Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

Using LinkedIn - Company Profiles

There is enough written about using LinkedIn. However I recently discovered an interesting feature on LinkedIn from a company’s point of view. Since the official LinkedIn blog introduces this feature on Aug 18, I am guessing it is a new addition to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn now has hundreds of Company Profiles. Select Companies link on the top links bar. You can view companies by location, industry, name, and companies in your network.

(this grab from LinkedIn blog)

On the company profile there are some interesting pieces of information. It shows career paths of employees before and after their employment with the company. It also shows employees most connected to which other companies. Aha, that’s where most of our employees are headed...

The company profile shows new hires, and recent promotions and changes of employees. More interestingly, under Key Statistics section it shows common job titles. These are job titles of employees in the company who have registered with LinkedIn. So in my company Software Engineers, followed by Project Managers and Consultants are the most common job titles on LinkedIn. Hope this provides some useful information to HR.

The Key Statistics section also shows that of all the people from my company on LinkedIn, 77% are males. I know for sure that the gender ratio is pretty much even in our company. So does this mean that males from my company are more likely to be using LinkedIn than females?

Finally it shows popular profiles from the company. Does it help if my profile shows up as the second most popular profile after the CEO of the company? :-)

Related links:

Are we ready for the Future?

The second post on Mark Oehlert’s blog that caught my eye today was this TED video of Kevin Kelly predicting the next 5000 days. This is a great video to watch. Kevin talks about the last 5000 days and how the next 5000 days will be the Internet of Things and “The One” machine. You must watch this video fully.

It made me think though. I see vast differences in the way the Web is used by different people. The variances are way too high to be comfortable. I could be talking to someone who lives Web and yet I come across people who don’t really use the Web other than to check their email. In this diverse experiences and ways to use the Web, it is easy to disbelieve Kevin about the next 5000 days that he talks about. However there is no denying the past 5000 days.

The question is, are we all really ready for the Future? And will the ones who aren’t really lose out on anything? Does it really matter that I am not on the Web talking about all the Web 2.0 mumbo-jumbo? Does it matter that mail is still the killer web application, and perhaps followed by search (Google!)? Even in the Internet of Things, how will my day to day life really be affected? The digital divide will continue and both sides will turn up their snooty noses at others, living happily and satisfied on their sides :-).

A Question of Browsers and Organization Productivity

Two posts on Mark Oehlert’s blog caught my eye today. In his post about Ubiquity user-generated mashups plugin for Firefox browser, Mark wonders why organizations standardize on IE when a much better product is available at the same cost (free). I responded on his blog and realized this could be a post of its own.

As I wrote in my post on why workplace learning is largely 1.0, here are some of the reasons for organizations standardizing on IE:

  1. I guess the fact that the OS comes preloaded with a browser might have something to do with this.
  2. We are lazy and don't really want to take the pain of installing a new browser, especially when we don't know the advantages.
  3. We are too lazy to learn new tools. After all just installing Firefox is not enough. Vanilla Firefox will not provide the advantages that it does with plugins added.
  4. We don't pay attention to teaching using tools like a 'browser'. Have you ever seen training on browser on any corporate productivity improvement training? Good case for 'Work Literacy' like initiatives!!!
  5. The new plugins (like the Ubiquity) don't come with "business" or "corporate" examples in their videos. Heck I won't be able to make a good business case with the above video of showing that Firefox will improve productivity when the video talks about using mash ups to identify restaurants near you.
  6. Applications run only on IE. Many (I am guessing all though I haven't tested all) internal application in our organization don't run very well on Firefox. So I need to have both browsers even though I use Firefox as my main browser of use.
  7. In any case we don’t want employees to fritter away their time browsing. After all they should be doing something productive like work rather than browsing.

Wearing a corporate hat, having Firefox instead of IE has no advantage unless I integrate my training, applications and way of working to take advantage of the new tool. And, again wearing a corporate hat, perhaps the advantage is not worth the effort, or we don’t know about it.

Personally I started using Firefox primarily because IE 7 was hanging on me more often than I liked, and haven’t looked back since (except when I need to use internal applications). However I have seen a sum total of only one other person in our organization using Firefox.

Results of Unofficial Salary Survey of eLearning/Content Development Jobs - 2008

Update: See 2009 elearning and content development salary data here.

Announcing the analysis of the Unofficial Salary Survey of elearning and content development jobs in India. This was a direct survey of individual respondents. No company response was sought. I used viral marketing to promote survey. This included an initial direct mailer and then posting on eCube Facebook and various Orkut groups. Orkut seems to have a larger Indian audience.

The survey received total 62 responses, including 8 incomplete responses. Most responses were from the NCR region, followed by Mumbai. Pune, Bangalore and Chennai had more than 4 responses, while Hyderabad, Kolkata, Coimbatore, and Cochin had 3 or less responses.

Instructional Design/Content Development had 24 responses and Project Management had 16 responses. The rest of the functions had less than 4 responses. I provide analysis of only ID and PM functions.

Unofficial Salary Survey
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: salary survey)

In case you are interested in the PPT or raw data to draw your own conclusions (the survey was anonymous), please contact me on email at manishmo2007[at]gmail[dot]com.

Can eLearning Help Change Behaviour?

