What Did I Learn Today?

LrnToday

This morning I saw a tweet from @MattGuyan who had forwarded a tweet from Nick Leffler (@technkl) about promoting What did You Learn Today? #lrntoday

Capture

I thought, “why not!?” What a great way to be mindful of what I do in a day and take note of what I learn at various moments of the day.

So here it goes…

08:30

My colleague exclaims, “Our SharePoint site seems to work faster this morning“. We had issues with it slowing down especially in the afternoons, so I made a mental note to use it more often in the mornings so I don’t end up angry in the late afternoons when I’m so desperate to get home.

A win already and it’s only 8:30am…YES! *fist pump*

(Okay, I know you’re thinking “but aren’t you going to find out the reason why SharePoint is slowing down…” yes, alright, I know…. *kicks dirt*)

09:10

I learned that some colleagues aren’t as comfortable with social networking such as Yammer as I am and not to expect the same level of enthusiasm of this tool as I have. This morning I coached a colleague to upload a post on an upcoming fund raising event.  I coached him on tagging posts and using images for visual appeal to capture the readers attention.  He was fascinated with the idea of ‘tagging’ or in Yammer it’s called ‘Topics’  (“What a fantastic idea, I like that!” he said).

My secret goal of getting everyone to tag their posts in Yammer is slowly (ever slowly) becoming a reality *fist pump*

10:50

Colleague taps me on the shoulder.  He has a SharePoint issue.  What’s with SharePoint this morning?  I couldn’t exactly figure his problem out so I needed to learn how to do this first before coaching him.  I make a time to see him at his desk later that afternoon with a solution. He walks away.

Now I need to learn how to solve his problem in SharePoint. But first, my teleconference…

11:00  

Business Bank client on telephone raves about Webex and one of our Learn How to Learn Online virtual classroom sessions.  She wants to know how she can use it to do their training, learning and business meetings as frankly, she’s tired of driving long distances.  I give them advice on how to get their licence and how we can help coach her to use the site and train her people on how to use it.  She’s chuffed. I hang up and go back to my SharePoint problem.

11:30

I turn to my colleague, a whizz in SharePoint who prefers not to tell me how to use it but encourages me to explore “free form Learning“.  I click left, right and centre. Site Actions, Page Views, Permissions, Web Parts….oh so confusing.

As we were talking about ‘Permissions’ in SharePoint, another person near me overheard my conversation and it turns out that he’s a bit of a SharePoint boffin.  He too, confirmed that permissions may be difficult to understand in SharePoint.

Mental Note: I learned to solve the problem but at same time resolved to learn more about SharePoint…oh and never use the Back button.

11:40

I show the same colleague Horrible Histories Viking Song because for some reason in the last few days – although I’m not questioning it – I can now view YouTube videos through the firewall.

I explained that I learned English history through watching these YouTube videos  and reading the Horrible History books while travelling around the UK, Scotland, Wales and Ireland on our Trafalgar tour recently.  (Really, who wants to read hefty historical books when you’re travelling?)

He loves the music clip so much that he puts it on Yammer for the wider organisation explaining how L&D can use creative and engaging techniques.  I add to the conversation and steer people to the work of Amy Burvall (@amyburvall) too through her History for Music Lovers YouTube channel.  Okay, we don’t all need to be singers, comics, musicians but a bit of creativity didn’t hurt anyone. Certainly makes learning more interesting…

Strangely no one comments in Yammer but I’m fast getting used to this. Or they think we are mad.

I learned I can be a bit obsessive with Horrible Histories but obviously not as much as this guy.

12:21

@LearnKotch sends me a direct message asking to use bits of my LearnX post to brief is L&D team in his company.

What? I learned that my blog posts may be useful to some people?

12:30

While munching on baked beans for lunch in a comfy booth filled with cushions (yes our workplace is like that), an ex-colleague whom I hadn’t seen in a while sat down opposite me. She took me by surprise and there was a bit of baked bean dribble that I wiped away embarrassingly as I struggled to remember her name.

“Oh hello ummm….. how are you…..yes….long time no see, how have you been?”

This was just enough time and her name popped into my head. Phew.

As an enthusiastic, exhuberant Gen Y, she mentioned how her work was boring and unstimulating.  “I feel that I’m not developing in my role,” she said.  Instead in her own time she is taking German lessons for some mental stimulation.  When I asked her the reasons, she talked about her passion for living and working overseas – possibly Berlin because she wanted somewhere avant garde, something a bit new and exciting.

I made a mental note to keep quiet about the fact that I was watching Rammstein clips last night on YouTube.  I was fascinated with their spectacular pyrotechnic display at one of their concerts.  I don’t think she meant this type of ‘avant garde’.

She said how she was passionate about exploring roles in conservation and the environment.  I asked her if she has networks in the space whom she can speak to.  Alas no.  Instead, I suggested she look into www.goodcompany.com.au a great site that links business professionals to not-for-profit organisations and that her skills may be needed somewhere. Maybe she can use her IT skills for a NFP in the area of conservation?    She was so happy and exclaimed, “The gods have put you in my path Helen! I was meant to see you today!”  (that’s a lovely comment).

1:14

I write an email to a fellow I met who recently fixed my laptop .  He’s an IT geek.  It’s good to have friends like this.

Recently I saw him looking stressed with folders and books around him.  “I’m studying towards a Diploma of Financial Planning and I just don’t get it!”  His studies are important to him so that he can get out of IT support and become a Financial Planner. Another Gen Y.  I couldn’t help him with his question of Statement of Advice but I knew who would.  I asked him if he knew any financial planners. He knew none.  “But we’re in a bank!” I exclaim but follow it with, “let me find someone to help you!”  One quick email to a few financial planner mates (handy to have those friends as well!), they come back that they’re only too happy to tell him what he needs to know rather than decipher it from hefty academic material.

