Marcia Conner

Stats on Workplace Learning

September 30, 2013

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Stats on Workplace Learning

When I led education at PeopleSoft a gazillion years ago, I shared with the head of all customer-facing services a copy of Training Magazine‘s annual numbers issue, published each November (now their November/December issue). His response wasn’t about the numbers, rather, “There’s a magazine just about training?” Recently I’ve been asked for various stats about workplace learning and the training industry in particular. With the popularity of my stats to make the case for social tools in business post, I realized others may also appreciate information on where to find data about learning at work. Although formal training accounts for only a small percentage of learning, unless noted specifically, the stats here…


Socially Awkward Networks

August 4, 2013

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Socially Awkward Networks

Last night I went to my high school’s 30th reunion. It was wonderful in ways I couldn’t have imagined and showed me that time (and perspective) can heal even wounds once made on tender hearts. 5 short years ago I wouldn’t have been ready to look back with such a giddy goofy grin. Proof came when I found a post I’d written for Fast Company in 2008, before our last reunion, which I didn’t attend. It’s about a classmate who wasn’t at this year’s reunion but who I might have felt differently about had she been there. Might. Here’s a reposting of that piece, not as a way to call out…


Working Hard Amid The Stars

July 2, 2013

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Working Hard Amid The Stars

My dad, Bob, was the hardest working person I’ve ever known. The son of immigrants, his dad died when my dad was very young. When his much older brother and sister left home, he grew up in the rooms behind a grocery store. His mom made his clothes, and he learned that the way to improve your situation was to work. When I was born, my dad was a school teacher in Chicago’s inner city. He saw that work as a way to improve the situation of the bright, hopeful kids in that school. Then his father-in-law, my grandfather Nathan, suggested he could assist in other ways too. When we moved…


Turning Words Into Swords

June 13, 2013

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Turning Words Into Swords

Douglas Rushkoff’s critical editorial in the pages of GOOD Summer 2013 coaxed me out of my head and onto my keyboard. He wrote, “Reading a copy of GOOD provokes both inspiration and inferiority….While I like to think of myself as doing good, when I am confronted by a cadre of folks doing magazine-layout-worthy good, I am at once motivated and paralyzed.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. More pointedly, I didn’t. For years I have described myself as a good but slow writer. The good part comes from decades of painstaking practice as a book writer and magazine editor–jobs that require my trademark vision and persistence. Their deadlines and…


Listen vs. Hear

June 11, 2013

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Listen vs. Hear

The phrase “Customer Listening” or its partner-in-crime “Voice of the Customer” always elicits my twitch. Perhaps that’s because it sounds so dang phony, so “I serve people–perhaps I should learn their modern communication ways.” As if that should be followed by, “Surprise!” and accompanied by a photo of a fellow donning a Captain Underpants outfit over his worsted-wool suit. “I have supreme confidence I know it all!” might be what he said the day before. I’m not against organizations engaging directly with people buying their wares. Nor am I insulted when companies distill from social media fresh insights on how people feel. If you’re doing one or both of those…


Freestyle Learning

May 13, 2013

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Freestyle Learning

In 2009, Coca Cola set out to refresh the way soda was dispensed at restaurants such as McDonalds and Moe’s. It aimed to put choice in customers’ hands. It intended to empower its customer with the act of artistry. Designed with the automaker Ferrari, Coca Cola introduced Freestyle; a sleek new approach to do more than serve soda. Freestyle is a drink machine that can mix over 100 different kinds of Coca Cola products including soda pop, power drinks, and flavored waters. In a modern twist on the 1950s soda-shop float, Freestyle brings choice and collaboration to customers’ fingertips. Strangers and groups of diners alike, standing in front of this…


Pop Music Good for Studies

April 28, 2013

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Pop Music Good for Studies

Are you listening to music while you read this? The new app, Coffitivity, reminded me how much I prefer music to coffee shop chatter and airport terminal clatter (although I admit to having creative bursts with both in the background). That’s why I was delighted to find this short passage. What do you listen to when you study or work? Studying to loud pop music may help children in school. At least that’s what British researchers found when they divided 11,000 children into three groups to listen to a pop radio station, classical music, and a discussion program. On IQ tests, the kids listening to Top 40 music came out…


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