The last couple years I've learned a lot of little things about a lot of stuff. The problem is they're not connected. So the knowledge, if it makes it into my long term memory, just sits there waiting for activation.

Learning by Walking Around

A while ago other one of these snippets of know-how came to my attention: Rhizomatic learning. I understand it as learning by walking around, going with the flow, taking it all in, and thinking and being in the moment. It helps connect the snippets in my memory.


Being a practitioner I think about tools a lot. What tools should a learner out on a rhizome have handy?

Sketch of a cold weather rhizome learner

Cold weather rhizome learner


I'm in DC next week. Snow is forecast. I'm not a big fan. It'll be interesting to see what connections come from rhizoming whilst sleeting.


On Onboarding


A tweet reminded me of a past onboarding experience I had. It relied too much on technology to get me going. I’m talking about all the stuff a new employee has to do: HR paperwork, meeting manager and peers, picking IT stuff, and all the rest. The toughest part was taking all the compliance stuff online. Basically running new employees through the mill.Sketch of new employee running through a mill

Make It Personal

I see the onboarding process as more personal and happening in real-time. As for compliance stuff, why not learn it from other employees who, having been with the organization a while are practitioners. It helps the newbies learn the culture, too.

Sketch of new employee learning from peers

Meet and greet onboarding


Make learning more collaborative.





Reflections on Reflections


I saw a tweet about tips for something. A casual tap later and, “Register here for access”. What? Dissonance.

Photo of paint splatter on a long playing record

Give up personal information and.. SPLAT!


Seen the hashtag #WOL on Twitter? It means Work Out Loud. We're encouraged to learn from each other through sharing our doing. It puts the invisible, ideas and decision making, into the open. We can learn from each other.


@MegBertapelle posted reflections on the eLearning Guild's DevLearn conference on @stipton's Learning Rebel blog. DevLearn Is about people: asking questions, sharing answers and results. Learning alone makes for a one-sided experience.

Photo of a teacher setting up a classroom presentation

It's just space without people.


Learning new stuff can be easy or hard. It doesn't have to be lonely. Curious about something, I google. I like asking my PLN for help now and then. Sometimes I risk the spam. At the end of it all, consider making it visible.



Re: Run


“Shoulder to shoulder and backs to the wall..” Sound familiar? Maybe not the exact phrase but the sentiment?

Photograph of a Saguaro cactus

Saguaro cactus somewhere in the Sonoran Desert

I was nine years old the first time I heard the phrase spoken, clueless what the words meant. They were spoken by Bob Steele acting in the role of Trooper Duffy, a member of F Troop.


F Troop was a 1960s TV comedy about a misfit Army outpost set in the 1860s. I got to thinking about it during a meeting last week. My job as an instructional designer, like some people's jobs, isn't all fun and games. It's an iterative job that can become very technical quickly.

I like being a designer. I like serving people, aiding them in their development. One thing that makes my job fun is storytelling. Another is finding patterns in things I see and hear.

Photograph of a rock formation

Can you see the mama bear and cub?

Can you see anything but rocks in the photo above? I was out on walkabout the other day near Desert Center, California when something grabbed my attention. Looking at it for a few long moments what I saw reminded me of a family of bears: two adults looking out for their cub.


Typically instructional design involves analysis to identify gaps in knowledge or performance and to learn about the ecology where work and learning occur.

Sketch of several shapes that resemble bears

When I meet with customers and subject matter experts I ask them to tell me stories about what they perceive a problem to be. I take notes: written, sometimes typed. Lately I've started sketching, too. I've found it offers two very different but hugely important benefits.

  1. With sketching comes clarity. Quickly.
  2. Drawing is a very old human activity that brings people together.

Which brings me back to Trooper Duffy. The group I was working with were old school. That is to say they were uncomfortable with my sketching. To them analyzing a problem had to happen the way it had always happened, slowly and methodically.



I'm going to be working on this project through at least February. Besides doing my usual instructional design thing I'll also be modeling new innovative stuff that I've learned. Like analysis through storytelling and sketching to decrease, perhaps drastically, the time it takes to get busy prototyping. Another new thing I can't wait to take out for a spin is visual thinking for formative and summative assessments. It'll be like Private Dobbs, F Tropp's bugler, blowing reveille to wake everybody up.


Imagine That


I was an avid reader until Mrs and I started having kids. Arthur C. Clarke was a favorite. Something he wrote came back to me tonight.


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke

I go far afield from what I know when I grow my PLN. Curiosity is my driver.

Photograph a COMPILE cartoon showing teachers sharing ideas

COMPILE is sharing ideas

When I started participating at EdCamps it was dizzying: so much new stuff. Curiosity turned me onto following scientists, too.


This week I learned of The Society for Neuroscience conference in DC. Pouring over #SfN14's backchannel I began following neuroscientists. Their tweets made me curious. They are into some cool things.


So what do I ask of my PLN? Take my thinking where my own probably wouldn't.

I'll do the same for you.


Mantra Ray



I got home from my SDCUE a trip just before midnight. The trip, the event, the information I was exposed to, and the people I met have left me with a lot to reflect on.

Photo of Urbie and two women against a San Diego CUE backgrop


In the last three months I've been to:

  • EdCampWestTexas
  • EdCampSD
  • DevLearn
  • EdCampUCLACenterX

That's a lot of PD. Reflecting got me thinking about my why? I participate in EdCamps, SDCUE, and DevLearn because of the people I meet and to get a deeper understanding of teaching, learning, and development that might transfer to my context.

What's it mean: my takeaways from 15 months of social (F2F and via Twitter) PD: “You matter” and “Keep a positive attitude and nothing else matters.” My mantra.


I sit too much: 5.5 hours to California, at least 15 to Texas. My ray of hope: stepping up the action and getting mind/body in motion.


Who, Who, Who, Who?


Today's Twitter LRNCHAT was about music and learning. I was relieved to find naming bands or reciting lyrics wasn't part of the mix. Good thing too: I'm stuck in the '60s music-wise.


During the chat I started humming The Who's Who Are You? It reminded me of participating at DevLearn, my first ever eLearning Guild event a couple weeks ago.

Photo selfie of Urbie standing in front of a projection screen

Urbie presenting learning's from EdCamp

It was a good PD (Professional Development) experience. Listening to and talking with lots of whos helped me grow.

140 Words

The other day I read #140WC, a blog post about communicating using 140 words at a time, daily. Its author challenged readers to share daily.


Who are you, person reading this? Who are you going to share with next? Who, who?