This Week in MakingBetter (12 March, 2014)


When In Doubt...


Last week, I began revisiting the Polar Bear Book, otherwise known as “Information Architecture for the Web” by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld. In its Third Edition, it is amazing to me how well is stands up from 2007, and how critically important it is for people who want to work with xAPI to “get it.” I suspect this will inspire some thoughts about how important IA is to bridging community and content.


A few weeks ago, John Hagel wrote some very resonant thoughts on influence: “By focusing on questions rather than answers, showing vulnerability in the process and helping to connect people together in ever richer mesh networks, we have an opportunity to exercise influence far beyond our initial domains or resources. We can draw out the potential that resides within all of us so that even modest resources can quickly cascade into movements with ever increasing impact. Small moves, smartly made, can indeed set very big things in motion.” We have a whole lot to say about this (certainly more than us yelling “HELLS YES!”) and we will in coming weeks.

The world of fabrication and 3D printing is moving so fast and it’s really really exciting. Zach Kaplan is the CEO of Inventables, but he’s also a co-organizer of Chicago’s ORDcamp unconference. His latest effort as part of Inventables is likely to be as revolutionary as SketchUp was to CAD software. Easel is a browser-based approach to designing objects that allows you design in 2D space and then… literally… print from the browser. I predict Easel is going to be huge.


Last week we posted information on two workshops we’ve designed and led over the last three weeks for different organizations. Your team may be interested in building up some Information Architecture or Facilitation skills. If you’re rethinking learning content strategy our workshop on Applying Information Architecture will ready you for success. If you’re moving toward an agile development process from waterfall, there’s a whole bunch of culture change you’re dealing with and our Collaboration Catalyst workshop will provide you the chance to practice different ways to facilitate for specific outcomes, helping select which are the right tools for the task.

Tonight, I’m hosting our first IEEE xAPI Study Group meeting as a Google+ Hangout-on-air. It’s an open group focused on implementation practices and challenges, starting at 9:30pm Eastern.

Tomorrow, the Learning Locker Experience Badgers will meet with other groups participating in ADL’s xAPI-Design cohort. I’m currently working with James Mullaney on a way to commonly express Open Badges with xAPI activity statements. Establishing best practice takes implementers coming together, so it makes for a great topic for the xAPI-Design group with pretty significant (and positive) impacts for IEEE.

This weekend is our third annual gathering of Up to All of Us. It’s an amazing, invite-only gathering of incredible practitioners in different fields helping each other push to the next level. The agenda is kept as much a surprise/mystery as possible, but we’ll try and frame this year’s gathering as a preview tomorrow, in broad strokes, with follow-up to come next week.