Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success – Harvard Business Review

The annals of business history are full of tales of companies that once dominated their industries but fell into decline. The usual reasons offered—staying too close to existing customers, a myopic focus on short-term financial performance, and an inability to adapt business models to disruptive innovation—don’t fully explain how the leaders who had steered these firms to greatness lost their touch.In this article we argue that success can breed failure by hindering learning at both the individual and the organizational level.
We all know that learning from failure is one of the most important capacities for people and companies to develop. Yet surprisingly, learning from success can present even greater challenges.
To illuminate those challenges—and identify approaches for overcoming them—we will draw from our research and from the work of other scholars in the field of behavioral decision making, and focus on three interrelated impediments to learning.
The first is the inclination to make what psychologists call fundamental attribution errors. When we succeed, we’re likely to conclude that our talents and our current model or strategy are the reasons. We also give short shrift to the part that environmental factors and random events may have played.The second impediment is overconfidence bias: Success increases our self-assurance. Faith in ourselves is a good thing, of course, but too much of it can make us believe we don’t need to change anything.The third impediment is the failure-to-ask-why syndrome—the tendency not to investigate the causes of good performance systematically. When executives and their teams suffer from this syndrome, they don’t ask the tough questions that would help them expand their knowledge or alter their assumptions about how the world works.

Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success – Harvard Business Review

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Skype Community Comes to the Classroom — THE Journal

Skype Community Comes to the Classroom — THE Journal


Skype has launched a global community for educators called Skype in the classroom.

The free service is focused on connecting teachers from around the world to allow them to communicate, collaborate on projects, draw expertise from one another, and share learning materials and best practices. It also serves as a launchpad for connecting students with their peers in classrooms across the planet using Skype video.

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Earth Hour – Home

What started in 2007 in Sydney as a response to climate change has today become a global phenomenon. In a few short 3 years, a record 128 countries and territories participated in global display of climate action.

Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time) with a difference – go beyond the hour.

Save the Earth – we have only one!

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us By Daniel H. Pink – eBook – Kobo

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us By Daniel H. Pink – eBook – Kobo
The author Pink makes an interesting “paradigm-shattering” statement that what we understand about motivation and performance might be a mismatch. This mismatch lies between “what science knows (carrot and stick) and what business does”. He condenses to 3 elements, viz AUTONOMY, MASTERY and PURPOSE. Some food for thought and foot for walk.

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Quick Notification Systems

During the weekend, I received an email from eCampus News about an article on an emergency notification system that can reach out to students holding a special key chain device within 20  minutes of notification. Recent episodes of incidents at 2007 Virginia Tech, 2007 Delaware State University, 2010 Alabama University, 2009 Utah State (storm warning) indicate that SMS texting systems will not work quick enough to reach the whole campus community.

The simple reason for these delays, while the assumption was right that outreach using SMS would be comprehensive as almost everyone on campus has a mobile phone, it is the delivery process of sending out the same SMS text to a huge population that failed. If the mode of transmission is via sequential sending as a batch job, the time taken to send to 30,000 students on campus will be 30,000/t where t is the time taken to send a message. If a SMS delivery system can send 300 messages per minute (process includes dialing the number, and then send the text), it means for the last poerson to get the message, he would get the SMS text message at the 100th minute, or almost 2 hours after the first SMS message has been sent. Technically, we say that the average time for the SMS messages to be delivered to be 50 minutes.

Strategies to overcome this delay receipt challenges is to manage the list of recepiants, with the key people at the top of the list (so that they will get notified quickest), and then the rest later. Whatever the case, the point is that there will be significant delays to reaching out to the whole campus community. Of course, if you have two or more parallel systems to do the job, the average time can be reduced accordingly.

