Friday, August 20

World Class Learning is for Nothing and Inspiring Feedback for Free!

Welcome to ZaidLearn's Learning World! What?

Don't we all hate to hear the overused 'World Class' becoming statement, which probably is an ambition of too many Universities and Colleges to mention here. The truth be told, if there is no real criteria set, or any benchmark standard reference point(s), then anyone can be 'World Class'. I am World Class! No big deal!

Having said that, if we want to access 'World Class' (Oops, did it again!) learning resources, no need to join an University for that (if that is all you are getting!). Here is a good (overwhelming) starting point to access awesome learning resources to graduate as a 'World Class' (Last time!) self-learner.


And while you are at it, please join the Free Learning movement (and get your Free Learning badge):

I support free learning

WOW! If that was overwhelming, here are a few ZaidLearn resources I would recommend to explore first:

Now, the learning resource overload is hopefully not too much. However, if learning was only a CONTENT-CENTRIC DIGESTION process (anyone feeling guilty, please reflect and change now!), then we might as well close down all Universities tomorrow. Today, anyone can with a decent Internet access experience amazing lectures and learning resources from many of the top Universities around the world. Please explore the links shared above (if not already), because then you will really understand what I mean.

However, consuming and digesting learning resources is only one important part of the learning cycle. In the 21st century we are expected to do much more than just 'KNOWING'. As I have discussed this before, I am not going to dwell too much more about that here.

However, I am going to unscientifically state that the FEEDBACK component of the learning process cycle is probably the most critical aspect for any learner to reach their true potential. Luckily, we all have a lifelong internal feedback system telling us this and that, but sadly not always 100% reliable (although, we might think so!). But if we continuously practice deep (or shallow) reflection on our learning and actions it should speed up the process for us to become more self-aware, knowledgeable and innovative. But that alone even with access to amazing learning resources, is probably not sufficient to maximize our true potential. In short, we also need learning networks (George Siemens are you reading!), and constructive and inspiring feedback to truly reach our potential in the 21st century.

Just remember that constructive feedback should be PRECISE, meaning:

P — Positive and practical
R – Relevant
E — Evidence-based
C — Constructive
I — Immediate/informal
S — Specific
E — Encouraging

Click Here to explore the details for each component, if that is unclear. If you are an educator/lecturer/trainer/teacher/etc., and you only give your students grades consisting of numbers or letters (e.g. 50% or B+) without much constructive feedback...Well, if that is the case, you can be automated now or very soon. If you are a real expert you will survive, but if you are not, then who really needs you?

Using RSS Readers, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Wikis, YouTube, Foursquare, search... Learning Tools we can practically connect with any person or community around the world without too much effort. And if we are really brave, we can ask them questions and even challenge their views and eventually join the global learning stream.

'Knowledge is Power' was great for the 20th century, but in the 21st century 'Sharing (Juicy) Knowledge is Power'. The more juice you share, the more powerful you become in the learning network. I just need to mention Stephen Downes, George Siemens and Jane Hart to justify that statement (Not justified, but a strong point).

But more importantly, when you share, explore or discuss your learning with people out there, you are actually amplifying your learning curve. First, the act of sharing (except for 100% replication) requires you to reflect on what you have learned, and then you need synthesize those things that was meaningful to you, and explore how to do that in a simplified way (using Learning Tools), so that others can grasp what you are trying to say. Then, hopefully you get feedback on your reflections, and it evolves into a learning conversation. You and all those involved in the learning conversation (passive or active) benefits and goes beyond (or behind) the initial exploration.

If you are looking for interesting learning networks out there to explore, here are 20 Social Networks for Lifelong Learners.

I always joke that some academics like to complexify things that are often inherently simple (if we think about it). Anyway, how are you going to get a PhD without complexifying your thesis? I need to get back to this question in 2012.

