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Ch-ch-changes. I started this Glossary years ago, when I couldn't find definitions I bought into. It was personal: I am not shy about sharing my opinions. Researchers tell me it's one of the few original learning glossaries out there. Another original is the wonderful Glossary at Learning Circuits, complied by Eva Kaplan-Leiserson and a group of volunteers.

Remix is big these days. Lawrence Lessig says culture comes from putting old things together in new ways. Sharing is also big. So I plan to put this under a CreativeCommons License. I encourage others to share. I'll be lifting definitions from other sources as I find them, citing attribution when available.

Keep these excellent sources in mind as well:

A-, B- and C-work. From Doug Engerbart's schema of augmentation. SOURCE
A-Work includes all the normal patterns of work at all levels and all parts of an organization (Manufacturing, R&D, marketing, service, maintenance, operations planning, etc.) B-Work is that work intended to improve those patterns of work (Classic examples of B-work include: Training programs, performance management processes, re-engineering, restructuring, leadership development programs, policy changes, Total Quality initiatives, incentive programs, etc.) C-Work is work intended to help optimize B-work strategic choices and implementation effect
iveness — in essence, the work of an architect of organizational learning and change. Acronyms. You'll need to know many of these to keep up with the convergence of learning and workflow.
  • BAM Business Activity Modeling
  • BI Business Intelligence
  • BPM Business Process Management
  • CA Customer Analytics
  • CPM Corporate Performance Management
  • CRM Customer Relationship Management
  • ECM Enterprise Collaboration
  • ECM Enterprise Content Management
  • ERM Employee Relationship Management
  • ERM Enterprise Resource Management
  • EM Expertise Mining
  • HCM Human Capital Management
  • IM Instant Messaging
  • LCMS Learning Content Management System
  • LMS Learning Management System
  • PA Presence Awareness
  • PDM Product Data Management
  • PLM Product Lifecycle Management
  • SCM Supply Chain Management
  • SFA Sales Force Automation
  • SKM Structured Knowledge Management System
  • UKM Unstructured Knowledge Management
  • WFA Workforce Analytics
  • WFM WorkForce Management
  • WFO WorkForce Optimization
  • WM Worldflow Management

ADL. Advanced Distributed Learning, an initiative originally established by the U.S. Department of Defense and now a collaboration between government, industry, and academia. The purpose of the ADL is to ensure access to high-quality education and training materials that can be tailored to individual learner needs and made available whenever and wherever they are required. The ADL maintains a set of guidelines under the acronym SCORM to accomplish their purpose.

AICC. Aviation Industry CBT Committee. The granddaddy of standards bodies. Originally formered to set guidelines for the aviation industry, AICC concepts are the foundation for subsequent work by ADL, IMS, and others.

Andragogy. Word coined by Malcolm Knowles to describe how adults learn -- which is different from how children learn ("pedagogy"). I'm beginning to suspect pedagogy denigrates children and that andra is the gogy to go with for all. Main points are:

  1. What's in it for me?
  2. Let me decide how I'll learn it.
  3. Where does this fit in relation to the other stuff I know?
  4. Sell me on learning this.
  5. Remove the obstacles from my path, please.
Appreciation — A process of discovering and freeing the spirit, the essence, the strengths and the genius in self and others. Appreciative processes can fan the life-giving sparks that exist in every individual, initiative, organization or situation, if you look for them. Appreciative processes are distinct from and complementary to problem-solving processes in that they focus on appreciating and building on what already exists. Source.

Asynchronous. [pretentious] Any time you like, e.g. watching a rerun on your VCR.

Bandwidth is a description of how much information can squeeze through a data pipe. Your intranet has high bandwidth; your dial-up connection is low bandwidth. Also used anthropomorphically, e.g. "He has low bandwidth" is equivalent to "He is a taco short of a combo plate" or "Her elevator doesn't go all the way to the top."

Bipolar thinking. The tendency to see everything in black and white when faced with shades of gray.