As part of judging entries for the Brandon Hall Awards this year, I encountered an elearning module that attempted to teach the company’s sales people its new service orientation and its service oriented products. The elearning module was very well made, full of videos (actually it was practically a ‘video-based-training’ disguised as elearning) with very well written script and extremely professional production quality. The script and production quality was so good that I would have been proud of the product if it had been made by my team.

I went through the modules as a learner, something I hadn’t done in a while. I was probably the right audience, not in terms of being part of that company, but perhaps with about the same experience as the intended audience. So after being impressed with the first few video clippings I got down to actually attempting learning from it. And man was I unhappy going through the training. The training included lots of case studies and ‘role plays’ (the wrong and right way to sell videos). As an intended audience, I felt bad and felt the training was demeaning my intelligence and showed what I might be doing right now (remember I was trying to be in the actual learner’s shoes) in very bad light. Something like this might work in a controlled classroom environment where a trained instructor would be able to provoke me and respond to my reactions to the content being taught, and I might also have a healthy debate with others in the class. However using the elearning module, I felt the module was preaching to the choir and insulting the learner’s intelligence. Since it had no facilitation of a trainer and there were no other peers to learn from or debate with, I felt very bad about the content.

Which makes me wonder – can self-paced asynchronous elearning be a good tool for attempting to change behaviour? Is elearning better suited for certain types of audiences when attempting to do this? Are there some content areas that should just be dealt with in a classroom? Or perhaps is there a better way to teach behaviour change using elearning?

It is the Content, Stupid!

It must be the technology bug in me or just the man in me wanting to play with new toys. In my quest to explore different blogging platforms, I have tried my hand at Blogger, Wordpress.com and self hosted Wordpress. Typepad required me to provide credit card information to sign-up and other platforms just didn’t seem popular enough. I searched and researched the comparisons between Blogger and Wordpress. Most comparison posts compare Blogger and self hosted Wordpress. However I found this really useful post that compares Blogger and Wordpress.com, which in my mind is the true comparison.

My personal preference is now with Blogger as compared to Wordpres.com, if you want to get started quickly and without any expense. In addition to the comparison in the link above, some additional comparisons are:
  • Blogger allows Javascript code in widgets. This allows you to add more variety of widgets on your blog. Wordpress.com doesn’t allow Javascript widgets.
  • Blogger is Adsense ready (read 'it allows Javascript code'). Wordpress.com doesn’t allow advertising. Now rest assured, getting your first $100 from Google is going to take you a few years, but still no harm is trying. You need to earn minimum $100 before you get any cash from Google.
  • Blogger allows you to add new templates which Wordpress.com doesn’t allow. You are limited to the themes provided by Wordpress.com.
  • Blogger provides email alerts for comments (and posts too). Wordpress.com (and self hosted Wordpress too actually) doesn’t provide any email alerts for new comments.
  • Blogger has an in-built poll widget. Wordpress.com doesn't have a poll widget.

So there you are. In my view, get started with Blogger. The other criteria for choosing between the two could also be the availability of the blog name. You might need a blog name that may be available on a platform not of your choice.

However, notwithstanding the technology debate about the blogging platform, I finally figured that it is the CONTENT that matters most. Do I have the content on my blog that will pull readers or which is personally satisfying to me? That is far more important than the blogging platform!!!

My Top 10 Learning Tools and Techniques

It’s been more than 6 months since I last posted my top 10 tools for learning. I thank Jane Hart for making me think to update the list for Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ compilation of top 10 tools for learning of as many as 184 learning professionals. There are some changes since I last wrote, though many of the tools and techniques still remain in my top 10 list.

Here are my top 10 tools for learning in Aug 2008.

  1. Search engines – though Google is still my most used generic search engine, I have discovered and used few other more specific search engines. I frequently use Flickr and LinkedIn search add ons installed on my Firefox. I also use Summize (which has since been acquired by Twitter) to search Twitter tweets.
  2. Blogging – blogging continues to help me reflect on my thoughts and crystallize my learning. I still use Blogger for my personal blog and have moved to hosted Wordpress for my team blog.
  3. Blog Feeds – I read blogs via RSS feeds. Have been on Google Reader so far and recently discovered Feedly. Feedly integrates very well with Google Reader and presents a very nice magazine-like interface. I just love reading my RSS feeds on Feedly now.
  4. Social Networks – I use Facebook as my main social networking environment and it’s been great. It has been a great source for getting help from my social network. I am also beginning to utilize LinkedIn Answer, though the usage is still low.
  5. Social Bookmarking – I had del.icio.us on my list the last time, however I hardly use visit it to view other people’s bookmarks. What have really helped is the bookmarks I receive in various feeds (RSS or Facebook feeds) of my network. So social bookmarking is still on my list but the usage is different now.
  6. Right click-Open in New Window/Tab – Still on my list. So you may argue this is not exactly a learning tool. But I find hyperlinks very distracting and if I click on a hyperlink I lose the flow of what I am reading. So I always right click and open the hyperlink in a new tab or window. This enables me to continue reading and if I do view a hyperlink, this allows me to return to my original document easily.
  7. Web-enabled mobile phone (iPhone) – Continues to be on my list.
  8. In-sighting and de-layering – A technique I learned in one of the leadership workshops. Now in every interaction I listen more carefully and ask more questions, with an attempt to get an insight into the subject of our discussion.
  9. Online conferencing – continues to be on my list. We now use Office Communication Server (OCS) at work and that is used a lot more frequently now than other paid services.
  10. Wikipedia – Continues on my list. Great place to find almost anything here.



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.