Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How personal is your online personal branding?

My daughter thinks I'm a complete loser on Instagram. If I put a photo on instagram I have 1 or two likes. She and her friends easily get 100. Many of her pictures are about experimenting with your looks and a like is feedback. Whatever you think about this (it is also more preoccupation with looks) it is clear that presenting yourself online comes more naturally for that generation. I never learned it and I am still struggling with it. I want to make it personal but have some hesistance in showing too much of my private life online.

I share my background working with SNV in Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana. This is part of my work and important for my experience. I also share things about my daughters but mostly if it is relevant and illustrative for the use of new media by the younger generation. I don't share my scoliosis as it doesn't affect my work.. I read and reflect quite a bit on personal branding and it is part of our courses with Ennuonline. Here a few guidelines which may help you think through your own strategy.

Be authentic Authenticity has to do with sincerity, show who you are. So it is better to share less but being really engaged deeply in the topics you write about. In that way people get a good picture of who you are. What I struggle with is when my interests shift. For instance I started this blog about communities of practice, but now it is wider about online learning, innovation, social learning, learning as professional.

Don't share everything Being authentic does not mean you have to share everything. You can show who you are by sharing a portion of your work and thoughts. Ultimately, you want people to get to know as a unique professional. You can also share just a part of your professional life and yet enough to be interesting.

Don't share your whole private life You can perfectly share online as a professional without talking about your private life. You have your own vision as a professional in your profession. Of course your professional vision also influenced by experiences private. And it is also part of your identity. So of course you may at times explain how you come to a certain way of thinking.

Distinguish between professional and private accounts (or not) It is possible to create different accounts for different identities, for example, a separate account as a teacher on Facebook, and a private account for friends.  The great thing about social media is however that you get to know the whole person and you miss that when splitting. Besides, an extra account is more work.

Copy-cat A good exercise is to look down at a few of your heroes and copy / imitate. Who has way of sharing that is personal yet professional that appeals to you? Read again what he or she shares and try to write some tweets or messages in the same style. Is it different from your 'normal' style?

Want to read more?
How do you decide on what to share and how personal you want to be?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Working with visuals as powerful learning activity

Schermafbeelding 2014-10-16 om 11.29.27Talking about practice what you preach! -  This is really what we did during the webinar about using visuals with Nancy White. We were choosing images, discussing images, drawing pictures alone and drawing pictures together. It was an eye-opener that working with visuals is much more than selecting a nice image to illustrate your text: drawing can be a powerful learning intervention.

The power of visuals is that it involves another part of the brain, which influences the directions of discussions. Visuals are engaging, by engaging both emotions and invoking sense-making. Some visuals are culturally sensitive but there are also symbols which work across all culture, for instance the spiral as a symbol of change. Some people may feel resistance to drawing because it missing the structure they are craving for. One of the lessons we learned is that images without text will have a more open interpretation, an image with text is already interpreted by the owner. Hence you have to think carefully how and if you want to combine text with images. Visuals can be used a variety of function - to illustrate an idea, - to clarify (like a model), - to stimulate curiosity, - to negotiate meaning making. We have to be conscious about how we use visuals - is it simply about making the online page look more attractive, is it to contextualize, or to stimulate curiosity? For learning purposes as a facilitator you can use visuals as well for meaning making. Videos are also powerful. Having the voice of a certain perspective on video can lead to people taking in the information differently then when presented in text.

  Some interesting online exercises for trainers and facilitators - for inspiration
  • Ask people to share an image online on a topic before an online meeting (for instance in a padlet or boardthing). During the meeting you can invite people to group the images and invite a conversation about it. Especially inviting people to interpret images and to ask questions.
  • Ask people to brainstorm during an online meeting on a topic through text. Then regroup or ask people to pick an interesting aspect. Here you don't use images. However, you visualize the conversation because it is visible for everybody.
  • Do a visual summary of an online discussion for instance in a wordcloud, mindmap or with images
  • Ask people to draw individually on a part of an online whiteboard
  • Ask the group to draw collectively on a whiteboard
  • Use videos - a creative use of videos was shared where each stakeholder had a video.
A list of resources if you want to do more with visuals

Monday, September 22, 2014

Data is beautiful (but not many learning professionals believe this)

I read the book 'Big learning data'. I do like playing with data and always liked mathematics.  waarzegster

Learning data is a new topic - quite big and still evolving. In the book a referal is made to 1000 self-assessments by learning professionals rating their skill set. Data interpretation was one of the lowest scoring skills of learning professionals!. Much higher scored presenting, facilitating skills etc. In other words, learning professionals are usually not the first to dive into numbers. Most betas are not learning professionals.