Blended. Current rage in eLearning circles. Means using more than one learning medium, generally adding an instructor component to web-based training. Duh! Blended is only a revelation for people who had been trying to do everything with just one tool – the computer. Classroom teachers having been blending various means of learning – lecture, discussion, practice, reading, projects, and writing, for example -- for eons.

Blink. Rapid cognition, AKA gut feel. Making snap judgments, often valid, on the basis of a few datapoints. A subconscious process. Popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in a book of the same name.

Blog. An easily updated personal website, generally updated daily. See About Blogs or look at a sample. This blog started in 1998.

Blog digest, blogathy, blogerati, blogger bash, blogger ecosystem, bloggeral, blogoverse, blogistan, blognoscenti, blogapottamus, blogorrhea, blogosphere, blogroach, blogroll, blogspot, blogstipation, blogule, blurker. See Blog Vocabulary.

Blogosphere. Originally a joke term, this has become the standard word for ecosystem of blogs, wikis, and related communications.

Boiling the ocean. Trying to cure all problems at once, often with a single tool.

Broadband. Unscientific term for sufficient bandwidth to receive streaming video and sound. Usually refers to bandwidth equal to or greater than DSL or Cable Modem speed.

Capacity-building capacity refers to an organization's capacity to develop those new capacities or improve whichever existing capacities it finds to be important to its effectiveness and sustainability. The greater an organization's capacity-building capacity, the more resilient it will be to external and internal change challenges. Adopting generative approaches to developing an organization's capacity-building capacity could be one of the more effective strategies for ensuring long-term organizational sustainability. SOURCE

Career Limiting Move. It refers to any incident that puts a roadblock in your career path. "Jack spilled coffee on the boss. It was a major CLM."

Caution: Learning isms ahead.

  • Behaviorism. Show me. If you can't show me a change in behavior, nothing was learned. A vital aspect of rat-maze psychology.
  • Cognitivism. It's all in your head. Cogito ergo sum = I think, therefore I am. Unlike Behaviorism, I don't have to show you.
  • Constructivism. Learning is what changes your current worldview. It builds on what you already think you know. A teacher who knows where you're coming from has a better shot at positioning new learning to have impact.
  • Connectivism. Learning also builds on what you have access to. A learner with a calculator is at least as effective as a learner who knows how to do long division. Coined by George Siemens in late 2004.

Certification. Pass the test, get a certificate. This started with technical subjects, e.g. Certified Novell Engineer and Microsoft Certified Professionals. Cisco offers a progression of certificates that reminds one of the ranks in Boy Scouts. Since there's no authority legitimizing the certifications, expect a continuing proliferation of these things. Certifications simplify hiring decisions; on the downside, they encourage "studying to the test." For $500, I can get you an Certified Internet Time Professional ranking.

Chat. Real-time communication, text or voice. Generally, messages disappear when the session's over. Otherwise, you're probably having a discussion.

c-learning. Classroom learning. Used to be just "learning," but now we need to differentiate c-learning from eLearning.

Co-creative dialogue. The intentional act of being together in an open and trusting commitment to pushing the envelope of relationship and ideas; exploring being in the world as uniquely whole persons; creating a context where synergistic breakthrough experiences occur. This process is central to developing co-creative relationships. SOURCE

Collaborative advantage. The Industrial/Information Age has enthroned competitive strength as one of its highest values. Competition is not inherently bad, but when competition-based mental models dominate our thinking we are trapped in a very small box indeed. Effectively searching out and mobilizing the strategic and tactical advantages of creative collaboration with all stakeholder groups can lead to a virtually uncatchable collaborative advantage for an organization. SOURCE
Example: Many organizations still consciously and/or unconsciously encourage competition among organization members, e.g., through forced ranking or personal incentives. The hidden costs of such a culture in terms of trust erosion, political in-fighting, commitment to looking good, win/lose-lose/lose games, and the like are enormous. All of these examples are failures in design.

Collaborative filtering. Example: Amazon tells me that other people who like the books I like are buying a particular book.

