Does this look familiar to you? After hours of work you put into a text or a presentation you receive five words of feedback. In the numerous online courses I participated in, peer feedback was a central part of collaborative learning. I believe that the main ideas of peer feedback can be applied at work, too.
We all know that when time is short, it’s easy to send out a simple e-mail like the one above. But on the long run, both feedback giver and feedback taker benefit more from elaborated feedback. As someone giving feedback, you have to force yourself to read and understand the work you received. And as a feedback taker, everything is better than a simple „OK“. In peer-feedback processes in online courses there are sometimes very elaborated questions you have to answer and criteria you have to rate. Here are four simple but effective questions you could answer the next time somebody asks you for feedback:
Research-based and evidence-based have become the new HR buzzwords. They are everywhere. Practitioners start their presentations with a bunch of academic references and the audience becomes quite. Nobody will ever question the validity and applicability of a Schmidt & Hunter (1998) paper, right?
This has been my final assignment for the first course of my Master’s studies about digital literacy (Winter 2014). I was fascinated by the interconnection of (adult) education and getting a job, as well as the discussion about what it meant to be workplace literate. It was an ambitious assignment which I still find interesting to read, even though it is a bit too lengthy and not straight to the point. Enjoy!
The struggle for finding a superordinate definition of literacy can be retrieved regarding workplace literacy discussions (Mikulecky, 1988; Perin, 1997; Hull 2000; Belfiore, Defoe, Folinsbee, Hunter, and Jackson, 2004) and the influences of technology, being of interest for the workplace as a transforming key factor (Reinking, 1998). When literacy is seen as an age-independent continuum, distinguishing sharply between young and adult learners becomes hindering (UNESCO, 2009). In addition, the traditional dichotomy between literate-illiterate slows down the acknowledgement of lifelong learning (UNESCO, 2013). Rather, literacy is synonymous with “fundamental components of a complex set of foundational skills (or basic competencies), which require sustained learning and updating” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 17) to function as an empowering tool enriched by literate environments (UIL, 2010). The workplace connects various age groups with an enriched literate environment, where a social practice view of literacy is appropriate. When literacy is perceived as context-specific (UNESCO, 2005), a context definition backs the detection of skills and competencies for successful participation. Recruiting as a potential interface bridging literacy and context contributes by specifying required competencies to apply functional literacy in the work context. However, the expansion of literacy concepts complicates analysing it and distinguishing from “expressions such as knowledge, competence and learning” (Säljö, 2012, p. 6).
How we facilitated online collaboration in a multi-national team
In my central function I communicate with a team of roughly 20 people spread across different time zones. It has been a challenge ever since to get them all on the same page. This is what makes it work for us:
Den här texten var min sista inlämningsuppgift under kursen „Språk, rekrytering och mångfald“ på Stockholms universitet (och jag är väldigt stolt över att den blev intygat med A). Den analyserar och definierar språkkrav för en tjänst i min organisation och ska ge dig en idé hur man skulle kunna gå till väg med en sådan analys. Längs ner har jag nämnt mycket läsvärda resurser som har betydligt förändrat hur jag tänker kring språk inom rekrytering och arbetsliv. Hör gärna av dig om du vill veta mer eller har frågor, antingen direkt här på bloggen eller via „About me“ sidan.
Still today, I enroll for a lot of online and distance courses. But I have become better in deciding before enrolling if I have the resouces to complete the course. A great learning and I would say my individual completion rates have increased.
Review und Alternativen zum Iversity Kurs „Interaktive Lernmodule erstellen mit Captivate 9“
Nach langem Philosophieren über Lernen, Lernumgebungen im die dazugehörige technische Unterstützung im Unternehmensumfeld möchte ich endlich einmal selbst ausprobieren. Gedankenanstoß dazu war ein Online Kurs, den ich auf Iversity gefunden habe. „Interaktive Lernmodule erstellen mit Captivate 9“ heißt der und wird vom Medienzentrum der Universität Mainz im Selbstlernmodus angeboten. Für Captivate habe ich mich entschieden, weil die Wahl auf dieses Authoring Tool in meinem Unternehmen gefallen ist. Meine anschließende eigene Recherche (zum Beispiel hier) verstärkte meinen Beschluss zusätzlich.
