I wrote this article on my LinkedIn page. I think it’s worth linking to from here. I’m sharing my ideas around succeeding while working remotely.
I wrote this article on my LinkedIn page. I think it’s worth linking to from here. I’m sharing my ideas around succeeding while working remotely.
What I have learned working with scientists in my time at Amazon about building algorithms for solving business problems.
For the past few years I have been working with Amazon’s Machine Learning University. My role has been to help them scale and reach more Amazonian’s. We accomplished this by creating a learning platform with supportive course content, an emphasis on strong visual and interactive learning. We basically flipped the classroom. My focus has always been to put the experience of the learner first. Providing a clean design, removing noise, with engaging content so the student can focus on learning. The approach has been a great success in teaching Amazonian’s to solve Amazon business problems with Machine Learning.
Enough on what I did and back to what I have learned.
I think one of the first lessons was the importance of gathering data. Data is at the core of understanding the problem. We often approach problems in business or personal for that matter without taking in good data. We lack a complete understanding of the problem.
Until you have data you really can’t build an understanding of what ground truth is. This is very important because everything builds from ground truth. You must explore and visualize your data to establish this. You need to make sure you understand the details that may be hidden in your data. Establish things like context, sentiment, frequency to establish relevancy. Remove the unimportant stuff and focus on what is really important. To do this you may have to do the math, yes, the math. Math is the magic used manipulate and visualize your data. This may sound simple but remember its math. There may be some work to do as you build your algorithm and try and find ground truth. You may need to do some tuning, adjusting your algorithm there is not always a predefined path but more of a process or framework to help you get to your final output.
It is at this point, the point when you see things clearly. But that’s not it. There is something bigger than solving the problem. What? As you know solving problems can sometimes be like putting your finder on the dike. The problem may come again or one like it.
The real value comes in prediction. Now that you can see clearly what has happened in the past and today using insights from your data you can start to predict what will happen next. It’s something Amazon does very well. You know “I see that you purchased that guitar, would you like to look at guitar for dummies or perhaps something to tune that thing please. It’s the secrete sauce, yes, I’d like to solve my problems in the future.
There is one more thing and it maybe my favorite. In my time at Amazon I have discusses quantum physics, robots & rocket science and lots of other geeky fun topics sometimes while playing ping pong. What a privilege that has been to work with some truly inspiring people at Amazon. That said the real insights I gained where from working with the amazing people at Amazon. It’s their drive to solve problems, innovate, willingness to work hard and learn as they go. I’ve worked with some of the smartest people I have ever met here. Many of them are physicists, mathematics masters and rocket scientists. Yet they don’t pretend to know the all answers but they do know how to work hard to get them. I also appreciated the great leadership I worked with in my time at Amazon. Nothing happens in an organization without true leaders and inspiring people who establish clear expectations and remove obstacles it’s truly part of the algorithm for success.
Instructional and Learning Experience Design
I thought I would share some sensory from my trip to the Olympic Peninsula. It was in June to celebrate my oldest sons Bryce’s Birthday.We started by talking the Edmonds Kingston Ferry
over to the Olympic Peninsula. Once across we would take State Highway 307 turning on 104 north. We followed 104 north till we hit Interstate 101. Follow 101 around the top of the Peninsula to the Pacific Ocean.
I love this drive. Here is a music video I created out of the GoPro footage on the Jeep. It was really my Teardrop campers first real outing. I am very please on how it has trended out. Few more tweaks and I think I will have it setup they way I want.
We camped in a camp ground out side of Forks Wa Called More Campground. Great place to stay but can be sold out in the Summer. You may now that is vampire country. Its the setting for the Twilight series. If you are a fan this place is a must.
If you do make it over to the further most tip of Washington state there are some fantastic beaches, parks and viewpoint. I recommend taking a several days and driving around the loop. You have to see the rain forest. For sure explore the Olympic National Park. I love this resource by the National Parks Conservation Association.