Collective intelligence.The capacity of a social organism, such as a corporation, to sense its needs and that of its environment (stakeholders), to generate choices that will satisfy those collective needs, to anticipate the consequences of those choices, to make choices that best serve the well-being of those affected by those choices, and to learn from the consequences of those choices. SOURCE Community. A group of people united by a common purpose who share information and knowledge with one another.

Community of Practice. An informal group that shares values, perspectives, and ways of doing things. The motivation to learn is the desire to participate in a "community of practice."

Complexity. It's a nonlinear, interconnected world and you will never figure it out. Shit happens. Self-organization holds it together.

Conceptual box. At any given moment my conceptual box is comprised of the collection of myths, beliefs and other mental models implicit in my patterns of acting, thinking, feeling and being. Everyone has his/her unique conceptual box. For most, their box will vary to some degree with the situation and evolve through time. More complex social organisms such as families and corporations have their unique conceptual boxes. SOURCE

Connectionism. Coined by George Siemens to describe learning based on actionable knowledge and knowledge foraging in a realtime, networked world.

Content. What's being learned, information. If it doesn't cause change, it's not information. The challenge is how to get the right content to right person, at the right time. This involves media choice (e.g., paper versus on-screen), speed, delivery cost, relevance, learner motivation, and other factors. | "If content is king, context is the kingdom." Tony O'Driscoll | "If content is king, infrastructure is God." Tom Kelly

Context. The environment of content. Who's talking? When? Why? Content and context are like inside and outside: you can't have one without the other. | The interrelated conditions in which something exists; the consciously or unconsciously chosen set of beliefs, distinctions, frameworks, lenses and mental models that shape how we perceive "reality." SOURCE

Content management system (CMS). A CMS supports the creation, management, distribution, publishing, and discovery of content from cradle to grave. A CMS helps users find what they're looking for. It also separates content from presentation. See StepTwo Designs.

Core Group. The Core Group, as defined by Art Kleiner in Who Really Matters, are the people "who really matter." Often, the most senior people in the hierarchy are members—but not always. Sometimes, the people who "matter" can extend far down the corporate ladder, or even reach outside the company to include key customers labor union leaders, and stockholders. SOURCE

It's because of Core Group dynamics that a depressing number of business corporations [and other institutions as well] have evolved into organizations with one primary purpose: To extract wealth [and control] from all constituents (not just the shareholders, but the employees, customers, and neighbors as well) and give it essentially to the children and grandchildren of some of its senior executives. And yet Core Groups are not inherently bad or dysfunctional. Indeed, they represent probably the best hope we have for ennobling humanity—at least in a world like ours, in which organizations have the lion's share of power, capital and influence. An organization's Core Group is the source of its energy, drive, and direction. Without an energetic and effective Core Group, all efforts to spark creativity and enthusiasm sputter out.

Course. Rigid unit of learning, generally expressed in hours or days and 'led' by an instructor. Opposite: 'Just enough.'

DCS. Distributed classification system. Free form approach to metadata. Everyone can create and apply their own tags. Del.cio.us. "The greatest strength of distributed classification systems (DCSs) is also their greatest weakness: the way in which the negotiation of meaning during the process of classification is delegated from humans to code."

Dead-tree media. Paper-based publications.

DIY. Do it yourself. With roots in hacker culture, tinkering, remix, Home Depot, and repurposing, this movement is gaining momentum in mid-2005. Guys who can no longer work on car motors now hack into car's onboard computers instead.

Doggie Treats. Incentives, targets, measurements, and other numerical signals of direction. These tend to trump all other Core Group signals as drivers of organizational behavior. SOURCE: Art Kleiner's Who Really Matters.

Double-loop learning. The ability to critically reflect on one's own behavior and identify the ways that this behavior contributes to the organization's problems. Chris Argyris.

Dynamic information. 'Real time.' Current, up to the second. Instead of reading pages prepared in advance, the pages are assembled on the fly, incorporating current information and taking into account current needs.

eLearning. Also e-Learning. Best practices for learning in the new economy, implying but not requiring benefits of networking and computers such as anywhere/anytime delivery, learning objects, and personalization. Learning on Internet time. Often includes ILT. Coined by Jay Cross.