What is learning analytics? Learning analytics is about the use of data for learning and improving learning processes. In the cartoon above, for example, you see that the fortune teller used Facebook as a source of information to predict the the future. Smart of her ofcourse :). As a professional learning you can now do like the fortune teller using data (information) online. The book focuses on the use of big data in organizations to support, especially large-scale data learning. What I miss in the book is where you may practically start within an organization, even though they explain you can start with a training dashboard where you systematically collect data.

In this blog post I will try to propagate more use of data by learning professionals by making it small and practical and looking at three levels:

  1. the level of your own online learning network (also called personal learning network PLN) 
  2. the level of an online course or course 
  3. the level of an organization

I think that sometimes you have data available at hand that you are not  (yet) using as a professional but could improve your work. And on the other hand, there are new tools like Google Analytics or Twitter Analytics that you can use to start collecting data.

Level 1: the level of your Personal Learning Network (PLN) 
At the level of your own online network you can measure a lot, depending on what your goals are. Think of it as a form of feedback to collect and analyze feedback. For example: you can measure the number of retweets on Twitter. We have an en_nu_online account on twitter where we share a tip everyday. I follow the number of retweets with the aim to see which tips are populair. I do this mainly to with the "my tweets, retweeting." column in Hootsuite. Every month I try to gather the totals and assemble those in an excel sheet. I have noticed that a lot of very practical tweets are retweeted  - this helps me to focus the upcoming tips focus. See also my blog post "Do not follow your number of followers, but you mentions and retweets. New to Twitter is that you can also turn on your analytics. I did this yesterday and you get a lot of information about your tweets.

Level 2: the level of an online cursus or learning trajectory 
For the course 'learning and changing with new media, we use an online platform, a Ning platform. Within this platform, you can also make use of data. For example you can see which topics were given a lot of responses. We use this type of information as we go through redesigns. But apart from the number of responses you can see the number of views. I use this information when I receive few reactions. Sometimes people read it but it is still a heavy topic to respond to. Most platforms do have data, and you want more than you could make use of Google Analytics. Qualitatively you might analyse the content of a course for instance with a wordcloud (eg. wordle or tagxedo). In Moodle I often monitor the participants who have not logged on for 5 days.

Level 3: the level of an organization or network 
At the level of an organization or school learning analytics is a bit more complex. Within an organization or school is it really a major project since you also have to look at the performance data and dashboards which already exist. It is best when you can make a link between performance and assessment and training / informal learning. Who can play what role in such a project? Think of the Research and Development, Learning and Training (HRD), Data scientists and management departments. Perhaps a good start within an organization or school to see what data you actually use . Sometimes gathering data in an excel sheet can be a big step. Additionally, you can think about an organizational challenge to solve. How can you start collecting to progress in this issue? So start with a question. I actually think the book 'measuring the networked non-profit' van Beth Kanter en Katie Delahaye Paine  might be a more practical book than 'big learning data'. A quote from that book is 'deciding what to measure is 90% of the process'.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Changing with technology: the example of collaborating with slack

I find it fascinating to see how our habits change (or don't change at all!) driven by new technologies.

In the Dutch cartoon Fokke and Sukke are making bookcovers for their ipads on the Steve Jobs school

Yesterday Patricia called and because she is in my phone contacts I took the phone with a "Hi Patricia, this is Joitske, how are you?" the answer was "Hi this is Patricia" What a weird start of the conversation... Apparently you can not easily change your default phrase which which you start a phone conversation. The starting phrase "hi, this is Patricia" comes from the time when there was no contact name on the screen of your phone. A phrase or habit which is apparently quite deeply ingrained in our minds. I think it's a funny example of the influence of technology on our communication and how our habits are sometimes matching older technologies ..

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you had (until about 6 months ago) to pass a scanner as a visitor, so you had to walk counterclockwise. Three months after the scanner was removed I kept the same route walking to the escalator. Until I noticed that everyone in front of me walked to the right to go straight to the escalator which is faster! I felt pretty stupid that I had not noticed this before.

