If Your Life Is A Story, How Do You Make Sure It Has A Happy Ending?

If Your Life Is A Story, How Do You Make Sure It Has A Happy Ending?.

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If Your Life Is A Story, How Do You Make Sure It Has A Happy Ending?

We always need to remind ourselves that it’s our own script we write everyday!

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Ex Machina … Taking another look at Artificial Intelligence

ex machina graphicVirtual reality gets more intriguing by the minute! The most recent is the movie, Ex-Machina  in which scientist/entrepreneur Nathan develops Ava a female robot with more than just bare artificial intelligence. His creation is meant to prove that Ava is conscious; possesses self-awareness and is capable of loving another being! The story unfolds into an action thriller with an almost bizarre twist where robot Ava turns on her protagonist, abandons the ‘love’ she has built for Caleb in her quest to discover civilization and consequently find out more about herself!

Besides its dramatic ending, the movie certainly uncovers several issues: AI, ethics and human responsibility; the role of other emerging technologies like genetic engineering and agile robots; Is AI free to be used for experimentation by free-wheeling billionaire techies …what boundaries can we place to ensure that AI is used only in ways beneficial to humankind? …who will be provide the stewardship for keeping AI safe as the AI arms race heats up? …if ‘deep learning’, (another branch of AI coined by Google) continues to evolve can machine intelligence in fact threaten the very existence of humankind?

Two things I know for sure about this movie: 1) Ex Machina keeps you on the edge of your seat and 2) leaves many questions reeling around in your head. Besides those I mention above, I wonder whatever became of Ava, once she escaped from Nathan’s stranglehold and found herself in ‘civilisation’… and what about her ‘love interest’ Caleb, whom she brutally left behind at the mountain retreat?  Maybe Ex-Machina II will tell!

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Learning on the Go!

According to the statistics portal, Statista, there’ll be 2.13 billion social network users worldwide by 2016! The population will reach just over 7 billion (according to www.geoba.se/population/com) and there’ll be over 8 billion mobile devices by then!

These incredible statistics give a snapshot of the rate at which technology is advancing and changing the fabric of our lives. With such pervasive influence, it’s no surprise that we must also confront these technology realities in the workplace. Consider therefore, not being ready for the ‘new Net Gen worker’ who is digitally wired and web-entrenched… who wants collaborative environments and cloud-based programs …smart boards and blended learning… bite size information that’s interactive, engaging and on-time!

The face of the new worker is mobile, global and a finger touch away. Mobile Learning for HR Professionals will be my topic of choice at the HRMATT 10th Biennial conference on June 11 and 12, 2015 at The Trinidad Hilton, Trinidad and Tobago. (http://www.hrmatt2015conference.com/)

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Designing learning with users in mind

Ever been to a training where the facilitator is fixated on telling stories that he hopes connects to the training but it really doesn’t?
Too many times as trainers and facilitators, we forget who our real audience is – busy folks often with tightly packed schedules, who want learning moments that identify with their age group, culture, learning style and motivation (for being there)!
So it’s important for us to design training sessions with these things in mind. This applies especially when designing training-on-the-go i.e. mobile learning. So we may want to consider some of basics as training facilitators:
• Interesting, straight forward, bite-size nuggets for learners to recall or review quickly!
• Compressed images that don’t lose resolution (consider bandwidth on various devices)
• Videos no longer than 3 to 5 minutes
• Emphasis on a single task that reinforces a learning goal with simple and useful interactions.

We can also apply a lot of the same rules when next in front of a live audience by keeping the storyline, simple, direct and straight to the heart of learning moment!conf logo

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Coach first, teach later, pays in higher education

Just recently I picked up a copy of Thomas Crane’s Heart of Coaching, where he talks about 7 steps of transformational coaching and I couldn’t help but reflect on how these ideas can well serve those in higher learning. I got to thinking about what makes a great teacher. Most of the time it has less to do with subject material and more with approach, delivery and engagement facilitated by a skilful teacher-similar attributes that make a good coach. So it wouldn’t hurt to review some of these qualities:

  • Invest time to get to know people
  • Understand people’s roles, goals and challenges
  • Set clear expectations
  • Observe closely to have relevant feedback
  • Provide timely and candid feedback
  • Stimulate learning and growth by asking learning questions
  • Leave people feeling supported and empowered to contribute

As coaches and parents, we know that students of higher learning carry around a fair share of anxieties: worry over their grades, demanding schedules, rising college fees, impending exams and the list goes on. So having teachers who take time to know or even identify with some of these challenges is comforting for a start. As lecturer, one must set goals (expectations) for class deliverables so everyone can stay on board with curriculum mandates. We also know that a good facilitator will find ways to engage, empower and get and give feedback. This may call for one-on-one interactions to truly know your students and pick up group nuances that shape discussions and offer greater relevancy during a session.

Practising some of these powerful coaching strategies is one sure way that lecturers in higher learning may open the doorway for students to receive valuable information that contributes to a meaningful learning experience.  In other words, it pays to consider these coaching tips well before the lecture in physics or literature takes place!

The International Conference on Higher Education: http://www.actt.org.ttACTT_IntlConf2015_Speakers-flyer

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The Little Blue Engine …a case for Performance support

Watty Piper’s classic children’s story on The Little Blue Engine rings true in a number of ways for workplace performance. Let’s start with The Blue Engine’s first encounter with the stalled large train carrying toys and goodies to the village children.

The first reaction when asked whether it could assist was an almost spontaneous: “I think I can”. No buts and ifs, just the possibility in knowing that by supporting a friend through a predicament this would bring joy and excitement to a world of children on the other side of town! As small as it was, The Little Blue Engine saw the bigger picture!

Once the Little Blue Engine committed to helping, it got the support of all the other ‘players’ on the fallen train who with encouragement, motivation and a ‘tight fit’ powered on the little blue engine. With determination, they climbed the hill of possibility and made it to the village children. Positive energy was the fuel they used to reach their collective goal.

In the workplace, the first goal is transforming a mindset from ‘me’ to ‘we’ in order to build that intrinsic motivation needed to get engines rolling. Next comes the process of providing the necessary engine fuel, through support tools and resources to make the transition possible. Then, once having created a supportive environment, we can now turn the cry of the Little Blue Engine from “I think I can” to “Oh yes, I will”

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