Ecosystem. Kiuchi and Shireman's definition from their What We Learned in the Rainforest:

"In this book, the term ecosystem doesn't mean just the natural ecosystems we usually think of; it refers to any dynamic and interdependent community of living things. A forest. A human family. A business. A city. All of these are ecosystems, as natural in their own way as anything we find in what we usually mean by 'nature.'" "The distinguishing characteristic of these ecosystems is their resilience. Arthur Tansley, the British ecologist who coined the term ecosystem, said that ecosystems have the capacity to respond to change without altering the basic characteristics of the system. They face the same limits that human economies do—finite physical resources and a limited flow of energy from the sun—yet develop and evolve continuously over time in a process that has carried on successfully for 3.8 bllion years. Think about that: All the complex systems of nature are constantly...consuming resources of limited supply, yet they continue to survive, evolve, and then advance." SOURCE

Emergence is the idea that new properties are created when simple entities combine to form more complex ones. The property of 'wetness', for example, does not exist in either hydrogen or oxygen. It 'emerges' when the two combine to form water. As the cosmos evolved from the simple elements of the 'big bang' it has been in a state of continuous creation. Through 'emergent evolution' it has formed atoms, molecules, galaxies, planets, life, brain, mind, and consciousness. Each new step of complexity has contained emergent properties which were not included in, and could not be predicted from, the constituent parts. SOURCE

Entropy. Disorder. Closed systems decay over time. Margaret Wheatley has proposed that this is why scientific managers are so hung up on control.

Explicit knowledge. Knowledge that's easy to communicate. (Opposite of "tacit knowledge.")

Facilitate. Supporting communication between people to improve creativity, decision-making and productivity. Folksonomies are unstructured taxonomies created by users. Anyone can invent and pin tags on objects. An object may have an infinite number of tags.

Framework. A basic structure of distinctions that facilitates seeing and acting on a larger whole. SOURCE

Free-range learner. Someone who learns as he or she chooses. Often discovery learning.

Frog boiling. Apocryphal science experiment. Drop a frog in a pot of boiling water; he jumps right out. Put a frog in a pan of cool water and slowly heat it on the stove; the frog never senses a big change in temperature and stays in the water until poached. The Greek version of this has a farmer lifting a calf over the fence until one day he's lifting a 2,000 pound bull. Bull is the operative term here.

Gap analysis. Figure out what to do by assessing the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Most people then begin building from the present into the future. We favor looking at the step right before the ultimate one and backing toward the present one step at a time.

Generative learning. According to Peter Senge, "generative learning goes beyond adaptive learning, which is about coping. Generative learning emphasizes continuous experimentation and feedback in an ongoing examination of the very way organizations go about defining and solving problems." In Senge's (1990) view, generative learning is about creating — it requires "systemic thinking, shared vision, personal mastery, team learning, and creative tension" [between vision and current reality]. SOURCE

Generative learning community. A organization-based generative learning community is a sanctioned "skunkworks" for generating, incubating, and spreading highly leveraged learning/change innovations that directly support its business mission. It's a focused learning community whose purpose is to spawn and support self-evolving practices and processes throughout the enterprise. It's a community of learners committed to evolving themselves, their teams and their organization in a way that best serves the common good. This community attracts and supports those going for breakthroughs in both business results and organizational capacity-building.SOURCE

Hitnosis. Obsessively checking your web counter to see if the number has changed.

ILT. Instructor-led training, generally a workshop.

IMS - A standards body developing and promoting open specifications for facilitating online distributed learning. Its traditional emphasis surrounded meta-tagging specifications

Informal/formal learning. Formal learning is a class, a seminar, a self-study course -- everyone recognizes it as learning. Informal learning is over the water cooler, at the poker game, asking the guy in the next cube to help out, collaborative problem solving, watching an expert, or sharing a terminal for eLearning. More than half of corporate learning is the informal kind.

Infrastructure. The underlying social and technical processes, systems, and structures that constitute the basic framework of an organization and that are intended to define its patterns of performance. SOURCE

Instructional design. A systems approach to designing a learning experience. Heavily promoted by DoD investment, formal instructional design is currently under attack for fostering slow development, a printed-paper mindset, and insufficient attention to informal learning.

