My third week at #cl2025

The third week at #cl2025 started with our first session as a wol circle. Pretty cool experience.

I had put some thoughts over the week-end into the kinds of goals I could imagine pursuing. In the course of the circle discussion I realised that there was one goal that really was motivating me and at the same time was challenging enough that I needed a different approach to get it going : learning to draw…

And the “Continental” week gave me my first challenge: tagging. Harald Schirmer challenged us with elaborating on what tagging is and is not, what it should be and how to use it (www.colearn.de). I am a fan of tagging and thought I would pick up the challenge and get to the drawing board (or drawing app in this case!)

So in short, to generate tags you need a tag factory:


And to use tags you need to go and fish for them as your thinking develops and ideas unfold:


What do you think tagging can be otherwise used for? How do you use it? Do you create tags yourself?

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My second week at #cl2025

Well well well… week 2 started with a high point: our first #cl2025ch learning team call. Active, intensive, good conversations around our common challenges in learning. One topic got me thinking: what makes an organisation ready to move from the traditional “calling an expert when I have a question”, to “posting a question” or looking for an answer on the company social tech plattform?

And then in the last 5 minutes of our learning team call we covered “one more thing” (raincoat…old Peugeot…smile). We decided to turn ourselves into a Working out loud circle. Just like that. I am quite stunned by the speed at which we made that decision given the fact we had connected for the first time ever merely 60 min before. And I feel comfortable with our decision. Go figure…

And that was it really. Life took over, I saw the email notifications of the Merck blog posts pile up in my mailbox and did nothing about it… until yesterday. I read it all in one go, the posts, the comments, the summary tweet page (here) . I only consumed this week. I didn’t feel engaged enough to contribute. Cannot explain why. Mental note: reflect on this in the next few weeks as I engage in the learning journeys of Continental, Viessmann and the likes. 
Today I prepared week 3.  I watched the Continental video to get in the mood. I also watched John Stepper’s TedX talk and read the introductory documents to #wol circles. 

I am ready for what’s coming in week 3. Bring it on!!

My first week in #CL2025

In the first week of the MOOC Corporate Learning 2025 #cl2025 I was able to gather quite a few experiences. I have also read what many people have posted in the blogs, especially about the Infrastructure of this MOOC (or the lack of it, or its complexity, lack of efficiency…)

https://colearn.de/infrastruktur-fuer-den-corporate-learning-2025-moocathon-cl2025/

I have a different opinion than most of what I have read so far. The sprawl, the confusion, the diversity and multiplication of the data, streams and information are exactly what our era is about. For this reason, information literacy, cognitive load management skills or computational thinking are so important to us and to the upcoming generations to be successful in the new order of things.

Until now, the job of the L & D function was to bundle, structure and even simplify the existing information streams, and then pass them on to the learner as a “training / module /  case”.

Today, information flows so quickly and from so many different corners that it makes no sense to manage and structure them. They are already “out-of-date” before we are done designing and delivering. In order to develop the above-mentioned competencies, we should help people learn: 1) how to tap these streams exactly at the moment they need the input (eg follow a hashtag in Twitter, peak into the relevant company internal Yammer group), 2) how to extract something useful and learnable from this huge quantity of information.

And I was able to practice  exactly these 2 skills this week, in an intense and steep learning curve. I have made 5 registrations on 5 different sites, have downloaded too many apps and deleted them again, posted wrongly and then correctly on colearn.de, published a couple of successful tweets … all this in 3 days, with zero risk. Sounds like a practice lab …

My conclusion: I am very grateful for the fact that I was able to practice these skills on my own, without manual or structure. I collected valuable insights that I won’t forget any time soon.

I am glad I invested this time upfront and am ready to accelerate and deepen my learning in week 2 with Merck.

Corporate Learning community on Youtube: https://youtu.be/uHzHVxBFpxM

 

Overcoming learning challenges

This is a short essay I wrote as an assignment for the MOOC “Learning how to learn” on Coursera. (Edited for clarity outside of the course content).


I am in my early forties and have been learning my entire life. Typically I explore topics that interest me by googling them or reading big picture articles. Then I decide to dig in when the topic leaves me hungry for more. I have been fairly successful learning things I need and want for my job until now.

 
Having moved from the construction industry to the banking sector I want to gain a basic understanding of financial activities. I have been successful getting to grip with financing and credit so far. My next step is to focus on investment management.

