More on Digital Learning, Organizational Culture, and Obsolete Skills in that Culture

More on Digital Learning:

My 3rd article is up today on the MWAC Brex feature: [Brave Experiments [with] Digital Learning]. Part 3 is called What are the changes Digital Learning requires of your organizational culture?

And just for fun, there is a screenshot there of the Digital Learners who were online to check it out :)

Part of my article talks about the digital skill sets we may be expected to bring with us in today’s workplace, and about other expectations in the organizational culture – your workplace may be defining you (and limiting your capacity) more than you realize.

Organizational Culture:

After posting my essay last night, I continued my reading of Rayona Sharpnack’s book Trade-Up!: 5 Steps for Redesigning Your Leadership and Life from the Inside Out and this is what she says about organizational culture: As a quick lead-in, her book is about how our lives are shaped by our context, and as she uses the word thus;

“”context is the often unexamined mind-set or frame of reference we operate from that informs our behavior and evokes behavior from others. In other words, context is the belief system you carry inside. It’s your frame of reference, your paradigm, your view of reality or life from which your actions and behaviors spring.”

“Groups, organizations, and societies have contexts, too – the culture or set of norms and beliefs that provide the boundaries of acceptable behavior and predictable outcomes. Now, that may sound strange because organizations don’t actually think, but organizations do have atmospheres, environments, or cultures that enlarge or suppress what people are allowed to think, say, and do, whether they recognize it or not.”

So I offer you some of that ‘recognition’ over at MWAC in regard to digital learning :)

and Obsolete Skills in that Culture:

Then this morning I’m scrolling through my feed reader, and see this at Web Worker Daily, by Mike Gunderloy:

Obsolete Skills for Web Workers

Blogger-about-town Robert Scoble recently kicked off an online discussion (and now a wiki)
about obsolete skills: “things we used to know that no longer are very
useful to us.” Scoble’s list covers a variety of things overtaken by
technology: dialing a rotary phone, changing tracks on an eight-track
tape, using a slide rule, adjusting a carburetor, and so on.

This got me to thinking: what are the equivalent obsolete skills for
web workers? Of course detractors of telecommuting will be quick to put
“maintaining personal hygiene” and “changing out of pajamas” on the
list, but on a more serious note, here are a few of the skills from
earlier jobs that I haven’t needed since becoming a full-time web

  • Punching a timeclock (though I still track my own time)
  • Transferring phone calls by punching buttons on the phone
  • Wearing a tie every day
  • Arguing about where to eat lunch
  • Using a ten-key calculator
  • Drinking from a water cooler
  • Fighting for parking space every day

How about you? Has web work made any of your hard-earned skills completely obsolete?

Readers have added:

  • the art of filling out holiday forms
  • arguing with the IT people about why I want to use a Mac for my work :-)
  • cubicle culture
  • traffic jams in rush hour
  • office politics
  • having to report to a boss”
  • going through the chain of command for raise
  • going through “procedures” if your paycheck was short for the month
  • having your creativity cut off by upper management because they didn’t want to get involved in another long-term project before retirement
  • being “green” (from a corporate mindset).

Fascinating to me how people define skill and will argue the point of their obsolescence (read the comments there).

Could I bring the question back to our MWAC subject, Talking Story readers?

What are the digital skills you would define as the new basics in most organizational cultures?

Photo credit: Little Professor Hand-held Calculator on Flickr by draggin.

First time here or catching up, and thinking you missed something?

I first mentioned the MWAC 4-part series here on Talking Story in this posting:

How good (and gracious) a Receiver are you?


  1. says

    Rosa, how about replacing carbon paper with a decision on who to send the email message to. I don’t always copy my manager. They get copied on the ones that may be in escalation mode but not before.
    Or even better than carbon paper, to make a good decision to use “reply” or “reply all”? If someone is foolish enough to send a message to 20+ people and then make a mistake, reply directly to them to let them know. They will appreciate you more for this step than if you had done a “reply all” to let them and all the “world know”.

  2. says

    Good one Steve. As a single innovation, email has led to obsolescence both good and sad – like the near disappearance of the handwritten thank you card. It may also have the distinction of being the most ubiquitous digital advancement we have universally adopted.
    Funny that you bring up carbon paper, for I just stumbled upon an old box of it when cleaning our office supply cabinet. Kept it, but moved it to the box of art supplies we have when kids come to visit.

  3. says

    This is too funny – I used to have an owl calculator exactly like that!!!! I loved it! I would have never remembered except that I saw it here…sorry – reverting back to my childhood…
    I remember carbon paper too…and the resistance I felt when they introduced the mouse (“you mean I have to take my hands OFF the keyboard?”).
    I love what technology has done for us. Although it certainly hasn’t reduced paperwork. (Made more, possibly – but thankfully carbon paper isn’t the norm!)
    There are so many more opportunities and changes that will be coming in the next generation of full of nanotechnology.
    Being able to facilitate change to a resistent crowd take a great deal of skill. There will always be traditionalists who don’t want to let go.
    Executive Coaching

  4. Rosa Say says

    Your mouse story made me think about how things can go full circle too Innercents, for I was the same way, and now I have the opposite problem of letting go of the mouse when I know that turning on my keyboard shortcuts for things like GMail and Firefox would make me so much more productive.
    It was such a bear for me to learn Excel after using those /commands in Lotus for so long…