How do Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality pitch themselves against each other?

Virtual elements are fast catching up with the real-world elements… on a supplementary note, that is. They get us environments (and get us into environments) that we don’t have access to in real life.

These enhanced realities are predicted to be THE future of learning because, by their sheer technological and visual excellence, they offer us the key advantage of INSTANT RELEVANCE.

And, how amazingly they offer contrastingly different learning experiences!

Virtual reality, on the one hand, tricks our brain into shifting all our senses to an entirely different topography, shutting them completely off our current environment. Put on the Oculus Rift HMD and walk through ancient Rome exploring all the major monuments of the fallen empire.

Augmented reality, on the other, overlays virtual information over our current real environment itself. An orthopedic surgeon, for instance, gets to see CT scans superimposed over the patient’s fractured arm while performing a surgery.

Clark Quinn shares his insightful take on AR and VR through his post Realities: Why AR over VR.


Because, more often than not, things do go out of control… they don’t always stick to the course we’ve fore-planned.

It’s not to say we’ve been haphazard in our course of action. We’ve been thorough in our analysis of the context… we brainstorm all possible solutions… we make an informed decision on the most appropriate one based on our understanding and experience… and, we execute our conviction with impeccable precision. Still, things don’t turn out the way they should.

But, that’s understandable. Universal Law. Chaos Theory. Butterfly Effect. An infinitesimal (and therefore probably invisible) change in the initial conditions makes the system behave completely differently in later stages.

These changed conditions were probably not in our conscious control. But, they do become lessons by our conscious observation… which is a mark of an agile mind that quickly understands the sequence of actions and takes a corrective leap forward.

John Stepper puts it succinctly: It’s all part of the practice of accepting anything that happens in work and life. So, work on your craft as best you can and focus on offering your gift instead of focusing on the outcome.


After a ‘weekend-long picnic’ outing, Tom and Dan are back in the office.

While waiting for the lift, Tom declares, “Not much of work! Looks like a pretty easy week for me. Chill for you too?” TOM WANTING IN HIS INTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

Dan smiles, “Nope. Packed!” Getting to his seat, Dan rushes through his day’s work, as he can’t wait to log into the LMS to check the online course on Automotive Design. With all his design preps well underway for the new SUV model that’s set to be unveiled next year, he still has a long way to go.

While he has already referred to lots of expert talks on design thinking, he still needs help from his peers on certain challenges posed by the course whose robust design he credits to a great learning design.


Gaining ‘true’ knowledge and transitioning it into wisdom is quite a personal and elusive experience… elusive because it primarily works on two drives.

The first is our intrinsic motivation to learn and keep learning.

The second is HOW this motivation gets us fired up. Interestingly, there are no set rules here. It’s so personal and personalized to the way we PERCEIVE our learning.

Minus the above, we head nowhere.

Having said that, SEEKING knowledge is the easiest, ’cause, it’s ‘right there’. We just need to open the window and we’ll be deluged instantly.

But making SENSE of what we’ve got is where the real challenge lies. What do we do with all the disparate chunks of knowledge we’ve got? We see they’re all over the place and wonder how to carve a cohesive path out of it. Which is the reason why Harold Jarche calls this Personal Knowledge Mastery. Not an easy thing to come by.

Next comes the SHARE part of the knowledge we’ve gained… another challenging milestone we SHOULD cross to ‘make it’. Why do we need to share? What do we gain from the share? Whom do we share with? Will it ‘reach’ even if we share?

Harold shares his enlightening insights on these questions in this podcast.




The minute we accept this premise, we’ll weed ourselves from the temptation to just ‘present’ the content. We’ll ‘realize’ that learning doesn’t happen as easily as that.

It doesn’t, of course, mean we punish learners by making their mission unrealistically difficult to accomplish. Instead, we work on the ‘zone of proximal development’ (ZPD). Which means we present them a reasonable CHALLENGE through a compelling CONTEXT. This, in turn, MOTIVATES them to USE their brain in figuring out possible solutions to the challenges posed.

The purpose of the whole exercise is NOT for them to work towards successfully completing the test… but to RETAIN the knowledge earned through the learning experience… and translate it into better performance levels at the workplace.