Internet time. The accelerated timeframe of the new economy brought on by eBusiness and the Internet. A year of Internet time may equal seven years of calendar time. Or more. Or less. The seven-year figure came from Netscape accomplishing in one year what would have taken a traditional company at least seven years.

Intangible. Something that cannot be perceived by the senses. Accountants and financial types only grudgingly concede that some intangibles have value, and they find it in things like brand names and patents. Because you can't immediately sense a person's capability, a customer's loyalty, or a relationship with a supplier, accountants say these things have to value.

Intellectual capital (IC) includes much more than knowledge, skills and information assets that can be formalized, captured and accessed in ways that are value-adding. Examples include patents, technological data bases and the like. IC also includes the intelligence and wisdom that is developed within the members of a social organism (e.g., a corporation), where its accessibility and value-adding capacity is dependent on the quality of the web of relationships that make it the social organism it is. SOURCE

Human Performance Technology. Systems thinking applied to human resource activities. According to Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps, "HPT is the applicaiton of what is known about human and organizational behavior to enhance accomplishments, economically and effectively, in ways that are valued within the work setting. Thus, HPT is a field of endeavor that seeks to bring about changes to a system in such a way that the system is improved in terms of the achievements it values."

internet. If you don't know what the internet is, none of the rest of this will make any sense to you. Note, however, the lowercase i. In 2005, Amy Gahrain made this the official spelling of the term.

Intuition. The power, ability or facility of attaining direct knowledge or cognition without rational thought or inference. We all possess this ability. In a rationality-centric culture this ability is often atrophied. SOURCE

ISPI. Inernational Society for Performance Improvement. The instructional designer's community of practice. Originally NSPI, the National Society for Programmed Instruction.

Job. Increasingly obsolete way of packaging work.

Job aid. Cheat sheet. Checklist. Process map. Generally, a piece of paper that helps you do your job.

Just-in-time learning. Getting the right knowledge to the right person at the right time.

K Log. Knowledge blog. A euphemism used by corporate types who don't want to be typecast as mere social bloggers.

Koan. Zen. A riddle without an answer. "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" This demonstrates the inadequacy of logic to explain things. Try the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle on for size.

Kittyblogger. A person who uses their blog to write about their cats or equally interesting topics.

Knowledge Management (KM). Whatever you want it to mean.

LAMP. Open-source software. Linux-Apache-MySQL-Perl, Python or PHP

Learner-centric. Organize things for the good of the learner, not the instructor and not the institution. The core tenet of eLearning.

Learning. [Traditional] To gain knowledge or information of; to ascertain by inquiry, study, or investigation; to acquire understanding of, or skill; as, to learn the way; to learn a lesson; to learn dancing; to learn to skate; to learn the violin; to learn the truth about something. [Practical] Improving one's connections with networks and communities that matter.

Learning organization. Peter Senge: "The organization in which you cannot not learn because learning is so insinuated into the fabric of life. ... a group of people continually enhancing their capacity to create what they want to create." Peter Senge also remarks: "The rate at which organizations learn may become the only sustainable source of competitive advantage." Yogesh Malhotra defines Learning Organization as an "Organization with an ingrained philosophy for anticipating, reacting and responding to change, complexity and uncertainty." SOURCE

Lecture. The dominant form of instruction at most major universities. The New York Times of August 14, 2002 entitled The College Lecture, Long Derided, May Be Fading, stated "One day in 1931, Hamilton Holt, president of Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., startled his colleagues at an academic conference when he declared that Yale and Columbia, which he had attended in his youth, 'taught me virtually nothing.' The reason, Mr. Holt explained, was that the lectures delivered by his teachers, as with those delivered by professors almost everywhere, were examples of 'probably the worst scheme ever devised for imparting knowledge.'"

LMS or Learning management system. eLearning infrastructure. At the simplest level, a tracking system. LMS's range from simple course-by-course registration systems to humongous, real-time databases that deal with personalization, learning prescriptions, job competencies, and parsing learning objects.