 
I have tried three different ways of learning about investment management so far. Registering to a newsletter for people interested in managing their investment better: it is ok but doesn’t give the explanations I need. I have attended an internal investment class, it required some basic knowkedge I don’t have. I started a mooc on Coursera but dropped out in week two because I couldn’t follow anymore. 
All in all these 3 trials made me feel under pressure because I obviously miss some basics. I am frustrated because I don’t know where to start.

 
In the MOOC “Learning how to learn” I discovered methods that resonate with me. This in turn reminded me of other methods I have used successfully in the past. 

Diffuse mode: I can relate to this mode and could use it to sort out the big picture of what I want to learn. I think I imagined I could dig straight into focused mode not realising the topic of investment management was newer than it looked like.

Chunking: I haven’t quite understood how to apply it to my issue but I have this gut feeling that I should give it a try…

Grit, the power of passion and perseverance, A. Duckworth. This book is my inspiration to stick to it and give myself the time AND drive to learn anything I want.

Mindmaps: Reflecting on what works best for learning reminded me that I am very keen on visualising the connections between the chunks I am learning. So I will definitely have mindmaps in my learning mix. 
What’s next?

I have decided to use the diffuse mode while googling investment and related terms. I will visualise my big picture in a mind map and keep populating it until I find an area that triggers my curiosity more than the others. That sounds like a good strategy for my “investment management” learning challenge. 

How I will stick to it?

Well if learning and development (aka me) is going to sit at the business table, the last thing I want is not being able to distinguish important from bagatelle comments. So “serving my customers” by speaking their language is what motivates me and always will!

How do you tackle your learning challenges? Any tips you’d like to share with me?

Coach and Mentor

I have known the difference between coaching and mentoring for a while now. Or so I thought. To coach you ask questions, to mentor you give answers. Simple, isnt’t it? Well rather simplistic and quite mechanical. Completely off the point, actually. 

It is what your counterpart needs in that very moment, that makes them a coachee or mentee.
Now if you’ve had such conversations in the past you’ll rightly say “it’s all nice in theory but you can’t switch every 5 minutes between coaching and mentoring, you shouldn’t even switch in the first place. It is just nonsense!”. True to a certain extent, a conversation or relationship starts primarily in one or the other dimension. Still I am not a fan of shoulds and shouldn’ts. My take is rather: Be ready to switch if you feel this would be beneficial for your coachee/mentee. 

So what if your counterpart explicitely says they want mentoring: do you give it without questioning whether it is what they need? Or do you build in coaching pit-stop moments to verify who is actually in the lead? I often find that in primary mentoring relationships, coaching comes in handy when my counterpart is stuck in an unproductive behavioral pattern (e.g. Missing key messages, interpreting comments in a negative way) that prevents them from making progress on their business objectives. In these cases I don’t use coaching for the sake of it but rather for unlocking the situation. After a while we move back to mentoring and business talk.

Now I have also noticed that primary coaching relationships also need a bit of mentoring in the shape of open discussion or sparring on tangible factual business topics. Why is that? Coaching behaviors is quite a strenuous undertaking both for the coach and the coachee, it is serious business requiring a lot of self-awareness, open-mindedness, listening, accepting fall-backs and getting back on track. I view the open non-coaching discussions as breaks, where coach and coachee can connect on a different level. It is hardly mentoring either, yet it often starts with the coachee saying “since we’ve known each other for a while, I was wondering if I could pass by you a business issue I have right now, … , what would you do?”. As a coach it allows you to show a bit more of who you are as a human being (coaches, in the eyes of many people, seem to come from a different planet!). You can show that when you are non-judgemental as a coach, it doesn’t mean you are not able to have an opinion, it means that your coaching skills allow you to remain distanced enough to create space for the coachee to grow on their own. It increases the trust on both sides and allows coach and coachee to resume the coaching relationship with renewed energy.

How do you experience navigating coaching and mentoring? Do you mix and match or are you rather sticking to a primary type of conversation?

I’d love to hear what experiences you have made in this field…

Coaching is so rewarding

I just finished a coaching call. One hour of fun, challenge, listening, giving, asking, engaging, contemplating, receiving… I received so much energy I am now bubbly talking to anyone willing to listen. I think I am addicted to coaching. 

Focusing on someone else’s objective or issues for 30, 45, 60 min and fully dedicating my energy to creating a safe yet challenging listening zone is exhilarating. Seeing a coachee leverage this environment and take their reflection to the next level is incredibly satisfying. 

Having had a drastic reduction in the coaching hours I can give, I appreciate the few opportunities even more. I focus my energy and at the same time I am more aware of what is happening.

Less is more. Literally. 

How do you stay truly engaged in your coaching practice? How do you manage the routine risk? What other pitfalls have you identified?