Although, I am intrinsically motivated to learn (a habit already), I have to admit that inspiring feedback does amplify my mission to learn and share. And in general learned from experience and observation, many of us do a terrible job in providing positive and inspirational feedback to our students. Those little sparks of inspirational feedback (that are reasonably PRECISE) can sometimes inspire students to really reach their potential, or get those AHA-moments that lead them to meaningful changes in the way they think and act.

However, sometimes giving negative feedback can spark the total opposite in a student...

And when you are slammed online it can even hurt more. Here are a few personal examples, I actually really enjoyed (although painful initially) and learned a whole lot from (But I am probably not that normal!):
  • "WOW……….what a pompous comment to make and though I wish to give you the benefit of the doubt — WOW, you really put that in print?? Honestly, I am speechless and that does not happen often...." - JenW

    She was right, and I have learned since then... I think!

  • "...if this blog is what passes for education science, then education science is the study of making Powerpoint presentations. Throw in a few weeks time with STATA and a year long study of some highly obscure, sparse clusters and you can call yourself an econometrician. Draw a completely insane conclusion from the final graphs, and you're a full fledged economist!..." - revprez

    To conclude this after visiting my blog and writing your (132 words) comment within a span of 17 minutes (refer to the discussion time) is that education science? I arrest my case! But, I agree that I am not into too much education science. Let's face it, inspiring learning and teaching is a fusion of art and science.

  • "You are likely a warm and sincere human being but having one’s heart in the proverbial right place is of little value if one’s head is not on straight (no matter how popular). Your presentation didn’t inform me how to inspire (so, it was unoriginal), it didn’t tell me where to explore (so, it was misguided), it gave no examples of emotionally relevancy (so, my logical ’New Brain,’ as per by Renvoise and Morin, was ignored), it failed to compare positive vs. negative challenges and criticism (so, it was just abusive), it didn’t tell me what to do when I failed (so, it left me simply continuing to fail, but somehow perversely proud of my failures), and it gave me a slew of quotes either incorrect or taken out of context (so, making it clear you don’t believe facts should ever interfere with one’s fun), it’s motivation seemed like but wishful thinking (so, I tried wishing it away, but it instead became a perfect symbol for today’s failing educational system, all fluff with no meat), and it gave no brainstorming tips to help innovate (so, it ended up being popular just for its ’truthiness’). A far better ten ’secrets’ would have been System Theory, skills (and more skills), extrospection, strategic planning, leadership, organizational memory, student learning contract, cultural literacy, No Child Left Behind, as well as effective hero, scientist, and change agent building. This presentation and its popularity (just like your loved movie, The Secret) may be why Marva Collins (described in The Marva Collins Story movie) said, ’People still believe in the tradition of dedicated, self-sacrificing school teachers. They don’t know how the profession has changed... what was once the poor man’s burden had become everyone’s.’ No real secret there, huh? ...Bla, bla, bla (809 words)" - Jim Maginnis

    Simply great feedback for learning. I am really honored that someone of Jim Maginnis stature would actually get emotionally frustrated and spend so much time on giving me all this constructive feedback, which I am truly grateful for. And I do agree that this "10 Secrets to Great Teaching" slidecast is certainly no master piece. Actually, I developed it within 2 working days (including the slides) as I was exploring Adobe presenter, and then I made it available via SlideShare. So, I accept and agree 98.5 % of what he said. Finally, Jim Maginnis if you want your ideas and slides to be appreciated and viewed by more, remember the golden rule: 'Less is often More'. I admire your work, but it is 'information overload' on rocks, and too scientific to be inspired. No hard feelings, just being honest.