LCMS. Learning content management system. An LCMS is a multi-user environment where learning developers can create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository.

Learning object. A machine-addressible "chunk" of learning. When labeled with metadata, an eLearning system can mix and match learning objects to create individualized learning experiences. Controversy swirls around the question, "How large is a chunk?" A course is too large -- that's yesterday's object. A couple of sentences is too small -- you would lose the context that provides meaning. Think five or ten minutes.

Learning Organization. Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline writes that the learning organization has "the ability of everyone to continually challenge prevailing thinking, the ability to think systemically (to see the big picture and to balance the short- and long-term consequences of decisions), and the ability to build shared visions that truly capture people's highest aspirations."

Learning service provider. Delivers eLearning - including learning management -- over the Internet. A learning ASP. Focus in-house IT on core processes; outsource eLearning to an LSP.

Lens. In the realm of generative change we use 'lens' as a metaphor for any distinction or mental model that helps us make the invisible essentials visible that helps us focus on that which is essential to see through the otherwise opaque walls of our conceptual boxes.

LOMBARD. Lots Of Money But A Real Dickhead. Coined by The Economist. Sometimes applied to vulture capitalists.

Low-hanging fruit: In an apple orchard, it’s the apples on the low branches. In business, it’s the easy sales to get. Problem: You run out of low-hanging fruit long before you become profitable.

Meatspace. The physical world. Atoms, not bits. Opposite of cyberspace. Megasite. On the Web, a destination site that links to other worthy sources of information.

Meme. A self-replicating idea that propogates through people and networks, much like comptuer viruses. A thought-gene. Coined by Richard Dawkins.

Metadata. Information about information. Often, "metatags" that describe what's inside a chunk of learning. Generally machine-readable. Analogous to a barcode on an incoming shipment.

Metacognition is a theory, which states that learners benefit by thoughtfully and reflectively considering the things they are learning and the ways in which they are learning them. A common phrase used by its advocates is "thinking about thinking." In classroom situations, metacognition could well involve "thinking aloud" with a partner, so that each participant gains insight to the processes that lead to intellectual conclusions. Carried to further levels, metacognition might involve reflective thinking by students about the value and/or the applicability of the things they are learning.

Meta-Learning. The process of learning. Learning to learn is a major component. See Meta-Learning Lab.

Meta-tags - Descriptive labels applied to media assets, pages, information objects and/or learning objects that describe the object so it can be managed more effectively. Machine-readable.

M-learning. Mobile learning. Learning delivered or augmented by an untethered device, for example by cell phone, WiFi PDA, wearable with headmounted display, or wireless tablet.

Moblog. Combination of "mobile" with "blog," moblogs are websites where people can post pictures taken with mobile phones in real time.

Neophilia. Being excited and pleased by novelty. Common among most hackers, SF fans, and members of several other connected leading-edge subcultures, including the pro-technology ‘Whole Earth’ wing of the ecology movement, space activists, many members of Mensa, and the Discordian/neo-pagan underground. All these groups overlap heavily and (where evidence is available) seem to share characteristic hacker tropisms for science fiction, music, and oriental food. Source: The Jargon File.

Nurnburg funnel. Source of the metaphor of training being akin to pouring knowledge into a person's head.

Opportunity Cost. The cost of not doing something, e.g. the sales the rep didn't make because she was away at a seminar. Often the largest cost associated with training programs.

Ontology. The capstone of the Semantic Web. XML describes what the data is. RDF explains what the XML tag means in our context. An Ontology describes how all the pieces fit together.

Organizational nervous system. An organization's nervous system is made up of knowledge infrastructure and people. Knowledge infrastructure includes both social and technical infrastructure, specifically those information based processes, systems and structures that augment knowledge work. A nervous system can be designed and implemented in a way that supports dinosaur-like activity — or it can be designed and implemented in a way that supports an organization's capacity to consciously evolve itself, Nervous system functions include coordination, communication, sensing, memory, learning and change. An organization's capacity to appreciate its intellectual capital is directly related to the robustness of its nervous system.