Such thoughtfully crafted learning solutions make for MEANINGFUL and MEMORABLE learning experiences for our learners.

Check to watch Michael Allen elucidate on learning.



Movies whose plots are logically (and emotionally) tied-up together become instant blockbusters in our mind. Because we see the connect between the unfolding instances.

Subsequently, we appreciate directors for the sincere efforts they’ve taken to not make us feel we’ve wasted our precious time watching a frivolous work.

Learning Designers are the directors of courses they produce and learners, their audience.

Crafting logical, meaningful and immersive learning experiences becomes as much more critical because they are capable of IMPACTING lives.

The immersive part of the courses needs a special mention. It’s handled by meaningful interactivities that help learners take control of the content.

The word ‘meaningful’ gets an underline because that’s where the secret of the courses becoming instant blockbusters with learners lies.

Check out to appreciate the importance of interactivities.


Therefore, it needs to get triggered in the ‘inside’ first before it can show on the ‘outside’.

HOPE, used in psychological parlance, is a motivation that happens at a very deep emotional level.

People, whose hope is fanned vigorously, get compulsively optimistic about the future and subconsciously mend their perceptions/ways for better.

‘YES, WE CAN!’ is a classic example of HOPE that galvanized the electorate into a mass behavioral change.

But, is there a formula to achieving one of the corporate world’s most elusive dreams?

Turn to BJ Fogg and he advocates a rather intricately weaved Behavior Model that can bring about the desired behavioral change. Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger

More about BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model on:


The New Corporate Philosophy | Mindful Compassion


By design, we human beings THRIVE on our social instincts.

Because, we are energized by emotions that are far more layered and nuanced than those of our counterparts in the animal kingdom. The shelf-life of our bonding far outreaches that of our brethren. Our interpersonal ties are networked on such intricately impassioned scale that the logical realms blur, just like that. Because, as observed, emotions rule. Big time.

But, does this mean all of us think and act alike? The answer isn’t a mere NO… it’s the exact opposite that’s so stunningly true. Each one of us is so bizarrely unique that not one is even remotely like another. We are as varied from each other as our finger prints are.

It isn’t surprising then that sparks fly quite often, short-circuiting our relationships. Yet, there’s this constant ’emotional’ effort – orchestrated by organizations, for instance – that’s doing rounds in architecting common grounds where like-minded souls can synergize. And, produce some miracles.

So far, so good!!

But, what happens when people belonging to the same group get scissored by irreconcilable conflicts that threaten to insidiously corrode their team spirit? This can be serious given that such conflicting dispositions could span longer time-frames, by their very nature of being insidious. Where then does the solution lie? A tough one this, because, as noted earlier, it’s not without any reason that tug-of-wars sometimes strike a perennial note.

The way-out seems like a much tougher one… the act of cultivating a disciplined mind that’s willing to practice MINDFUL COMPASSION.

The Dalai Lama – as quoted by John Stepper in this article – articulates: “There are two kinds of compassion. One is the kind you get from being loved by your mother… But love is not enough.” “There’s a second kind of compassion you do not get from being loved by your parents. This kind you only get by mental training that allows you to even love your enemy. Our species is going to require a mental training that allows us to give both kinds of compassion.”

Extend this philosophy into the corporate atmosphere with the intention to reconcile marked differences that stalk healthy working relationships. The point to be taken into account is the indomitable fact that CONFLICTS ARE INEVITABLE. We need to respect the fact that all of us think in our own ways… all of us have our own take on any given situation. If we don’t factor in this truth, we would confront, negate, and impose our point of view. This approach would work on a hierarchical note maybe, maybe for sometime, but wouldn’t take us far.

The solution lies in practicing a mindful compassion that CONSCIOUSLY empathizes with the other person, on their take on the context… see where they’re coming from… seek that relevance – even if it’s just an iota – that can help the situation in the larger interest of the organization.

The mindful compassion also reminds us that we stand a much better chance of succeeding if we work harmoniously in groups/teams. To quote the pope, “None of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone. We don’t think about it often, but everything is connected, and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state.”

