Jay Cross
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More real dirt on eLearning (Replay)
Monday, March 14, 2005

Macromedia's recording of last Friday's online conversation is here.

This is hardly a flawless presentation. Sometimes you're going to want to pull the little slider in the time-bar to speed things up. From an earlier post on this session:
Up front, I explained that we were conducting an experiment. Today we were going to engage in conversation, not presentation. We have no script. Our agenda is updating one another and answering participant questions.

I was rebelling against the instructor-centric model that dominates most webinars. A presentation is "pre," something prepared in advance. It presumes that the presenter is going to lay it on the audience. Real learning takes place through dialog and interaction. It's a conversation. The "con" is Latin for with. It's a shared experience. That's what we were shooting for.

The hour-long dialogue was marred by a variety of glitches, among them lack of clarity about format, mis-match of audience and topic, insufficient monitoring of online questions and audience mood, social distance between presenters and participants, and jerky video quality.

Breeze performed perfectly. We brought our problems on ourselves.

Participant evaluations of quality were Excellent 5, Good 21, Aveerge 9, and Poor 3. By my standards, this is sub-par performance. I'm not giving up on the form, but I look forward to improving our execution.


Anonymous Meir Navon said...

Hi Jay,
Listened to recorded version of the lesson (it was late Friday in Israel...) and liked it very much. I believe we are on the right track and so much so, that your provocations are not so provocative anymore...They are kind of almost main stream. We just have to make it happen and that's what I'm trying to do here in Israel.
Once again I realize how the video is superfluous and even disruptive. It's not actually of a TV quality, take band width and move the attention. We should have it only when it adds something and in such a conversation it's not the case.
BTW, I've started a Blog ( www.meirnavon.motime.com ) and would be honored to have you visit it!
Meir Navon

12:20 AM  
Blogger Bill Bruck said...

Jay -

The pre- v. con- is a great meme!

I'm in total agreement with Meir on the video. My take is we need to make a business case for what the value add is before we just add talking heads to a mix.

I'm also thinking that sometimes lack of structure facilitates conversation, and sometimes it's mere laziness on the part of the facilitator. Looking back at F2F models, the best seminars I had in college were ones where the professor actually engaged in a fair bit of preparation - it was just a different TYPE of preparation.

So I guess I would argue that facilitating conversation is extremely different than coming in with no preparation. The preparation may consist of:

* Providing a provocative 30-second position
* Asking the right questions
* Priming a few participants to bring something to the table
* In some situations (not this one) assigning pre-work

What are your thoughts?


Bill Bruck (Q2Learning)
Collaborative Learning Blog http:q2learning.blogs.com
Join our CoP at http://cop.collabhost.com

3:50 AM  
Blogger jay said...

Bill and Meir,

I agree that the video added little to the value of this particular conversation.

As to preparation, let me add another category: prep through relevant experience and research. Last Tuesday I led a panel discussion. The panelists included a pioneering software entrepreneur, a thought leader in semantic web, a top guy in performance-centered design, an expert in tech-supported collaboration, and an IBM VP of human capital. They answered questions submitted by the audience 15 minutes earlier.

Numerous people told me afterward that our session was inspiring. We hadn't prepared the night before or the week before. We'd each been preparing for the last decade.

The spontaneity of our responses made us more credible than a carefully prepared presentation.

4:50 PM  

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