Paradigm drag. When old thinking holds back new. From David Gelernter's Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology.

Peer to peer. When the PC is both client and server, able to swap resources directly with other PCs. Resources? Files, songs, videos, processor cycles, disk space. This wil be big for self-organizing teams.

Performance. The goal of learning. AKA productivity, results. It's relative to context. Decide what constitutes performance, then design the learning to support it.

Performance support. Learning imbedded in work. Microsoft's talking paperclip and 'Wizards' that guide users through applications are examples.

Permalink. A permanent marker or reference point to a certain document on the world wide web. Most commonly used for weblogs, news sites and newspapers. A permalink is denoted through the use of a symbol (pound sign, arrow, dot), date of content creation, the word permalink or image.

Personalization. Learning opportunities tailored to the learner's background, style, previous knowledge, etc. 'Mass customization' and '1:1 marketing' applied to learning. Results are saved time, accelerated learning, more wheat/less chaff, phenomenal performance gain.

Plog. Project weblog, a low-risk/high-reward knowledge sharing tool. Coined by Michael Schrage.

Podcasting. Audio-blogging.

Portal. 1. Synonyn for entry screen. Widely hyped 1998-1999 because anyone can imagine the utility of an in-house Yahoo. 2. Transactional portal. A front-end which lets you do as well as see things.

Positive psychology posits that we should stop relying on what we've learned from the mentally ill when advising people who are mentally healthy. Better to look at what makes happy people happy. Take this approach organizationally and you get Cooperrider's Appreciate Inquiry.

Prairie-dogging. Popping up from a cubicle to ask a question.

Presence awareness. If the urinal in the airport bathroom knows when I'm there and when I'm not, should we expect anything less from our computer networks?

Pro Am. An amateur who does something to professional standards, such as writing Linux routines for Linus. Part of DIY.

Problem. Sometimes, a way of blinding oneself to new opportunities. Dr David Cooperrider says “Once we describe something as a problem, we assume that we know what the ideal is - what should be - and we go in search of ways to close any ‘gaps’ - not to expand our knowledge or to build better ideals.”

Pronoia. The belief that the world is conspiring to make you happy and successful.

ROI. Largely obsolete term of art from the industrial age.

RDF - Resource Description Framework. A dictionary and thesaurus for XML tags that sits between XML and an ontology.

RLO - Reusable Learning Object. A discrete chunk of reusable learning that teaches one or more terminal objectives.

RSS - Real Simple Syndication, among other definitions. A format for syndicating blogs.

Schmooze. 1. Chat informally: to chat socially and agreeably. 2. Be ingratiating toward somebody: to talk persuasively to somebody, often to gain personal advantage

Search learning. When you learn from perusing Amazon, looking up topics on Google, or paging through business magazines on the airplane.

Semantic Web. Will enable computers to talk with one another. How we will address "the difference between information produced primarily for human consumption and that produced mainly for machines. At one end of the scale we have everything from the five-second TV commercial to poetry. At the other end we have databases, programs and sensor output. To date, the Web has developed most rapidly as a medium of documents for people rather than for data and information that can be processed automatically. The Semantic Web aims to make up for this." Tim Berners-Lee in Scientific American.

SCORM. Sharable Content Object Reference Model. Standards are very popular; that's why there are so many of them. SCORM is the Federal government's standard. It seeks to track and manage courseware developed by various authoring tools using a single system. The objective is to bring together diverse and disparate learning content and products to ensure reusability, accessibility, durability, and interoperability. Built on the work of AICC, IMS, the IEEE, and others. See www.adlnet.org for the latest. Coming under fire for narrow focus on self-directed learning as well as for military backing.

Self-service. Pump your own gas. Better still, use the ATM. Either way, the customer does the work once done by others. Often this makes things more convenient and quick. Self-service learning is synonymous with self-directed learning.

Serendipity is a "happy accident." People can develop a state of mind that makes serendipity more likely, more frequent, and far more consequential. Fortune favors those who have a cause or mission and pursue it with sagacity, sensitivity, and wisdom. Applying this approach throughout an organization's culture prepares it to expect the unexpected, to notice what others miss, and to be receptive to impressions and intuitions.