I have blogged earlier about my grandma from the North speaking dialect but who couldn't speak dialect on the phone. On the phone she would speak official Dutch which sounds very formal. One older manager I met did not want to read from the screen and had everything printed. He said he simply couldn't read from screens. It is like some of our habits are one step behind the new technology and can not catch up.

Sometimes it works the other way, and you can also use technology to stimulate a change in habits. In team of five people, we noticed that we mainly seek advice from those you work closely together with on a project and that the threshold for quickly asking advice from the others is quite high. My answer was actually consciously assigning a new role of  'advisor'. However, a colleague suggested to use slack as a teamtool. With slack you can create channels, ask questions and call somebody into a conversation by tagging his name.  We've been slacking a month now and it works! Interestingly, another team had a look at slack and thought it was too chaotic. The reason why it works so well for us is that this colleague already uses it in another project and helped us to get into the tool. Which is not too hard, but there are many small things you need to explore.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

5 Reasons not to work online as facilitator or trainer

doe het niet
We are working and living our lives more and more online, but within your work as organizational advisor, facilitator or teacher you can still focus on face-to-face activities. There are 5 good reasons to NOT go online:

1. The people you work with prefer face-to-face contact

Many people say they prefer to come together. Ultimately, it is the most enjoyable way of working together isn't it? Who knows you might be forced to really take an interest in a topic through an online process and have to focus on what you want to learn. It is much easier to schedule plain old meetings where you can go lean back and see what will happen. With a bit of luck you don't have to think to much.

2. You like to have your schedule full of meetings, which gives you an idea of control 

Imagine that you need to organize online activities, then you should spend more time at your computer. Face-to-face events are preferable because you can schedule them till you know your weekly agenda is fully booked. Online asks more of your abilities to organize your work. You would then have to schedule your work flexibly. That would give you the freedom to integrate your private activities easier into your schedule.

3. Face-to-face is needed to build trust to have real conversations

Real good conversations occur only face-to-face. Online is just a substitute for face-to-face contact, of much less value. The fact that more people are online dating and stay informed via Facebook and Whatsapp groups is crazy. That is only superficial contact, and may not have much impact. Real important conversations and new ideas happen face-to-face and not via chat. Online you would get nothing done and have no effect. Weird that politicians invest so much in their online presence on Twitter!

4. You are not working with youth

If you would work with youngsters, you'd definitely work online. You work a lot with 40 + ers and those people are not online. E-mail is just about it. "Do not teach old dogs new tricks." Fortunately that you work with a relatively older group then you do not have to go online and cope with all interesting developments for new ways of learning.

5. You are not good with technology

If you participate in a webinar is there is always something not working well. All those viruses on your computer. It's a good reason to stay far away from facilitating online. Before you know it you will be responsible for ensuring that the technology is working well. What if something goes wrong then you might be required to help people and to improvise. That's not part of your job, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Screenagers, generation X and technology

foto I went to an evening about generational learning and it was full of these kind of dialogues between different generations:
"How would it be to work in an organisation without the younger generations?"
 Older person: "It would be very boring!"
Older person: "how would it be to work in an organisation without the older generations?"
Young person: "I would miss the complaining..." :)

Edna Walhain and Emiel Nijenhuis from Koffie en bubbels provided some background information about 4 generations. The characteristics of a generation can be explained by looking at the formative period, the period when people are between 15 and 25 years of age. This is when their ideas and values are formed. Screenagers (born between 1985 and 2000, grew up with internet and lots of individual attention and self-esteem),  the Pragmatic generation born between 1970-1985, generation X (born 1955- 1970 - grown with fear of the bomb, cold war and oil crises) and babyboomers (born 1940-55, the protestgeneration, formative period the 60s).

STATEMENT "Without youth, organizations do not keep up with technological developments" Technology was a recurrent theme in a lot of discussions. Young people are skilled in dealing with new technologies and flexible in searching good applications for their work. They don't follow and accept the organisational technologies, they go in search of the best programs, which clashes with a lot of organisational policies. Older generations have grown up with the idea that technology and software is expensive and scarce, while screenagers see technology everywhere, inexpensive and for anyone to use. An example was shared of an older employee who did a table in word instead of excel because the teamleader told him so. Younger people would question this and find an alternative solution. An important explanation that youth are embracing social media and collaboration technologies is deeper, however, it is the drive behind it. Social media fits with the way young people want to work collaboratively and fast. They want to seek knowledge and share within networks. They don't want to accept and work through the hierarchy but like to move fast through -constantly changing- networks.

