Synchronous Learning

Webinar: Libraries as Learning Organizations
When: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm (EDT)
Co-sponsored by CLENERT and WebJunction
Registration Link:

What makes a library a learning organization? What does it take to build an organization-wide commitment to team and individual learning? Why make the effort, especially in these economic times?

Our panelists, representing libraries at different mileposts on the road to becoming learning organizations, are finding their own answers to these questions and will share challenges, strategies, and successes about the four Bs of the journey:

  • BENEFITS of a learning culture
  • BUILDING the environment
  • BEING a learning champion
  • BEYOND to sustainability.

Hear ways to use technology appropriately to enable faster, more personalized learning and to institutionalize knowledge sharing. Because most learning occurs on the job, at the point of need, you will discover ways to create a positive performance environment.

Even if your library is not yet moving in this direction, you will take away ideas that you can use immediately to implement learning solutions individually and organizationally.


  • Sandra Smith, Training and Development Manager, Denver Public Library
  • Michele Leininger, Information Experience Director,Pierce County Library
  • Elizabeth Iaukea, Learning Manager, Pierce County Library
  • Julia Lanham, Human Resources, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Registration Link:


(Here I go again—blogging about another WebJunction event. Can I help it if there’s some cool stuff shakin’ at WJ?)

If you’ve presented, facilitated, or produced a live, online training session or webinar, you have a sense of how many variables are involved. It’s a juggling act with virtual balls. The really successful trainers make it look easy and seamless.

WebJunction has partnered with InSync Training to offer the Synchronous Learning Expert certificate series to help you master seamless and smooth online facilitation, as well as design of online training and the opportunity to create your own capstone e-design project. The great advantage of taking this course through WebJunction is being in a cohort with other library staff with similar interests AND having the new WJ collaborative learning space to maximize your online learning experience.

As a prerequisite to the SLE courses, WJ is offering a FREE one hour introductory course, Learn How to Learn Online. There are two offerings of this course currently scheduled:

  • Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 10:00 AM Pacific/1:00 PM Eastern
  • Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 2:00 PM Pacific/5:00 PM Eastern

To enroll in either offering, visit

Questions? Email

Thought I would point this out – received it today via a WebJunction Newsletter:

In this month’s Learning Webinar, Stephanie Gerding, author of The Accidental Technology Trainer: A Guide for Libraries, will address common concerns, recommend tools and techniques, and share helpful advice from her many years coordinating and providing training for libraries of all types around the country. Register for this webinar through the WebJunction Calendar and be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy of Stephanie’s book!

I used to work with Stephanie, so I know that SHE knows her stuff! :-)

I spent all of yesterday on the “aorta” level of the Seattle Public Library, those crimson hallways being the site of our local ASTD chapter’s Future of Training event. It was a fun and lively exchange of knowledge and experience with a cohort of mostly corporate trainers. The format followed the organic barcamp model, with sessions suggested and posted (somewhat) on the fly and locations shifting according to the level of interest expressed.

As a frequent online presenter and facilitator, I was interested in a session on Web conferencing with live video. I have imagined that seeing the instructor’s expressions and gestures would fill in the missing link that keeps online training from being the full equivalent of in-person training. The live motion would counterbalance the static nature of the information on the slides. Now I know it’s not that easy or automatic.

The presenter showed us a recording of bad video—what not to do—before showing us the “good” video. I was hard-pressed to tell the difference. This is what I saw:

  • the lighting was terrible, casting deep shadows on the speaker’s face
  • the camera angle was singular, static, and poorly chosen
  • the speaker was not animated and not engaged with the camera (aka the audience)
  • the colors of clothing and background were drab

With all this visual turnoff, you’d think I’d be looking at the slide content instead. But no—I couldn’t take my eyes off the speaker’s face, unless she swiveled her chair or crossed her legs, which drew my eyes there. Motion in an otherwise inert environment is totally seductive, even if it is deadly dull motion.

I realized that, in order to add video effectively, you have to acquire the skills of a TV producer. Set up professional lighting and manipulate multiple cameras with pre-programmed zooms (an approach pioneered by Desi Arnaz for early television). Stage the background and the apparel (and makeup?) and find a SME who’s also trained to work in front of the camera. Then you might have something worthy of taxing the bandwidth of your audience.

I have enough challenges working in the present Web conference setting that I think I’ll wait for this piece of the future of training to evolve a bit more. But hey, feel free to disagree with me! I just stumbled on Oovoo, which makes me think that maybe video communication does have a future. Anybody oovooing?

Connective Knowledge tag cloud from ManyEyes

I finally read David Wienberger’s latest book, Everything Is Miscellaneous –the one everyone was buzzing about awhile back. While I admit to a catalogically geeky fascination with the evolution of knowledge organization, the aha! that I took away from the book relates to how we learn, how we ingest real meaning from bits of knowledge, and how randomness feeds that meaning. The key to learning is connectivity.

Our society’s traditional notion of knowledge acquisition is that it’s a solo affair, as Weinberger posits in the chapter on Social Knowing. Most of our educational system is built on that assumption—just consider the weighty standardized tests imposed on high schoolers, where each student sits in a cone of mental isolation and searches for the relevant bits of information swimming around in her solitary brain. One of the great challenges of online learning is how to socialize self-paced learning, which by nature fits with the solitary model.

Steven Downes’s essay on E-Learning 2.0 (Oct 2005) suggests the potential for online learning to break out of the isolation ward and into the rich sphere of socially networked learning.

“What happens when online learning software ceases to be a type of content-consumption tool, where learning is ‘delivered,’ and becomes more like a content-authoring tool, where learning is created? The model of e-learning as being a type of content, produced by publishers, organized and structured into courses, and consumed by students, is turned on its head. Insofar as there is content, it is used rather than read … And insofar as there is structure, it is more likely to resemble a language or a conversation rather than a book or a manual.”

The success of Learning 2.0 had as much to do with the social interaction among the participants as it did with the exploration of the cool tools. As we design instruction for staff development, let’s focus on the connectivity between people, whether electronic or f2f.

btw, if you don’t have time to read Weinberger’s book, you can spend 57 minutes watching the video –the YouTube generation’s version of Cliff Notes.