We defiantly found lots cool places to hang out and explore. La Push beach is one of my favorite beaches in the Pacific. We spent some time there. I love photography and there was lots of birds including one of my favorite to photograph is the Bald Eagle. I was able to get nice on close to one for some great photos.
It was a great place to watch birds, boats and people. Lots of sand to play on. We watched the Coast Gard guys towing in a fishing vessel it seemed to almost get away from them at one point.
In-between the camp ground and La Push we found a great little place on the river to kayak, cool down in the water and have lunch.
I would have liked to have spent more time on the Peninsula but it was just a weekend get-a-way. We’ll have to get back out there soon.
I just ran across this great series of blog entries from my friends at Intrepid Learning by Sam Herring on LinkedIn. Besides being a local company here in Seattle I’ve always respected the great work they do. I was first introduced to their work while I was at T-Mobile. I also respect their accessibility locally and involvement in ATD. Sam Herring who is CEO at Intrepid served on the ATD board of directors for 4 years and made big contributions to the learning community. Here is an interview I did with Sam for the ATD Puget Sound 2012 Workplace Learning Conference.
There are some really great blog articles in this series. I recommend you check them out and sign up to follow their blog. Don’t forget to download the cool infographic from the blog article I ♥ infographics . Enjoy!
Please tell me that we are not surprised at the results of this study. I believe most educators and learning and development professionals know that a good hands on experience or interactive module will achieve a better transfer than a lecture any day. Don’t get me wrong lectures have a place in learning but its just not where the real learning takes place. In my option lecture is the place for bringing all the experience and activities together, sort of connecting the dots. To me a lecture is sometimes like drinking out of a fire hose.
I always enjoyed the lab days in school. I still remember some of the experiments we did in science class. Who doesn’t remember lighting things on fire or dissecting frogs. Just saying! The value is in the experience and actually trying things for your self. This is where you start to see the value of concepts like the flipped classroom. There is nothing new about activity based learning isn’t that what an apprenticeship is? Learning while doing is where it is at. Below is the article that inspired this blog.
I have been a Fly Fisherman for several years now. I hesitate to say I am self taught but you could say my learning was self directed. I used a combination of informal, social, short format content and good research or reference. Now I know this method is not something all that special or even new. I do believe that there are a lot more resources available to us today that make this method much easier. I would like to offer my approach and technique as an example of how someone can learn any new skill. These techniques will work for professional development within an organization as well as for personal interest skills development. The keys for success are first identifying the skills you want to learn, set some goals and structure to keep you on track and to assure you are moving forward.
I recently discovered that I had a Hernia and needed to have surgery. Ouch! I pause for a short pity party. 😉 The main point here is that I knew I would have some down time. This is something I am normally not too good at. I knew I needed to plan something to do so I would not go stir crazy or even worse drive my family crazy. I was looking at several days of very minimal activity then light activity as I could handle but no working out for about a month. Basically I would be putzing around the house days for weeks. That said, I am not a big TV person. I do like movies but I usually can’t even make it through most movies without having to go to the kitchen or something. I am just not great at passive entertainment, I need to be doing something. I decided that this would be a good time to start learning to tie my own flies.
Where to start? Where else? For me most things start with a Google search. Research is the most important step in self directed learning. You know the old saying you don’t know what you don’t know. You need to build a foundation of understanding so you can put together plan. Fist I would need to know what equipment is needed. I found several Fly Tying kits. By looking at the kits I knew what the basic tools I would need. Further research on YouTube would give me some reviews on the tools and how to use them. There where lots of places to buy online but I decided that finding someone at local Fly Fishing shop to help me make the right purchases would be more valuable than saving a few dollars.
I jumped in the Jeep and headed down to my favorite local fly show Pacific Fly Fishers. I asked owner Michael Bennett help me pick out the basic tools I needed to get started. I then asked him to help me choose two of the most common flies that would work well for the areas I like to fish and the materials I would need to tie them.
