Learning Styles-Kahn Academy humanising education

Salman Khan talk at TED 2011

The future of learning from The Kahn Academy who provides free invaluable education to kids.

I know – 2011 seems a while ago to only now share a review of the Ted Talk however; being a fan of learning, I could NOT not on-share this wonderful academy and mission of Salman Khan.

Salman Khans TED talk shares the wonderful ‘accident’ by a hedge analyst recording math lessons for his cousins and how that has led to an amazing breakthrough in humanising education and accelerating classroom learning through video lessons.


“My cousins actually liked me more in video than in person”.  Not because of what you think but because his cousins could replay parts of the video, and retry whenever they needed to without feeling like they were inconveniencing him.

Teaching has become an inconvenience to teachers, parents and students…an interruption to learning in some cases itself.

The Khan academy provides video lessons for students so they can learn at their own pace, outside of school time so that time with the teacher is interactive, focused on the needs of the kids and playful.

khan-academy-missionTeachers can also leverage the Kahn Academys great lessons accompanied with excellent data categorisation, tagging for a profound and a nice analytics dashboard. I know my sister – a primary school teacher would relish the time to serve kids learning so aptly. Do you know of anyone in Australia using the Kahn Academy? I’d love to hear if you do?

The opportunity for play is multiplied for kids because time also moves from ‘getting through curriculum’ to how can we best use our time in the class together. The kids actually ‘play’ the videos over, and stop and interact with them at their control. That kind of empowerment is a wonderful trigger  opening up the mind. I also do love that it’s creates a learning community and invites other students to become mentors to their peers. Champion of champions program starting young!!

On the other hand I am a bit reticent towards the concept of learning outside of school in addition to school time because when do kids ever get time to play? Will this be used to ‘over saturate’ kids with information rather than learning through play and experience?

Probably not given the Kahn Academy puts value on “ student to valuable human time with teacher”. Plus they are developing ways to gamify the experience. No wonder Bill Gates is such a big advocate. Watch the Ted talk and let me know what you think? I’m undecided and going to keep my mind open.





Lean Agile Benefits Repository

A place for collating agile benefits, lean agile success evidence and real world data from agile transformations or lean improvements.

The Annual State Of Agile Development provided VersionOne

The Version One Team have been doing the State of Agile Survey for years, providing many an agile advocate with the much needed data to give insight to their leaders.

  • 2012 7th State of Agile Development
  • Innovative Business Leaders Understand What Truely Motivates People

    Dank Pink is author of a great people leadership book called ‘Drive. He has delved into the world of what actually does ‘drive’ people and provides great insights for innovative business leaders to leverage.

    In summary he shares stories from MIT scientific studies that were funded by the USA Federal Reserve Bank. The studies identified surprising results when looking at students solving a series of challenges. They scaled incentives based on performance just like a common bonus incentive scheme in companies.

    The results basically showed that; For mechanical skills the performance incentive scheme worked as expected; that is, greater performance then greater the reward. For “Rudimentary Cognitive Skills” the results showed that the “larger the reward, the poorer the performance”

    The results were quite a surprise so they replicated the experiment in Rural India. The three tiered incentive scaling was low performance – 2 weeks salary, medium performance – 2 months salary, high performance – 2 months salary. Sounds like an awesome incentive doesn’t it!! AGAIN the results were contrary to expectations that is;

  • For people offered the medium reward did no better than those offered the small reward
  • For people offered the high reward they actually were worse off than the those offered the medium reward”

    So despite all good intentions to prove their original hypothesis correct – that there is a direct correlation between incentive and performance – the studies time and time again show that for any tasks more complex than a simple “If then, you get that” scenario – performance incentives don’t work!

    The other money paradox they found is that “if you pay people enough so they aren’t thinking about the money then they are thinking about the work”. How cool would that be!

    In conclusion what they discovered were three factors that contribute to better performance and personal satisfaction;

        ~ Autonomy – “the desire to be self directed”
        ~ Mastery – “the urge to get better at stuff…because it’s satisfying
        ~ Purpose – “drives inherent desires to contribute to a greater drive”

    As a business leader you can innovate your world of work by creating highly engaged people simply by helping them tap into these three key motivators. A workshop exercise we do with new teams and mature teams at least annually is called Strengths, Passions and Motivations. It’s a fun bonding exercise that helps the leader get to know the teams drivers, and the team to relate to each other on a human level rather than just a task level.

