Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

Introducing my kids to email

I am going to help my 11 year old daughter create her first email ID. I am looking for options available. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo are of course obvious choices, but is there an email service specifically for kids? My natural parental instinct worries me about my children getting on the Net unmonitored. At the same time I wonder given the muck they watch on TV and read in the newspapers, does it really matter that they are on the Net unmonitored? Yet to play safe, I am looking for kids email option without getting them on to the regular email services. Any suggestions?

Moving up the Web 2.0 Ladder

I am moving up the Web 2.0 ladder to actually posting videos on YouTube :-). I thought it would be hard and I would need to convert mpeg file to flv before uploading. However YouTube allowed me to upload mpeg file without any problem and converted it into YouTube playable version quite seamlessly.

Here are my two videos that I shot during my vacation. These were shot with a digital camera meant for stills and not a video camera, so the quality isn't the best video quality.

1. Beetle inside a flower


2. I am not sure if this is a humming bird.

Back from my Vacation



One week on "No Network" vacation has been great. I didn't miss the complete lack of connectivity until the last couple of days of my vacation. I took a trip to the hills, visiting Nainital, Binsar and Corbett, traveling by road.

Returned to 154 unread posts in my Google Reader. eCube Facebook group membership has grown to 89. The unofficial salary survey I started has 39 responses now. I discovered that someone had copied content from my blog and pasted on another site without acknowledging the source. I was flattered but not happy. So I added a Creative Commons button on my blog.

The My Flickr application on Facebook hung on me and I uploaded photo on Facebook AND Flickr individually. In the process I discovered that Flickr wants me to pay for membership for adding more than 3 photostreams while I can add as many albums on Facebook for free (though limited to 60 photos per album). Both probably give about the same user experience though I prefer Facebook's navigating through the photos in the album experience. However not everyone can view my photos on Facebook without being a member and a "friend". So I will try the Flickr application on Facebook again and maybe, just maybe, make my first payment for using an online service.

One Year of Blogging

I started blogging rather accidently, responding to a post on another blog. Sometime in June 2007, I wrote my post on my blog on Microsoft Live Spaces. I subsequently dumped that and started this blog on Blogspot. In Feb 2008, I also started eCube, a team blog. In one year, I am completing 50 posts on my personal blog (with this post), and another 19 posts on eCube team blog.

I started tracking stats late September 2007. An anonymous commenter on my blog introduced me to Feedburner in Jan 2008. So far, my blog has had more than 4,000 visits and 6,400 page views. About 40% of traffic comes from referring sites, 30% from search engines and 30% direct. The blog has about 65 RSS subscribers. eCube has had more than 2,700 visits with more than 5,100 views, and has about 35 RSS subscribers.

The top 5 most viewed posts on my blog have been:

  1. eLearning and Content Development Trends for 2008
  2. Unofficial salary survey for elearning/content development jobs
  3. iPhone – The Dumb Blonde of Phones?
  4. Death of the Instructional Designer
  5. Tare Zameen Par

My personal favourites over last one year:

  1. Two posts inspired by recent movies in India: Chakde India Coaching in Corporate India and Tare Zameen Par. I find it hard to choose between these.
  2. My post Why Workplace Learning Is Largely Learning 1.0 got the most comments. I summarized these in my subsequent post.
  3. I wrote Tips for Running a Team Blog as a guest post on Michele Martin’s The Bamboo Project.
  4. It was great fun hosting the second edition of the Working/Learning Blog Carnival – April 2008. This post had 15 gem posts from various bloggers.
  5. I did quite some research in writing CEO and Corporate Blogging. This post has links to many sites that you might find interesting.


Thank you for reading and contributing with your valuable comments.

Rapid Instructional Design with Thiagi

I came across this video of Thiagi speaking at UMBC Training Forum. This is a longish video, about an hour and 40 minutes, but thoroughly enjoyable. Thiagi is at is irreverent best as always. Definitely worth the time to go through the video fully.




Here’re some of the things he talks about in the video.

What is contextualized learning? Learning that takes place in the real world to achieve objectives with real world relevance. He gives the example of a course with a mid-term evaluation as a non-contextual learning example.

Content is irrelevant. People Google for content now and don’t go to training for content. Essential thing for Instructional Designers is to create ACTIVITIES and not content. An absolutely great example of leadership training. Must go through the video to enjoy the narration. Another great discussion on creating training on preventing sexual harassment courses in the later part of the video.

Consistency is bad. All adult learners have individual difference. So each learner has to be taught differently and to teach each learner consistently in the same manner is stupid. Each learner has to be taught differently. Trainers must be flexible (read inconsistent) while training.

Presentation skills are not the same as training skills. Presentation skills focus on the presenter. Focus should be on the audience.

Resistance is futile. What is “technology” (e.g. Second Life) to us is a way of life to the new generation. Participants today are free agent learners, they will learn on the job, on the go.

The whole baloney about need analysis and various other types of analysis in the ADDIE model is another dysfunctional area. By the time you finish analysis, content is obsolete.

Know your objective. Get your participants involved. Show respect towards your participants. Balance between content and audience.

Design training obsessively compulsively. Time to get ready for today’s session – my entire lifetime.

Tongue in cheek humour: Those who can, do it. Those who cannot, teach. Those who cannot even teach become instructional designers :-P

A four door model approach to elearning. Opening screen has four doors – Library, Playground, Café and Torture Chamber. Go through any door in any sequence and any number of times, except the Torture Chamber though which the learner can go through only twice. The Torture chamber has real life assignments, e.g. create a real proposal about a new client and get it evaluated by the sales manager. The Library is the content library that contains support articles, case studies, and job aids etc. for the course. Playground contains games that measure your mastery of technical terms and concepts learned in the Library. Cafe has open ended question, chat rooms, ask an expert, various other Web 2.0 tools to collaborate with others.

How does one do rapid elearning design for application training? Use inexpensive tools to take screen shots and add narration. Take a video of a SME coaching a learner on how to use the application. Final test is to ask the learners to use the application.

Most important leadership principle – people don’t what you ask you ask them to do, they do what you do!

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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.

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