This is where we would like to introduce to you a notification system that we will be introducing to the campus community in 2011Q2. It is the Bb Connect from Blackboard, our eLearning platform provider. Messages can be sent multimodally via SMS, voice messages and/or email. The messages in each mode can be managed so that short alerts are received by the mobile phone, and more details will be via the email in-box. Of course, we hope that while we will not have to use it for an emergency, we have this option. This will complement the campus PA system that have zone broadcasting capability for making public announcements (unless the inicident was a power failure 😉

Use of Notification System by Professors

As a Bb product, Bb Connect is integrated with Blackboard elearning platform. What this means is that it can be used as an class announcement tool by professors. We have been asked in the early days of edveNTUre how can faculty communicate to students urgent announcements, like class reschedule, cancellation, reminders, etc.

With Bb Connect, you can. More details of this soon!

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TR, TRx and TR+

Background and Context
The BRC recommends the creation and development of learning spaces be established to enhance participative learning. This New Pedagogy will result in our students playing a more active role towards their learning. Such learning can be achieved via the following framework:

  1. self-directed learning (via self study with due preparation, review, etc)
  2. individual active learning in a classroom or lecture theatre
  3. collaborative learning through participative (or active) learning with other learners

Some of these activities are done in a formal class context, or informally and online synchronously or otherwise.

Fig 1: Learning Space Concept for TRs

The focus of this blog entry will be look at TRs in this framework. All the TRs on campus of today will eventually be converted to the new TR design (Fig 1). The principle of the TR+ design embodies the interconnect, relationship and actions between the pillars of pedagogy, technology and the physical space (see Fig 2 below, as used by Purdue University in a recent EduComm presentation). The value and benefits is fully manifested when all three pillars inter-play. The outcome is more participative learning, in which the learner takes a greater and more active role in his/her learning.

Students attending the tutorial class will be sitting in groups of up to 6. They can learn together, discuss and respond as a group (usually presented by a group spoke-person). Such team learning have seen good learning outcomes in students when applied in many medical schools.

Fig 1: Prudue’s P-S_T Framework

Firstly, a clarification of terms that we will be using:

  1. TR: this refer to the formal teaching facilities that are used for tutorial sessions. Built in the mid-1980’s, it was designed for the instructor-led model, where the instructor presented in front of the class; all the students are facing him, and most interactions are between the instructor and the students.
  2. TRx: this stands for TR eXperimental. First established in mid 2010 under the BRC Classroom of Tomorrow imitative, it was the conceptual implementation and pilot of the New Pedagogy for classroom teaching. Using the principles of learning spaces that integrates learning pedagogy, technology and physical space, the University established 3 pilot sites at TRx43, TRx44 (North Spine) and TRx121 (South Spine). Arising from feedback, comments and critique by pioneer faculty using them for their tutorials, an implementation model for the TRs was established.
  3. TR+: the operational roll out of TRx will be known as TR+. There is a reason for introducing a third label. The operational roll-out of the TR+ will be carried out over 3 phases during the semestral breaks. In other words, in the process of rolling out new TR upgrade, there will be a hybrid availability of the old TR and the new TR+. For ease of communication and facilities management, the terms TR and TR+ will be used to differentiate the 2 TR types (the TRx will transit to TR+). When all the TR+s have been completed after Phase 3, we will revert back to the “TR” term to describe all the new designed TRs.

Main Difference of NTU and other Campus Learning Space approach for TRs
The TR+ and other similar learning space classrooms (like TEAL for Technology Enabled Active Learning) at MIT and elsewhere have often been compared. While there certainly have been similarities, there is at least a major principal difference.

In many of these TEAL implementations, it was principally applied for “first time learning” in which new concepts were introduced for the first time in the course to students. Learning was via the constructivist paradigm. This would be equivalent to our lectures where new concepts are first taught. At NTU, we implemented the TEAL principles in the post lecture tutorial-review-recital learning situation. The tutorial sessions are used to support, complement and review what had been taught at an earlier lecture. This important difference circumvent many of the criticisms raised by students (but, interesting, appreciated and desired by earlier graduates who wished that they have learned those classes that TEAL way, and by educators who sees the benefits of such an approach).