An interesting discussion was also the observation that having youth around does not automatically lead to innovation within the organisation. It depends on the number of young people (1 trainee will not make a difference ) and the space the organisation provided to young people to influence the culture, the way of working. It is not clear that is going to be the case. Listened to junior in a hierarchical organization is not so natural because of the ideas and convictions about where knowledge is vested - in people with experience. This leads to the situation where you need experience in order to be heard and have influence in an organisation.

I certainly believe in the generational differences although I often encounter people who question it. I'm a living example of course, of the fact that the differences don't mean that older people are not clever using online technologies and are not in favour of online sharing.  However, I see the differences as well. I'm for instance much slower than the young. I'm at 4 hops with flappybird while my daughter is already at 150. I also recognize a number of beliefs like the importance of experience, and networking is not always my first nature. It was an evening with lots of insights and I will definitely try to work more consciously with different generations in some upcoming assignments.

More information about generational differences

Monday, March 24, 2014

The power of infographics for learning

I made my first infographic! It took my about 3 hours, including reading - and I'm very enthousiastic about the power of making an infographic for learning.

Knowledge sharing/ social learning within organization in the Netherlands

Let me first talk about the content and then explain how I did it. I was curious to see how organisations are using online social interactions, particularly for learning and collaborating within the organisation. I see a discrepancy between how people use social media at home and within the company. Here's the infographic (in Dutch) and it basically confirmed my gut feelings. 70% of people use social media in the Netherlands (source: CBS central bureau of statistics), almost regardless of educational levels. However, within organisations the marketing department is leading in innovating with social media. In 68% of the companies marketing is using social media. Only in 34% of the companies it is used for internal knowledge sharing. If organizations are investing in internal knowledge sharing tools, it is shocking to see that only 1 in 3 invests in community management and facilitation. It is as if social exchange should be spontaneous and would not need any attention. 36% of the organizations have nobody for community management and 24% rely on volunteers. This was quite a shock, but also not a shock because it actually confirms what I observe around me.


  • Het aantal bedrijven dat gebruik maakt van sociale media van het CBS komt dit rapport van het CBS, Sociale media en bedrijven, 2013
  • Interne sociale media in Nederland, de stand van zaken. Evolve, februari 2014

  • How I made the infographic

    I used piktochart to make the infographic and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. It had been on my wishlist for long to make an infographic but I have been postponing it for long. What I did is think of a topic of interest to me and write it down on paper (social learning/ internal knowledge sharing in organizations in the Netherlands). I then searched for reports using google and my bookmarks. I always bookmark figures with the keyword statistics, which was now very useful. I found two reports and decided that would be enough as a basis. I read the report and jotted down the interesting statistics (about 6-7 graphs). Then I started playing around with piktochart and chose a theme. The theme I chose had 3 subsections and that helped me to focus. I looked at my figures and chose the 3 most compelling ones telling a story. For me the story was that people use social media at home, few organizations invest in social media for internal knowledge sharing and if they do, they ignore the important role of community management. I also noticed that both reports had different figures but decided to rely on the central bureau of statistics more. Piktochart allows you to start with a theme and adapt it easily, for instance change the background colour. After finishing you can copy the html code to embed it and download the graph.

    Ideas to use infographics for learning in (online) courses and learning trajectories

    Why I learned a lot is because I had to read both reports and be selective in what figures to use and make a story out of it. Condensing the story and summarizing it made me memorize it and draw my firm conclusions. If you'd wake me up at night I could tell you the exact figures of investment in internal knowledge sharing :). Normally when I read blogs and papers online I have a hard time remembering what it was that I read exactly. So how to use infographics? (some ideas but please add your ideas in the comments!)

    • Divide participants in a learning course in small groups per topic and ask each group to develop an infographic and present it in a blog or meeting
    • You might ask participants for an infographic as assignment for their portfolio
    • You could also ask one group to come up with good literature and another group to make the infographic based upon the literature
    • Ask each participant to make an infographic on the same topic and compare within the group

    Want some more tips to make a high quality infographic? Have a look at the 18 infographic design tips

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Don't organise a workshop- go cycling...