The mindful compassion promises us that rising above in our mind and looking at every colleague (irrespective of their designation and irrespective of their disposition) as an extremely purposeful and meaningful resource in the entire scheme of things is the sure way to transcend ourselves into truly ‘productive’ beings.


The intrigue behind LEARNING TO LEARN!


The concept behind learning is no secret. Neither is it a mystery. It gets initiated so spontaneously in childhood without any triggers whatsoever (what with the little learning minds constantly trespassing into the peaceful existence of the satiated adult minds with their relentlessly curious queries).

But, unfortunately, this state of mind is not to continue forever, because, there comes that most dreaded numbing u-turn for most of these souls… getting boxed in a rigid structure nailed by the dictum that says, “This, this, and this is what you’re supposed to learn”… and getting injected with an unhealthy ambition that says, “You HAVE to excel in your ‘studies’, so you could excel in life.”

This ‘intrusion’ suddenly changes the very trajectory, shifting the focus from the DESIRE TO LEARN to ACHIEVING THINGS IN LIFE. That, in turn, impacts the way information gets processed… it’s more to regurgitate during exams what’s been swallowed in a hurry, so one could get more scores… only to be forgotten once unloaded on the ‘paper’. Learning? Zilch!

Consequently, this has serious repercussions in later parts of life because the TRUE QUEST TO LEARN had, long back, got extinguished and what stares in the eye is nothingness, an upshot of that meaningless processing of information.

And, against this backdrop, the concept of ‘learning to LEARN’ resurrects with a renewed sense of purpose and urgency… and, with a strong reiteration of the message: WHAT YOU LEARN IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS HOW YOU LEARN… awesomely explained by Clark Quinn in this post, albeit in a slightly different context. But, the essence remains the same. “…graduates from those courses might be out of date before long, unless they’ve learned how to stay current. Unless they’ve learned meta-learning. That can be added in, and it may be implicit, but I’ll suggest that learning to learn is a more valuable long-term outcome than the immediate employability”.

L&D should shift gears from ‘training people’ to ‘being with people’!


Because that’s where great insights lie.

Mingling with people helps watch them up close, empathize with their challenges and understand their varying degrees of knowledge. These insights trigger a reflection on what can be done further to help them perform better.

Helping them perform better is THE key, but as obvious as it might seem, this happens to be the most elusive factor in the entire gamut of Learning & Development. Not surprising then that ‘only 8% of CEOS see biz impact of L&D, and only 4% see ROI’ as reported by Linkedin.

It’s fast transpiring that there’s a tremendous void in the very understanding of purpose L&D is supposed to serve. The stubborn silo outlook quarantined from reality and cocooned in its own sweet interpretation of learning pushes managers hard to put their entire focus on content. Not on people.


It convinces SMEs to assiduously collate the most relevant material and present it on a platter without caring much about whether the ‘takers’ of this spread would relish consuming it.

This negative practice has a cascading (side)effect also on learning tools employed to disseminate the planned knowledge. E-learning, for instance, slips into a state of suspended animation gasping for breath as it chokes in the clutches of some meaningless stuff put together under the disguise of ‘meaningful activities’.

IMHO, it’s time L&D engages the reverse gear and back out of this ‘training the people’ funda and instead drive towards ‘being with people’… and, experience the sheer excitement of pumping the learning adrenaline into their systems. After understanding their real performance needs, that is!

This comprehensive report from Deloitte University Press says, “The concept of a “career” is being shaken to its core, driving companies toward “always-on” learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily, and on their own terms.”

And, it adds, “At leading companies, the L&D teams help employees grow and thrive as they adopt the radical concept of a career described in The 100-Year Life.7 New learning models both challenge the idea of a static career and reflect the declining half-life of skills critical to the 21st-century organization.”

Clark Quinn is quite incisive here… “L&D could and should be a big contributor to organizational success. If they were adequately addressing the optimizing performance side of the story, and ensuring  the continual innovation part as well, their value should and would be high.”

Am extremely eager to reflect on the positive role L&D could play in bringing about a transformation in the learning landscape in the next post.

So long…