustments lead to the best performance support at the right time.

And that’s where we differ from years ago, or even last year. Thus, can your elearning modules still cut it? Are a few days in a classroom the best onboarding experience for your new sales team?

We book a place to stay, hail a cab to get there, and make sure take-out is delivered on arrival all from our phones. On demand, en route and with ease. And yet we still feel people want to learn the same way they did last year, and the years before that. The smartphone is radically altering our consumer habits. We’re crazy to think this won’t change the way people view training and want it delivered.

Years ago, I debated the validity of social media, mobile phones and tech for training. I chose to ride that coming wave rather than fight it. I experimented and brought Twitter, Facebook and my iPhone into the training experience. Today, as a certified chatbot developer and digital marketing expert, I continue to embrace the pace of change and ride alongside it.

I feel we have no other choice. The robots aren’t coming, they’re already here.

Jamie Good is the Digital Fluency Coach. He helps people improve performance through SMS, social media and mobile. He gets excited by the possibilities inherent in digital. Connect with him now to ride this wave rather than be bowled over by it

Posted by admin in Learning, 2 comments

Drive Traffic To Your Trade Show Booth With Twitter

twitter

Don’t State The Obvious

When I attend conferences, I’m consistently surprised at how many exhibitors on the trade show floor only use Twitter to effectively say, “Hey! We’re here! Come visit us! Booth 201! #eventname” These ‘look at me’ tweets are spam, provide zero value to the conference attendees and therefore do not guarantee you’re going to scan more badges.

Other Don’ts

  • Unless you’re Apple, don’t: “Tweet @yourcompanyname for a chance to win an iPad! #eventname”
  • Do you run a massage parlour?: “Stop by Booth 101 for a free 10-minute massage! #eventname”

And The Do’s

  1. Pre-Conference Tweets: Attendees plan who they’re going to visit on the trade show floor before even arriving at the conference. Make sure you have a presence on the event hashtag at least 2 days before the event happens by sharing something of value.
  2. Competition (aligned with your product or service): “Stop by our Booth 101 for a chance to win 1 of 10 free consultations #eventname”
  3. Share Knowledge: “Visit us at Booth 101 to grab a USB stick pre-loaded with our most popular white paper! #eventname”
  4. Tweetable Swag: At a marketing conference I attended, IBM had attendees tweet a picture of either their booth or a cookie that had the label, ‘Tweet Me!”, on it in exchange for said cookie. Attendees following the conference hashtag had their sweet tooths triggered and knew what the booth they were searching for looked like!
  5. Pre-Schedule Tweets: Use a tool like HootSuite to pre-schedule your tweets to deploy during the conference so you can stick to grabbing those leads while you still keep a good presence on the conference hashtag.
  6. Tweetups: Host a tweetup at your booth. At large conferences and because Twitter handles have old profile pics or logos, providing attendees an opportunity to network in person can be valuable and welcome.
  7. Donate to Charity: “Visit us at Booth 101 #eventname. For every picture tweeted from our booth, we’ll donate $X to @charityname.”
  8. Video: Have your booth duty employees tweet out a short 10-20 second video hourly that invites and welcomes people to your booth. Show the human side and the smiles. (Plus, videos stand out more in the busy tweet stream.)
  9. Ask Questions: “What’s most challenging for your company in *insert industry*? Tell us at Booth 101 & we’ll get you an answer #eventname”
  10. Selfie Contest: Have your logo printed on cards at your booth – “Tweet a fun & creative selfie with our logo from anywhere in the #eventname venue. Best one wins a *insert awesome prize’!”
  11. Print Photos: Have props and a photo printer available at your booth – “We’re printing #eventname souvenir photos at Booth 101 from Twitter! And we’ve got props!”

Questions, comments or other ideas? Tweet me: @JGoodDFC

Posted by admin in Branding, 0 comments

Reaching the UML: the Untethered Modern Learner

wearables1

Work from Anywhere

I work from home. And on the train, in the local library and any coffee shop with reliable WiFi, outlets and good decaf americanos.

I have made a concerted effort to ensure my work lives online and therefore can be done from anywhere, anytime. Like many, I refuse to spend upwards of 40 hours a week of my life in an office where I am unable to control my environment and the demands of a micro-manager. Been there, done that, and never again.

The Untethered Workforce

I am part of the untethered workforce. Give us a good Internet connection and a few great tools and apps and we’re good to go – anywhere.

You are a Learning and Development or HR professional who is responsible for helping people like me learn and grow. But we are untethered to a physical office space or team, and therefore you have a challenge.

netflix.tablet

The UML

You are living in the age of the UML = the Untethered Modern Learner. A learner who is never in the same place at the same time. We sometimes commute, often work from home or in a cafe, and are rarely in the boardroom with a team when meetings are held.

The Untethered Modern Learner (UML) isn’t just mobile, we are impatient, empowered by modern technology and in control of our own learning journey. Like Netflix, we want our learning on demand and it has to happen in between our latest tweet and Facebook status update.

A UML has already Googled “leadership skills”, before their boss decides it’s something they should learn. They have already watched TED Talks about leadership on YouTube. If they haven’t, once they’re told to attend the dreaded two-hour death by PowerPoint leadership skills workshop falling in the middle of their busy week, they will grab their smartphone and say, “Ok Siri, what are some great leadership skills I should have?”

millenials_YouTube

Learning and Developing

The Untethered Modern Learner still has to keep learning and developing for the continued success of their company and self, but where and how can that professional development happen?

Consider:

  • Why is Udemy so popular?
  • Which podcasts do you listen to on a regular basis?
  • How many times have you engaged on Twitter in the last week?
  • Why do TED Talks go viral?
  • Where can Snapchat Stories be used for performance support?

wake-up-call

Change Accelerated

Centuries before a computer existed, Heraclitus said,

There is nothing permanent except change.

In the last decade, social media, disruptive technologies and start-ups have caused more change than in the past 150 years. And we’re just getting started.

One of the consequences of this rapid, constant change is the Untethered Modern Learner. They need to learn, develop, succeed and grow, and they need to be engaged in the process or you will not be relevant. In our on-demand Netflix world where UMLs uber to their Airbnb while working from abroad, you’d better figure out where, when and how they’ll learn and develop and with what and why.

Posted by admin in Learning, 0 comments