    Last week I participated in a webinar by ASTD and got spontaneous feedback about Europeans. The webinar title was 'what makes multi-cultural training different?' and the topic was how to facilitate international groups online. One participant shared her observation that European 'are not used to 
    technologie'. If she spots Europeans in her classes all bells start ringing that they should give more support...  I recognize the difference as well. I see how most Americans and Canadians easily host a webinar or share all their life and stories online. In the Netherlands, I still see this happening only piecemeal.

      Amsterdam beweegtCreative Commons License FaceMePLS via Compfight

    It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine "if you don't know how to ride a bike it is always faster to walk" - Suppose as a trainer / consultant you are invited to help a team to improve time management. What do you do? You organize a workshop because you are so used to doing this (= walk). But you could do something different, for example by starting online, organize a game, or smart use of social media during the workshop to invite others (= cycle). Because you don't know how to ride the online bike as a trainer you are going to do so... Although you might if you don't live in Europe :).

    A good example from my own practice: I am asked to advise a team with teammembers partly based in Canada and partly in the Netherlands. The question was to organize an afternoon workshop in the Netherlands and then later the workshop could be replicated in Canada under the guidance of one of the participants here. After some period of thinking how I'd prefer to work, I decided that it was important to work with the whole team in order to make a joint learning process and to understand each other better. So I designed two weeks online with a videoconference session with the entire team of 3 hours at the end. I believe that many other consultants would have designed the afternoon workshop the client was asking for...  I am convinced this is a much better intervention, with more impact on the team and cooperation.

    I wrote earlier the five beliefs of the old trainer and the trainer of the 21st century. I have worked at least 8 years online now.. I guess you must have quite some experience (though not 8 years!) before you can really cycle as a trainer/advisor.

    Are you Dutch and would like to learn more? Join the LOSmakers (a Dutch group) on LinkedIn or participate in one of our activities organised by Ennuonline.

    Monday, March 03, 2014

    Solving collaboration issues with technology is a myth

    Yvonne van der PolThis interview is also posted on our Dutch blog Ennuonline. Yvonne van der Pol has her own company called Luz azul trainingen, advies & coaching and works within the domain of intercultural 'craftsmanship' (not sure how it translates in English but the Dutch term vakmanschap is wonderful). She did our learning trajectory on learning with new media Leren en veranderen met sociale media where she designed a blended trajectory about intercultural effectivity, in-company as well as a course for open inscription. The core of her work is to improve working relationships from people with different cultural backgrounds. We live in a ‘global village’ because of internet - every country is one click away. I interviewed her because I am interested in learning more about working interculturally online... which I do a lot by the way.

    Where is the source of your interest in intercultural 'craftsmanship'?
    I've studied Sociology of non-Western societies and worked in international cooperation for 10 years. When I was 18 years old I went to the United States, I experienced that you enter into a different culture and you have to adapt. On the surface there appear many similarities, but beneath the surface there are major differences. When I was in Costa Rica for research later, I encountered other intercultural challenges. For example, I gave a presentation which contained criticism.. The next day the director refused to greet me. That made me think about the importance of communication and intercultural skills. In another culture there are very different assumptions and methods to decipher and interpret the world.

    Is collaborating interculturally a skill which is more strongly developed because of all the developments triggered by internet (eg. large gaming communities)?
    Indeed, it seems that we now live in a global village, the Internet connects the entire planet. However, that is only on the surface. There is a difference between surface and deep culture (see Deep culture model of intercultural adjustment of Joseph Shaules). Regarding surface culture: we are indeed coming closer. An online gamer may experience for example an American or Chinese situation in the game. Young people experience more different things and different cultures than before. However, the deeper understanding and skills you develop to work interculturally are not developed. It is an illusion to think that with globalization, intercultural skills come naturally. I'd say on the contrary, sometimes prejudices only increase. At the same time it is true that the development of intercultural skills is increasingly important as more work is international, from horticulture to retail, from science to education everything is becoming more internationally oriented. The question is: "how are you going to understand each other better?" Take for instance the cooperation to build wikipedia. That communication is very multilingual - but native speakers have an advantage over non- native speakers.  Native speakers may sometimes empathize less with people who can not express themselves with nuances. Another example is: the open data movement. There is much to do about improving transparency and making data accessible. This conviction also stems from a cultural belief. If you are born in a country where you're not safe, there can be a lot of anxiety around online sharing of information and experiences. If you do not take this undercurrent in your approach to open data serious, then the project is perhaps less effective than hoped ... If you want to read more, go to Yvonne’s blog.