Benefits for Student Learning
In this regard, in NTU TR+ paradigm, we are moving to a tutorial mode in which after students have learned (so we assume) what has been taught earlier at the lecture, are now clarifying, deepening their understanding and applying their knowledge to problem solving or debate, analysis, etc. While a student might not have fully grasped everything, when they attend the tutorial at the TR+ environment, they come as a group. As groups are assigned different problems to solve and later to present, it creates opportunities for them to solve, learn, re-learn and unlearn together. Interestingly, it creates intellectual and social dialogue between students who might not ever utter a “hello” to others during the semester that they are together. This is social learning, a phenomenon that is so familiar and synergistic to these Gen Y people!

Typically, group-think converges to a “good” answer. Worse case, the group shares the tar and feathers; this is better than the discomfort, stress and embarrassment that individual students sometimes feel when they give a wrong answer, or stutter the right answer with all eyes on them!

In some informal sessions with students, we asked them for their feedback of the TRx – a coomon one that we heard from students is that “we can discuss”. Interesting, as it indicates that students want to learn more actively, as a group. They are not there just to passively get the solutions. Perhaps the world is indeed changing?

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edveNTUre goes 9.1

AY2010 Sem II starts next week, and CELT welcomes all of you back!

One major development at CELT (there are many which will be the subject of future momeNTUm blog entries) during the recent December 2010 break was the upgrading to edveNTUre 9.1 (based on Blackboard 9.1, hereafter referred to as ‘Bb9’). In some ways, this marks a major milestone.

Firstly, it is the first product that integrates the offerings of Blackboard learning systems, viz WebCT, Angel and of course Blackboard. In so doing, they have developed the “best of breed” of Learning Management Systems (or LMS) in their stable. Of course, the off-spring, though familiar, will be different.

Secondly, Bb9 incorporates Web 2.0 elements. This version will incorporate tools with higher degrees of interactivity and participation. Princeton has a good write up here (http://www.princeton.edu/bb/upgrade-to-bb9/). Learning via collaboration is made easier, and there are improvements in the user interface design.

On the point of a “better” user interface, note that it is better because it is designed and validated so. What do I mean? Though it is “better”, it might not be to someone who is used to doing something the “old” way. It would be like someone who drives a manual car, and comment that an “automatic” gear-box car is harder to drive. As in all things, once you get the hang of it, you will wonder “why did not they do it sooner”.

It is on this point that I would like to share some feedback from other universities who had upgraded to Bb9 earlier. They include:

a)      Shock and surprise – Bb9, though functionally similar, does not look the same. Many upgraded Bb9 universities have fed-back on a “confusion and anxiety phase” that some of you will experience. To help minimise (I did not use the word “remedy” as no matter how hard we all try, it would be some transition impact), CELT has organized both campus-wide and school-based info sessions. Participating in these events will help smoothen your transition to Bb9.

b)      Same function, different (and shorter) processes.  In fact, the old process for performing the same function might still be there, but now, it can be done with less steps. Generally, instead of the need to go to the Control Panel every time to perform some tasks, now it can be achieved through short cuts like the contextual menu, drag-and-drop functionality and Help menu on the web-page itself.

c)        New tools for teaching and learning:  these includes blogs and journals, notification dashboards (with alerts like What’s New, Needs Attention, To Do, and Alerts) and group creation in course sites that students can self-enroll in.

d)      Removal of some tools: the most significant one for some of you will be the Digital Dropbox. In its place will be the Assignment tool. Student Homepages is replaced with “My Places” for links to their sites and tools within edveNTUre, etc.

As part the edventure9 roll-out, CELT have

a)      updated the edveNTUre home-page (still under re-construction). Instead of using the SharePoint platform, we will now be using the Blackboard home tabs.

b)      The current blog and wiki tools provided by Learning Objects in edveNTUre will be decommissioned in AY2011/12 Sem I; the Bb9 blog tool will be phased in. Training for this blog tool will, of course, be provided.

c)       SafeAssign: this will be phased out with the introduction of Turnitin. There will be some local issues and implications here, which I will discuss in another blog entry.

In the meantime, have a good semester ahead!

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