I have gotten a few more interesting slams, but mostly I have experienced a lot of inspiring feedback and comments from some of the most interesting people in my learning world, and let's brag some of them here:

    "One of the things that really delights me in this field is seeing people who have taken to these new technologies and new approaches achieving genuine success. I've seen it a number of times with colleagues I almost envy, so widespread is their impact and their reach (every time I feel a twang of competitiveness, I remind myself that I already have a great career, I don't need another, so I can celebrate someone else finding success in the marketplace). Anyhow, now I am seeing it again as Zaid Ali Alsagoff gives his first (no doubt of many) keynotes. Zaid joined me for my two-day session in Malaysia earlier this year and was a huge asset as we led a group of educators though numerous web 2.0 technologies. His slide shows and resource lists have been receiving acclaim, and that's what his talk is based on." - Stephen Downes

    WOW! Thanks, but I still only have one Keynote under my belt... (Need help here)! Inspiringly, I have actually appeared on OLDaily more than 20 times, and that is something I am honored and humbled by. From a learning point-of-view, means that I have gotten 20+ inspiring (positive and negative) feedback nuggets from him, which I have reflected and learned from. In addition, I assisted him during his e-Learning 2.0 workshop in Malaysia, and that was truly an amazing learning adventure. In short, he has provided me more valuable and inspiring feedback than any other lecturer I had during my University and College days. Cost? A BIG Juicy ZERO (except for time)!

    "ZaidLearn has been an active blogger, focusing on open learning and open tools. Great to see he is giving (has given) his first keynote address to a Malaysian conference. As Stephen Downes states, it’s great to see people achieving genuine success in the pursuit of new tools/approaches in education.
    Congrats Zaid!" - George Siemens

    "Last month, Zaid compiled a list of
    top 25 edubloggers. The weighting was male-centric (22-3). He has now corrected the omission with a new list of top 27 female bloggers. Nicely done." - George Siemens


    "...Zaid does some amazing work on this blog, especially in terms of visuals..." - Karl Kapp

    "...He has the uncanny ability to find useful tools, services, etc. that are mostly free and readily available on the web...." - Bryan Chapman

    "...Thanks to Zaid's willingness to create his list of 27 Women Edubloggers, we also had an opportunity to find new people to add to our own feed readers. This learning loop wouldn't have occurred, though, if Zaid had not been open to the learning process. He could have chosen to see the discussion as an attack and then become defensive and closed to alternative options. Instead, he showed the courage of the true learner and used our observations as a springboard to expanding his own thinking--and ours as well..." - Michele Martin

    "...He showcases a video to illustrate the issue at hand, which I believe does a great job, not to show that one is better than the other, but rather to show that there may be easier ways to achieve the same end result..." - Joseph Thibault

Read All About It!

'Facebook Vs Moodle - Sharing Links'
Screencast Featured on Screenr Homepage (from 13th to 27th May, 2010)

    "This promising new weblog by Zaid Ali Alsagoff is devoted to open learning resources around the world; Zaid is located in Malaysia. His blog is especially valuable for its extensive listing of links to bloggers who write about eLearning and its multiple links to Learning Tools, eLearning sites, OpenCourseWare sites, University Podcasts, and Learning Repositories..." - Joseph Hart

    "One of my must-read blogs on technology and education, ZaidLearn has been rating various learning tools since July of last year..." - Jane Park

    "Either way, I highly recommend joining Zaid on his intergalactic learning adventure!" -
    Jeff Cobb
    "...Zaid's blog caught our attention for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Zaid uses a measuring stick called learning juice to categorize materials that serve to inspire readers of specific materials. Second Zaid consistently searches the net for interesting web sites related to technology and learning so his blog features a number of compilation posts listing the latest sites worth visiting.At the same time, what has always been critical for this writer is the amount of reflection Zaid puts into the role of teacher. He constantly reviews his own practices to determine the impact he is having on his students making him an outstanding role model for those aspiring to the profession... (A long review)..." - Tom Hanson

    "Sounds like a bit of a gimmick title right? Well, it’s not. It’s a free eBook by Zaid Ali Alsagoff... He’s assembled a very easily readable eBook that covers six major topics (aka Galaxies!): Learning, Teaching, Stories, Free e-Learning Tools, Free Learning Content and Free EduGames. In conjunction with his blog called Zaidlearn, it provides a nice set of resources for the practitioner who is in "knowledge seeker" mode." - Eric A. Tremblay