Shelf-life. Knowledge is perishable. Some suggest it be labeled with pull-dates, like cartons of milk. (And others point out that spoiled milk may have been put in the eLearning bottle to being with.)

SOAP - simple object access protocol. Describes how one application talks to a Web service and asks it to perform a task and return an answer. SOAP makes it possible to use Web services for transactions—say, credit card authorization or checking inventory in real-time and placing an order. See Web services.

Soft numbers. Term of derision used by people who don't understand that intangibles are more important in our economy than "hard" assets. Soft numbers include the value of training, customer relationships, brand, prestige, organizational knowledge, and all forms of intellectual capital.

Stakeholders include all who are involved in or are affected by the activities of a given organization; those who have a stake in the choices that organization makes, and in the consequences of those choices. SOURCE
Examples: The immediate stakeholder family includes stockholders, suppliers, customers, members (employees), strategic partners, community, government regulators, Nature, and even competitors. An extended family of stakeholders ripples out from this first group and includes families, society and future generations.

Stories are a compelling way to share knowledge and learn informally. Stories are natural, entertaining, and engaging. When fully engaged, the readers' minds work in concert with the storyteller to focus entirely on generating the virtual world of the story. The power comes from propelling listeners to invent their own stories. Then they own the outcomes. "I liked the book better than the movie because the colors were better."

Synchronous. [pretentious] Live event.

Tacit/explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is knowing how; it's impossible to transfer it to you in words. Explicit knowledge is the opposite -- you're reading it right now.

Technophilia. The belief that technology will solve all ills. Especially prevalent during the dot-com delusion, fostered by Wired magazine.

Timing. The first 90% of a development project takes 90% of the time. The remaining 10% also takes 90% of the time.

Training. An attempt to impose learning, often more at the convenience of the provider than the recipient.

UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration) A virtual yellow pages for Web services that lets software discover what Web services are available and how to hook up to them. See Web services.

VOIP. Phonecalls over the Internet. When you conduct a meeting with Centra or Groove, people from all over the world can speak with one another with NO PHONE CHARGES. The technology is not yet out of the woods; unable to reach someone at Cisco last year, a colleague explained, "Oh, she's testing one of our VOIP phones. She never receives her calls."

Warchalking. Marking the location of open wi-fi connections to the net on the sidewalk or wall in chalk.

WSDL - Web services description language. If UDDI is a virtual yellow pages, WSDL is the little blurb associated with each entry that describes what kind of work the Web service can do—say, that it can give you access to a database of ZIP codes.

Web 2.0. The next evolution of the web. The web as platform. Two-way; anyone can create content and syndicate it.

Web log. AKA blog. Try this one. "If journalism is the first draft of history, then blogging is sometimes the first draft of journalism...." says Ed Cone.

Web services. Standards that enable interoperability on applications on the net. Includes XML, SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL. More

Wiki. Great way to stop a conversation. Wiki is Hawaiian for quick. Wikis are geeky structures that let anyone "Edit this page." It helps to know CamelCase. Best for very task-oriented groups. Touted as the more lasting complement to ephemeral blogs. Lots of smoke, little fire.

Wireless learning. Tell me once again. If my cell phone craps out at random intervals, how will a wireless modem enable me to cut the cord?

Workflow Learning. Term coined by Jay Cross to describe the sort of learning the real-time extended enterprise requires. The merger of work and learning. See Workflow Institute.

XML. eXtensible Markup Language. Like HTML but more flexible because you can redefine tags to say whatever you want. Instead of some obscure code, you might have or . This enables computers to talk with one another without pesky human intervention.

For learning objects, XML is equivalent to the labels on cans at the supermarket -- it's lets you determine what's inside without opening the package. This enables an object-level Learning Management System to assemble strings of learning objects into personalized learning paths.

YMMV. "Your mileage may vary." Recognition that your results may not be the same as mine. (Other things are never equal.)


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