    Do you think new technologies make collaboration internationally easier or harder? Why? 
    The new technologies make communication easier and cheaper for sure, you can work with Skype, webinars, email, Yammer, and other tools. This makes collaboration internationally more practical than 20 years ago. But you have organize this collaboration specifically. It is a myth that technology will resolve collaboration across borders and across cultures. Technology can also obscure the difficulties: everyone continues to work from personal and cultural assumptions. Importantly, it is always about creating confidence to effectively work together. The new technology is fantastic but you have to learn to use it effectively to work together. That's the same as always: you have to stay alert to human interaction, pay attention to non-verbal communication in virtual teams. Is there no answer because the technology does not work or because someone is disengaged for other reasons? And then how do you solve this?

    Can we learn something from the field of intercultural effectivity for learning to work with new media? Is there a parallel between learning to work in a new culture and learning to work with new technology? 
    There are definitely parallels that can be drawn between the use of new media and moving into a new culture. In both cases you enter a new situation where you do not know the codes- how to behave. You crave for knowledge about how it works. Knowing yourself and how you react in situations like this is important – how open-minded, curious, flexible, persistent, tolerant are you? Schermafbeelding 2014-02-24 om 21.26.23

    I work with an online assessment tool, the Intercultural Readiness Check, which is based on three areas: Connect, Perform and Enjoy. In the intercultural competencies (see diagram) you can see the parallels with dealing with new media such as how to deal with uncertainty? Some people enjoy jumping into something new, others much less so. How do you connect with each other online, and how to effectively work together?  So you could easily say that Connect, Perform and Enjoy are true both for personal intercultural skills as for dealing with new media.

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

    Finding the 'elephant paths' of a community of practice

    I've been facilitating a community of practice about sustainable energy in the Netherlands over the past 3 months. I had a meeting with the convener of the community before we started. When we tried to 'design' for a community we stumbled upon a lot of questions like: who are we going to invite, what roles can we distinguish, should we use online media or not? It is not easy to make all these decisions upfront. We differed on who to invite: I wanted to invite a wider group of professionals and the convener wanted to start with an old working group. The convener wanted an advice from the group in 3 months and my worry was that it would not leave enough room to discuss their own practice questions. I worried a lot when we started and finally decided to give this a try and use the 3 months to see and observe the dynamics and what emerges.

    The community dynamics
    What happened during the 3 months was this:

    • A few people never showed up.
    • The convener got ill and hence could not participate in the meetings. Two other persons with a high stake in the topic took over.
    • A tied group formed of professionals who really connected based upon similar practice questions
    • One person realized after the second meeting that his work practice didn't fit it with the group and sent his colleague. 
    • The group was divided about the usefulness of exchanging online, so online was limited to email, but at some point one member took the initiative to create a LinkedIn group.
    • It was possible to balance individual interest with the request for advice. We made an inventory during the first meeting of practice issues and used online voting to set priorities. Hence we formed 3 groups based upon their major interest in a topic. I think it was actually appreciated that there was a question from a higher level for advice. This made it possible to merge individual learning with collective learning. 
    • 3 months was very short to come up with the advice but we were given the flexibility to take a little longer. 
    The elephant paths
    I already blogged before about the balance between design and emergence in communities. I didn't know the term elephant paths then, but I learned this term during a MOOC on change management organised by SIOO. Elephant paths are the shortcuts people take to safe time walking or cycling from A to B. Here's an interesting 14 minutes video in Dutch, showing that people are very persistent in following their own route. The 3 months has permitted me to see what the elephant paths are for the people in this community: for instance the key persons and core issues but also preferential ways to learn. 

    Design upfront versus self-organization
    I shifted a bit in my thinking about design of communities - I was always convinced that you should over-facilitate and allow for sufficient space for self organization. Now I believe that you can start with a clear design as long as you have eye for the 'elephant paths'.

    PS: just realized this is my 600th blogpost!