    "Zaid Ali Alsagoff, who has an intriguing Norwegian connection, has carved out a neat niche in the edublogger community, providing colorful and interesting slideshows on different topics, whether it be Web 2.0 educational tools, lists of edubloggers, or other resource collections. He has even published a book, called 69 learning adventures in 6 galaxies, available for free online..." - Stian Håklev

    "...I particularly appreciate his belief that sites like ours are the beginning of a new era in education, where free learning systems, open resources and community involvement will change the way we teach and learn." - Graham Glass

    "....If you have your own blog, do like Zaid did. He linked to this series and showed some before and after images. It’s also a great way to share your own tips and tricks...” - Tom Kuhlmann

    "...Two other excellent, regularly updated and substantive educational blogs are Oculture and Zaid Learn." - Wynn Williamson

    "...First came across this site thanks to a reference on Zaid’s blog, which has lots of other interesting posts regarding free resources." - Patricia Donaghy

    "ZaidLearn: Animacja w PowerPointcie... sami zobaczcie | PowerPoint Animation! Take a look..." - Bartosz Sokolinski

    "...This is perhaps one of the best blogs that provide reviews and tips on e-learning tools..." - Kee Man

    ZaidLearn is included in The Ultimate Self-Education Reading List... (Awesomely cool!) - Jamie Littlefield

    " a well-balanced presentation edu-pioneer Zaid Alsagoff weighs up the pros and cons of using Facebook for social learning and concludes it certainly CAN be used..." - Gordon Lockhart

    "...Zaid Ali Alsagoff, avendo recentemente seguito un seminario sull’argomento, ha realizzato uno dei suoi documentatissimi post, nel quale ha incluso un confronto con un altro big dell’educazione mondiale (Singapore) e soprattutto ha cercato di sintetizzare i motivi del successo scolastico del paese nordico..." - Antonio Fini

    "...With the new Facebook features that allows for groups and fan pages (cutting out the necessity of being forced to befriend weirdoes), I am ready to wander back and give it another go using this little PowerPoint as inspiration..." - Maggie Verster

    "Ein sehr persönlicher, aber gelungener (und unterhaltsamer!) Versuch, den Erfolg des finnischen Bildungssystems zu beschreiben. Zaid Ali Alsagoff hat einen Seminarbesuch zum Anlass genommen, über Finnland, Norwegen, Singapur und Malaysia nachzudenken und verschiedene bildungspolitische Ansätze zu vergleichen. Seinen abschließenden Vorschlägen stimme ich auch aus der Ferne gerne zu..." - Jochen Robes

    "I found the information excerpted below and the balance of the post The Secret Recipe to Delivering World Class Lectures potentially useful and insightful..." - John Lang

WOW! If I had got that kind of inspiring feedback when I was a student, I would be having lunch with Obama right now. Let's give him a tinker...

But thinking about it, I was actually a very naughty and noisy student the first 9 years (primary and secondary school), and in College and University I got by lectures through sleeping. Once a lecturer threatened to kick me out of class, if didn't stop sleeping. Did it work? Actually, it worked for that course, but I slept with my eyes open.

In other words, I probably would not have deserved any inspirational sparks to inspire me to change the world (Actually, changing ourselves is tough enough!). What to do? I suppose I am a reasonably late bloomer.

I have come to realize the GOD has given me a great potential and hopefully as I grow older and wiser (I hope) it will benefit more and more people out there for the better (if worse, please ignore me). And more importantly, I have increasingly realized that all of us have tremendous potentials (Yes, plural!) and a bit of constructive and inspiring feedback from others could do wonders. If no one inspires you, better yet, use your inner-voice (internal feedback system) to inspire yourself. It works for life, if you use it.

For more details regarding self-improvement you could explore dudes like Anthony Robbins, but let's face it...Anthony Robbins is an extremely gifted, charming and intelligent 7-foot Hulk (or 6.5 or something), so no wonder he believes in 'Unlimited Power'. We ordinary people here, perhaps we should start by saying...

" I AM AWESOME!" If you don't think so, please watch this video...

You are AWESOME or not? I think so :)

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