My next step was to get my brain around some of the basic techniques so I went on a YouTube marathon. There are many videos on how to use the tools and the various techniques to uses them. I then picked some common flies I have used and watched those videos. I must have watched dozens of them before I tried any myself. I also had been given a book several years back call Beginner’s Guide to Fly-tying and I also spent a great deal of time piling through it.
Ok I was ready to take the plunge. I decided it was time to tye my first fly. I choose the Black Wooly Bugger. It is a fly I have fished many a times so I was excited to have an endless supply. The YouTube video below walked be through the steps to tying the fly and because I had spent so much time researching and studying other videos it was a breeze. I have since then tied several of the same flies and each time I tie it the fly looks better.
In summery I think this is the new model for learning. Even formal education can borrow form this approach. Especially when you consider the flipped classroom. The amount of information and instructional content that is available to us these days I unbelievable. There are so many things I have turned to YouTube videos to learn how to do. From fixing something around the house, installing a part on my Jeep or learning a new software. Now just don’t take my word for it. If you are like most people there is something that you have always wanted to know how to do. Go ahead, do it! Take advantage of the resources available to you and learn that new skill.
So true. This quote, to me is pointing out the fact the knowledge is not a passive thing. It is born out of action as all growth and achievements are. To learn we must observe, practice and get feedback. In Martial Arts and in other sports we often refer to a thing called muscle memory. This is when we have practiced a movement enough that the muscle knows what to do instinctively without the brain having to walk us through. Without mind! Bruce Lee once said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” We should always be students approaching life with an open mind and willing to put effort into something we have been exposed to so we make it our own.
I saw this article today from Inc. it has some great insights on speaking. As someone who does a lot of public speaking, I am always trying to learn and improve my skills. I am always looking for tips and tricks. I think one really important aspect is that the topic you are going to present on or speak about needs to be something you have a lot of knowledge of. You must study, research and understand the content. This will bring you the confidence you need to stand in front of an audience and talk about the subject. This is the foundation. Now this will not necessarily make you a good speaker or presenter but it is where you should start. Once you have the content down then you are ready to start honing you presentation and speaking skills. Below are some good resources to get you started.
Here is the article that inspired this post it is worth checking out. 9 Habits of Highly Effective Speakers | Inc.com.
Below is a good slide presentation from 7 Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters
Here is another good one from Inc 10 Phrases Great Speakers Never Say
Another way to improve is to watch/listen to others and learn from them. You should troll Youtube and Ted for more inspirational talks. Also here is a good list of The Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century
I am sure most of us would agree that the education system could use some major re-work. Many of the teachers I have talked to have expressed their frustrations to me about the focus on testing and some of the curriculum they are asked to teach. Good teachers spend a lot of time trying to comply with what they have to do and attempting to rise above this adding what they should be teaching as they can. The system is really making it tough on them not to mention the students. Most of them know what is needed and yet they have little to say in what we are doing. We need to stop basing our education systems on funding and start basing it on learning and inspiring you people to become there very best.
This post was inspired by the following article:
Some great thoughts here on Online Course Delivery. This is looking at online courses beyond the corporate Learning Management System model.
Why have we moved so many courses online?
Mobile platforms provide flexibility to a growing global market of adults seeking to improve skill sets needed within a 21st century workforce. Cellular applications used to access online learning content, along with the deliver of MOOCS, offer students convenient approaches to learning online. Globalization combined with an emerging demand from a previously absent third world population within the post secondary market will continue to push for increased access to online learning. Improvements in communication technologies along with increased access in rural environments allow for new markets and platforms to fulfill an ever increasing demand to online education.
Online learning platforms include the following choices to training and higher ed institutions.
Canvas is a free, very sleek and is attractive to users. It is a very user friendly, providing simplicity. Social media can be integrated within the system, which is very appealing…
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