Be it via Skype, Google Hangout or the like, video interviews are a great alternative for a first contact to interesting candidates. Compared to telephone interviews, video offers a more personal way to get to know each other. In addition, you don’t have to invite all candidates to personal interviews, which is more resources-efficient. But it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of applicants are still new to video interviews. Even though it’s a widely used tool for private conversations, job hunting via camera needs a different way of preparation.
Here are some ideas on how to support video interview preparation in the recruiting process.
The challenge of defining proper language requirements
To establish some kind of strategy around language skills in a corporation does not seem to come naturally. Whereas larger, multi-national corporations might discuss an English language strategy, it is the local language of smaller firms which often acts as knock-out criterion for competent job seekers. Funnily enough, this also depends on the position to be filled. Where programmers might get along without speaking the native language, HR employees see themselves in the opposite situation. When you receive enough applicants, language can be a convenient and easy-to-apply gate-keeper. But does this gate filter for competent employees?
New employees need to do both, perform on the job and socialize with their colleagues. If they lack knowledge of the local language, they will never be able to do both, won’t they? Digging deeper, the answer does not seem as straight forward anymore. Defining, assessing and nurturing (not yet existing) language skills can be key to attract and retain long-wanted competence. This post analysis four scenarios. All of them line out challenges which can occur when language requirements are everything but not thought through.
What is a good command of German? – It depends.
As with all competencies, language requirements read differently depending on the role and the context of the job and the company.
How would you interpret „very good command of German“ in a barista’s job description for a coffee-house franchise in Vienna compared to the same requirement for a corporate purchaser in a multi-national firm with their headquarter in Hamburg?
It all depends. The barista would need German to be able to read work and shift instructions and to communicate with (German-speaking) colleagues. For customers ordering in German, s/he needs to communicate with customers in a limited and repetative context. Customers order a drink (mostly some sort of coffee), maybe a snack, might have their particular special (soya-free, low-fat, etc.), pay in cash or with card, and then wait for their order to be served. Someone with basic German knowledge (or even without any) would be able to learn the phrases needed within some weeks – as soon as s/he is motivated enough. The corporate purchaser has to negotiate with external vendors, has to understand terms and conditions as well as legal contracts. The vocabulary and communication skills are more advanced, also taking into account that some statements might be legally binding. Most likely, someone without basic German knowledge would not be able to do the job right away. The interpretation of the description „very good command of German“ depends.
Everybody talks knowledge sharing in corporations. I never really understood what knowledge management (KM) departments were up to. So I decided to take a course in knowledge management to learn more from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. One result was the below assignment which I modified for this blog post. It summarises my thoughts about the tacit/explicit knowledge debate and about how technology can foster knowledge and information exchange in the workplace.
The main points
By arguing that tacit knowledge is hard to write down but most valuable, KM departments are keen to extract knowledge from individuals in an organization. To do this, a lot of tools, methods and standards force them to literally write down all they know. I argue, that this is not the best way to share knowledge. Technological support based on this tacit/explicit dichotomy does not make knowledge sharing more effective. It only reinforces the idea of writing down knowledge in a digital environment.
From my perspective, knowledge is socially-constructed. Rather than beeing either tacit or explicit, knowledge becomes information as soon as it is seperated from the original knowledge-holder and the context. While this definition holds true for others in the field, I believe that the implications for KM technology support are often overlooked.
IT support for knowledge exchange should focus on connecting knowledgable people, enrich information by context and offer various formats for sharing information. Concrete examples could be suggestions for colleagues who have worked on similar projects, case studies (instead of „lessons learned“) and a variety of formats such as video, blog posts or forums.
Tacit vs explicit knowledge?
The difficulty with the tacit vs explicit knowledge dichotomy is that it does not highlight the relevant aspects of knowledge which are crucial in an organizational context. According to this dichotomy, tacit knowledge is difficult to write down or extract. Yet, the crucial difference does not exist between tacit and explicit knowledge but rather between knowledge and information. Explicit knowledge becomes information, tacit knowledge becomes knowledge. Without comprehending the context in which knowledge has been generated in, a receiver of the information will not be able to enhance her knowledge. Instead of placing extensive efforts on how to extract every single bit and bite of knowledge, the tasks of technology in knowledge management (KM) should be to create social connections between people and build on existing sources of information in an organization to link knowledge supply and demand. This text outlines, how moving beyond tacit-explicit-knowledge can shape more precise requirements for IT tools in knowledge management.