I learn that he has organised meeting them and looking forward to it. It’s handy to have a network.

1:30

I have a meeting with the head of the new department of the new restructure.  I applied for a role in her area and explain my interest in the role of Future Skills Capability Consultant and why I believe I’m the best person based on my knowledge and experience.  I realise that much of my knowledge and experience, learning and networking has occurred OUTSIDE of normal work hours but they have made an assumption of my knowledge and skills based on what they see me do DURING work hours.

I quickly learn that there’s benefit to networking within the organisation and not just outside of it.

People within my own L&D team don’t know who I am or make judgement based on my current role.  I learn that they call me the “Yammer Lady” or the “SharePoint lady” or “the one that has a pretty good LinkedIn profile”.

Mmm. Double edged sword.

2:07 

I bound up the stairs and locate the person with the SharePoint issue.  I pull a chair over to his desk and coach him through the problem.  Within a few minutes, it’s sorted. He’s happy. We both learned something.

His boss on the other side of the cubicle mumbles something about SharePoint.

3:24 

Uploading a MP4 file to our video channel sitting outside the firewall was creating issues.  It was failing to upload.  The client wanted to distribute the podcast to her business today.  After a few attempts, still no luck.  My colleague pulls out a Turbo card.  “Time to use our own turbo card, log off the network and see if this baby loads outside the firewall.”  

Within seconds the file is loaded.  I shake my head in disbelief that sometimes our work systems simply don’t allow us to work efficiently.  I transcode the video, send the URL to the client, she’s happy. She sends me a smiley face.

I learned that sometimes you just need to do what you have to do to do your work.

So that’s it – my day with various learning nuggets.  Most of all I have realised that my knowledge is valued by people and I’m pretty helpful and approachable.  It was a good day today and this task got my mind away from the restructure and gave me an appreciation of my value and service to others.

So what did you learn today…literally?

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About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
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7 Responses to What Did I Learn Today?

  1. Thanks Nick, very true. I’ve got my performance conversations this week and out of this exercise, I’m going to bring it up as a development opportunity and like you wrote, cite specific examples. The truth is, I’m finding it difficult to promote this because what I think is important or exciting or innovative – I have to actually explain to others who don’t make the connection between how we can use and apply in the workplace. I have to find a way to explain things in such short simple concepts without coming across that I spend all my time online or connected because people think I’m just wasting time. It’s not considered of value… it’s going to be a tough one that I’m scratching my head over…

  2. Nick says:

    The most difficult part is usually the promoting your skills from within, I too find it difficult and am always working on it. People tend to have a hard time understanding what I do specifically so I must cite specific examples and hope they’ve run across them.

    I too hope others join in, you’ve definitely set the bar high and I look forward to more of your reflections. I’m glad to see people are enjoying the concept behind the hashtag and will make every effort to make sure others join in, I find it so valuable to everybody who sees it.

    Thanks again!

  3. Thanks Nick, in all honesty, it made me think of something else other than the general feeling at work with a restructure hanging over our heads. The focus was more positive and I was mindful about each interaction I had with everyone during the day. I think the biggest and key learning for me is that there is work for me to do to promote my work internally. Thanks again for the great idea for #lrntoday and hope that others can do the same!

  4. Thanks for the comment Con. I think it was effective actually. Eye opening in fact. It hit me when I was chatting to a senior manager and she asked me about my background and was unaware of my work simply because I hadn’t promoted it within my own L&D department. (Yes, I promote it on Yammer but I realised that they’re not on Yammer).

    The fact I reflected on my learning made me realise a massive limitation of how I’m perceived at work. I think the trick is to continually reflect on what you learn and use the opportunity to blog about it.

    I also learned a lot about Sharepoint so I don’t think the same problems will arise without me knowing what to do about it.

    So now, I have to reconsider ways of promoting my knowledge and skills WITHIN the organisation. I couldn’t believe how short sighted I was – in a world where our own teams aren’t all connected, why did I assume that they’d automatically be aware of my background in learning?

    Oh well….

  5. Nick says:

    Helen, all I can say after reading your post is… wow! Matt has it right, busy day, and an amazing day.

    I really connect with the parts about SharePoint, my most recent post mentions SharePoint a bit. I guess I have a love hate relationship with it as might you. It’s so complicated and difficult to understand but at the same time you can’t get away from the fact that it is so powerful. I’ve resorted to just acknowledging that it’s great for a very technical crowd but not so great for everyone else.

    I really enjoyed reading about your day, and learned a bit myself! Your knowledge is definitely helpful to others, and you’re an excellent writer too. Informative and entertaining, the perfect combination 🙂

    Matt, I feel self-reflection is such an important part of our day too, I find so much of the actual learning happens during this step of the learning process. I’m constantly trying to think of ways to include reflection as part of the learning process in everything I do and every learning experience I create, including for myself!

    Thank you both for great #LrnToday info, I’m really glad you two are using it and enjoying it. Hope it helps you as much as it does me.

  6. Great post Helen – yes your blogs are useful. As I am not allowed to blog I am envious of those that do and thus look to use their captured information in an innovative and informative manner in my organisation.
    The only aspect of what did you learn today that is challenging for all of us is – did we / do we get a chance to apply what we learnt today to future situations or task and determine how effective this has been. As learning is a journey, did you acquire, analyse, apply, confirm and evaluate your learning – I know its sounds formal – but try it next time and see “how effective” was what you have learnt today when applied in other situations. I know I sound like I am on my hobby horse but give it a go. Talk soon.

  7. Busy day Helen but lots of variety! I think the good thing about Nick’s ‘What did you learn today’ is that its good for self-reflection which can be a great learning tool.

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