    For some more information on leading greater engagement at work I recommend the below;

    The Job Crafting Exercise™ helps you make your job more engaging and fulfilling. The idea is to view your job in a new way — as a flexible set of building blocks rather than a fixed list of duties. Using this perspective, you create a visual plan for redesigning your job to better suit your values, strengths, and passions.
    ~ http://www.centerforpos.org/2011/07/the-story-of-the-job-crafting-exercise/

    The Surprising Truth about what motivates us Dan Pink Video

    ~ 10 minute animated version of Dan Pinks Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
    ~ 50 minute video of Dan Pink – Drive: The surprising truth about motivates Us

    Gallups Strengthfinder 2.0
    Check this great animated snap shot of which highlights great initiatives Atlassian, Australia is doing.

  • Inspiring Entrepreneur – Richard Turere: My invention that made peace with lions

    Richard Turere’s TED talk: My invention that made peace with lions is a TED talk that highlights the beauty of invention and the possibility that there may always be a solution – you just have to not give up after the first failure. I love a new invention that gracefully solves an old painful problem.


    This short (under eight minutes) video of Richards wonderful light invention exemplifies a number of agile and leave principles. I love his low-fi design of the solution, his entrepreneurial spirit to not give up even though a number of failures were literally fatal for his stock.


    And of course to never stop dreaming and improving because possibilities can be turned into probabilities.


    The video is available from TED talks and Richard’s profile is also available at http://www.ted.com/speakers/richard_turere.html


    Coaching Agile Teams – Lyssa Adkins Review and key lessons

    Coaching Agile Teams Book CoverLyssa Adkins is a great command & control confessionaholic! Her experience on both sides of the delivery experience and the transformation she went through between the two is what sets her practical teachings apart from a number of coaches who have only ever experienced agile or green fields delivery. That experience and tuition she provides for coaches to ‘navigate their teams’ along the journey is a good reframe for any agilist thinking of becoming a coach.

    I’ll endeavor to note some of the lessons and where I’ve tested out the recommendations as part of sharing my learnings.


    The book covers two very important themes – the health of the coach and the health of the team – as stories and lessons are told. The fact that she looks at the health of the coach as a key stigma for the team is what makes this book a bit different from the others. In fact in many subjects the two are interdependent in much the same way organic and environment systems are co-dependent on each other. Even though coaching styles do differ I notice that the majority of coaches ‘forget’ to put their health first, and burn energy rather than be a source of energy.


    A good example of the parrallels is the lessons Lyssa Adkins provides on Shu Ha Ri;

    • Shu: Follow the rule.
    • Ha: Break the rule.
    • Ri: Be the rule.


    Coaches need to know the rules, when to break them and a coach needs to teach the team the same wisdom so that they aren’t blindly going where the blind have gone before, or as Lyssa Adkins says performs “empty rituals”.

    " To surpass one’s master, one must first master the rules—fully. Then break
    the rules safely. Then create new rules that allow a deeper expression of the
    principles behind the rules. The progression rarely follows this three-step
    straight path, however. As shown in Figure 4.1, it’s not a linear progression."

    Translation = Often great practitioners start coaching with a zealot approach because they are great achievers, they know miracles are possible and forget to listen and learn from the environment and people around them 😉 Often it’s not just a matter of grandstanding. Humility is such an important part of authentic coaching, having the courage to show humility is a good step towards earning respect as a people leader.

    Lyssa talks about the key styles of coaching – teaching, coaching, advising – modelling & reaching. She also mentions that those styles are essentially the stages of coaching a team. Interesting terms to use, I quite like her definitions of ‘modelling’ rather than just saying coaches ‘facilitate’. The language she uses to describe a coaches technique or behaviour adds an empathetic layer of accountability to the people we serve.

    If you are a scrum master, tech lead, agile manager or an aspiring coach this books is a must read to create a more robust suite of coaching tools.

    Agile Links Repository


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    Agile Videos

    Great Videos that help to explore the Agile Paradigms, knowledge and practices.


    • Is Scrum Scalable? –  Mike Cohn is interviewed by OnSoftware on the possibility of scaling scrum across 100 developers (11min)
    • Scrum Organisation – Ken Schwaber provides an introduction, and overview of the purpose of the scrum.or


    Extreme Programming

    Introduction to Extreme Programming Video – Richard Buckland from UNSW

    Lecture 24!  Richard Buckland is a very dynamic lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Australia. A favourite of many computer science lecturers; however, don’t let the fact this is for a geek degree put you off watching the video. It’s always great to watch a dynamic speaker and the content follows through the concept of unit testing useing the ‘C’ program language as the vehicle for the message.

    For non-software agilist the lesson to take out of this video is the concept of testing ones theory before building the experiment!