This Week on #TalkTech: Microsoft’s Nightmare, Training at Facebook and Google Shortens Attention Spans

Topic 1: How might real life training exercises like Facebook’s “hackathon” be applied to other industries?

Facebook hackathons


October was CyberSecurity awareness week, and Facebook was not pulling any punches. In order to teach employees about the dangers of security breaches, Facebook launched a series of security threats and fake phishing sites to see how employees would respond. Those who reported the threats received fun prizes while those who missed the threats had to complete more training. Facebook’s approach to CyberSecurity training used a real world experience to teach instead of eLearning or instructor-led training. How can this be used in other industries?

Mashable: Facebook Hacks Its Employees to Teach Lessons on Cyber Attacks


Topic 2: How do poor reviews of Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 affect the future of Microsoft?

For many companies, it’s hard to imagine a work world without Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office. However, Microsoft’s recent product launches have yielded disappointing results. Windows 8 is getting mixed reviews, and Microsoft recently cut their order for 4 million Surface tablets in half. Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for the tech giant? If so, what will it take for business to lose its dependence on Windows and Microsoft Office?

Business Insider: Steve Ballmer’s Nightmare Is Coming True

Topic 3: How does learning need to change to accomodate shortening attention spans and changing reading preferences?

Is Google Making Us Stupid?


Nicholas Carr wrote a terrific piece in The Atlantic back in 2008 (an eternity in internet time) asking if Google was making us stupid. He noted his own struggles focusing on reading books and lengthy articles in favor of skimming headlines and scanning blog posts for key points. There is no doubt the internet affects the way we consume content. How should learning design change to make the most of our new habits?

The Atlantic: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

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Friday Link Round-Up

Happy Friday! I’ve read so much this week that peaked my interest, I wanted to pass along a sampling of some of my favorites:

1. Is Google Making Us Stupid? This article in the Atlantic Monthly speculates that the skimming that we now count as reading is affecting our ability to be deep thinkers. Are we becoming “pancake people”, spread wide, thin, and fluffy in the middle? I’m not sure, but I do know what I’ll be making for Saturday breakfast!

2. I’m always a sucker for a well-designed graphic learning bite. This example from Jonathan Jarvis is great. (And even makes it a little less depressing!) Remember, eLearning doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective!


3. The Department of Justice recently conducted a sneaky experiment to see how many of their employees would be sucked in to a phishing scam and actually give their personal information. Read about it on Cathy Moore’s blog. Now, I can just imagine the uproar that caused within the organization – it doesn’t exactly build trust in the leadership! BUT…a similar type of experience could easily be created within the safer environment of an eLearning course to create some powerful learning.

My final thought for the day –  I have had several clients recently be suprised by our flexibility and willingness to discuss their questions and requests. While occassionally we need to stick to our guns, most often we can accomodate their needs. It worries me that being open and flexible is now a suprising in the consulting world! “Always render more or better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.” (Og Mandino)