The home schooling alternative to education. [infographic]

I home schooling better?

(Click on the infographic below to learn more.)

Via Column Five for Course Hero

It’s learning, practice, not natural talent, that brings success

According to Geoff Colvin, senior editor at Fortune: “Talent is Overrated.”

In his new book by the same name, he says researchers see little evidence of talent in high-achieving individuals before they had intensive training. The findings show up in every kind of endeavor and in business people, artists, sports figures and others. The researchers don’t say talent doesn’t exist or help, but that practice and diligent work are more important to success.

“Deliberate practice” designed to improve performance is the key. It includes continually stretching yourself just beyond your current capabilities. You have to identify the elements of your performance that need to be improved and work intensely on them and with repetition. That means using deep focus and concentration.

For deliberate practice to be effective, do what is difficult and painful. Seek out what you are not good at.

In the beginning, and sometimes long after, you should have a teacher to guide you, says Colvin. Anyone who thinks he’s outgrown the benefits of a teacher’s help should question that view. You need feedback.

It may seem that the most important things you can do to improve in your work are not fun.

But if the activities that lead to greatness were enjoyable, everyone would do them. There would be no way to distinguish the best from the rest. Bottom line: If you think you aren’t highly talented in an area, you can still become great by learning and practicing deliberately.

Video conferencing at home

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Cisco Systems showed its videoconferencing system for the home. It’s similar to Cisco’s TelePresence, a high-end videoconferencing system for businesses.
The home version lets consumers do the same on high-definition TVs. The system is not available yet, but home trials are beginning.
Internet-enabled TVs are a big trend. An estimated 45 million will be enabled by 2014, according to ABI Research. This year, there are 32 million U.S. households with broadband connects that can support videoconferencing.
In the meantime, TV makers Panasonic and LG are adding Skype, the free online telephone service, to internet-connected high-definition televisions. Users with a Web camera and microphone can create live video chats and phone calls.

Job hopper finds retail outfits have a lot to teach

On the surface, it might look as if Alex Frankel didn’t really want a steady job. The truth is that the Brown University grad was writing a book about the retail experience. His quest was not that easy. Whole Foods, Home Depot, and Best Buy wouldn’t hire him. He writes about those that did.

At UPS, he found high spirits and a place he wanted to work. He felt like one of the chosen few, but he thinks not all drivers have the same attitude.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car was almost cult-like, he reports, and was demanding. The customer-service section of the training binder was 73 pages long. It made him feel like they were supposed to be insurance sales people.

Starbucks looked like it would have an easy job for him. Not so. He was surprised by the tremendous amount of learning it took in the early weeks and how taxing the job was.

At the Gap, Frankel said all he was expected to do was fold clothes. He folded a lot of clothes.

The Apple Store was something else. There was not much learning to do because Apple only hired people who were experienced with their products. Quoted in USA Today, Frankel said workers didn’t seem to be working or selling, just hanging out and dispensing information. As much information was being shared as products being sold.

In his book, Frankel skillfully imparts the feeling of what it’s like to be an invisible person looking for a job. He thinks the reason he was turned down by Best Buy and Whole Foods was because he failed the online test.

Both companies have applications that include 100-question multiple-choice questions. The software company Unicru has such systems for hiring and tracking employees. It flags those who appear to be the best choices.

The system was right in not choosing Frankel.

On-the-job learning called most effective

August has become the new back-to-school month, usurping the title from September for kids in grade school and high school. Most universities and colleges still open their fall semesters in September.

That probably means that many of us are wondering whether we should be signing up for a college course, or some other type of class.

Textbooks and classroom learning have their place. They give people an overview of their work and why it’s important. Some technical courses actually teach skills that can be used on the job, or at least on some job if not your own.

Without detracting from the importance of education, training consultant Ram Charan says action is the real key to learning. He recommends building learning into the work. People learn more, says Charan, from active on-the-job training than from classroom instruction.

The Center for Workforce Development estimates that U.S. companies spend up to $50 billion a year on formal training, but that 70 percent of all workplace learning is actually informal, costs less, and is more effective.

In the real world of work, you often don’t know what you need to know until you need to know it. That’s where informal training comes into its own. It’s just-in-time learning, and that’s valuable. The return on investment is immediate for the company and the individual. It boosts morale, because people like to grow.

Charan also says a workplace full of people seeking and giving help to each other becomes a wellspring of ideas for continuous improvement.

Not taking any courses this year? That doesn’t mean you won’t be learning. In our organization, learning and building skills are a continuing process.

Facts about ‘distance learning’

More people are taking college courses online while retaining their full-time jobs. Research shows:

* There is no significant difference between classroom instruction and distance learning.

* Most online instruction has a high level of interaction with teams, and professors.

* Most employers see online learning as equal to or better than classrooms.

* Distance learners read more, write more, and do more research than students attending class in person.

* The costs of distance learning are comparable to classroom instruction.

Learning depends on a good night’s Zs

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have important news for anyone trying to learn a new skill involving movement..

Whether you’re pitching a softball, working on your tee shot, or perfecting your serve, the quality of sleep you get is almost as important as practice. The doctors found that the final two hours of sleep during an eight-hour sleep night are particularly important.

The Harvard people discovered that people learning keyboard skills in the evening learned them 20 percent faster than people learning those skills in the morning. This was only true, however, if the evening people had a good night’s sleep.

Accelerated Learning 2.0

I just put up a new slide presentation on about Accelerated Learning

Here are the main points

  1. You can learn anything you want to learn
  2. Learning how to learn is the most important thing you can do
  3. You can learn faster by knowing how the brain works
  4. To earn more you need to learn more
  5. You can achieve any goal by developing the skill needed to achieve it

elearning 101 web links for June 27, 2008

U.S. Department of Education Releases Report on the Status of online learning.

“Education in this country has evolved dramatically from the days of one teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. Today, student learning is no longer confined to a physical space. Computers and the Internet have broken through school walls, giving students greater opportunities to personalize their education, access distant resources, receive extra help or more-challenging assignments, and engage in learning in new and unique ways.”

Personal Learning Determines Success

According to education experts, personal learning in distance learning programs plays the most important role in the success of ones completion. “The students decide on their own success”, said Dr. Ralf Andreas Thoma, head of studies Betriebwirtschaftliches Institut & Seminar Basel AG / Switzerland.

Online classes reshape schooling

“Enrollment on rise as high schoolers enroll in AP courses”

Online learning can help minority students

“As online learning becomes more of a strategic resource for K-12 and higher-education institutions to supplement traditional courses, education leaders are starting to discuss how online learning can help support minority students’ instructional needs.”

Cognitive and social impact of technology

Presentation slides from Leading Learning conference

“My focus was on retaining the needed elements of education – transforming learner and society, deep understanding, cultivating capacity for ethical thought, and emphasizing “what it means to be human” – while fostering greater innovation in teaching and learning through the opportunities of technology. It’s a tough balance to get right.” George Siemens