Getting to Grips with MOOCs

Donald H Taylor’s recently updated blog on MOOCs inspired me to write about what we’re doing with MOOCs in the Diplomatic Academy.  Basically we’re hoping to support online learners by making MOOCs part of blended programmes, rather than letting them sit there as self-study options.  It’s very early days.  It would be great to hear... Continue Reading →


On Being Sold To

You have put your life’s work into building a business which makes and sells Fake Zebra Fur Coats.  Or recently you got a sales job for Fake Zebra Fur Coats Ltd.  Either way, I understand and appreciate your passion for Fake Zebra Fur Coats.  We all need to make a living. *cough* Learning Management Systems... Continue Reading →

Chasing the Goldfish

My last four blogs have covered: Why we’ve got a lot of competition for people’s attention (Waving at Concorde) Why we can’t assume we’ve beaten that competition, even when people are looking right at us (Lights On, Nobody Home) What’s actually going on inside people’s heads when they’re trying to pay attention (Posner and Petersen)... Continue Reading →

Offensive Tackles

I’m not a particular fan of American Football, but it offers a great metaphor for the brain’s inhibitory system, so I’m suspending judgement for the next 600 words.  Anyway Hunter S Thompson liked it so it can’t be all bad. When we’re trying to focus on something – trying to focus on somebody talking to... Continue Reading →

The Posner and Petersen Model

The brain has no off switch.  The people trying to pay attention to you, or to your material, simply cannot switch off all the scanning systems which are likely to distract them. But delving a bit deeper: what is going on in those brains, and can we use it to our own advantage? Michael I... Continue Reading →

Lights On, Nobody Home

Seven Ways to Preach a Lousy Sermon is an article by Pastor Ken Collins.  He talks about the attention span of a congregation.  He puts it like this: “You don’t need to put your watch on the pulpit to see if your sermon is too long—just watch the congregation. How many people are looking at... Continue Reading →

Waving at Concorde

When you stand up in front of a room of twenty people – to give a lunchtime talk, or a seminar – to give opening remarks, an informal speech, the fire safety instructions or a quick session on Buddhist philosophy – you might feel like you’re being watched closely by 20 pairs of eyes.  But... Continue Reading →

Learning Groups: Now It’s Eleven Things

Training Zone kindly published my article on learning groups last November.  This described seven things we've learnt in the Diplomatic Academy after 18 months of encouraging our global network to use learning groups - to work through a specific curriculum on Foundation Level knowledge and skills - and getting detailed feedback on how it's gone. A further... Continue Reading →

Learning & Deliveroo

As a thought experiment, what would organisational learning look like, if we became Deliveroo? There are some similarities in the ambition.  We want to deliver: learning "in the workplace" - we go to them, at their convenience, they don't come to us.  Same as Deliveroo. "just in time" learning - we provide it exactly when the... Continue Reading →

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