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e-Notes from Elliott Masie

Our team has been tracking some extraordinary shifts, innovations and research findings related to learning and the workplace in our changing times. Here is a summary:

Sweat Pants and Assessment: Several doctoral students at the University of Milan did a research study on the impact of employees wearing sweatpants while working from home in the Pandemic. About 57% of employees who were wearing sweatpants or other “at home” informal clothing had higher scores on content assessments. This figure dropped significantly to 32% when the employees were assessed with live video on them, even when their sweatpants were not visible externally. The group is now correlating the sweatpants impact with Myers Briggs ratings.

Jeopardy Questions as Format Alternative for Design: An interesting design approach was used by Instructional Teams in Arizona, as they experimented with shaking up the model of module creation. Using the popular television show Jeopardy, the learning activities reversed the tradition of asking a question to solicit an answer from students. Instead, they presented boxes on a scoreboard with the answers to key concept areas. In a gamification model, the workers then had to guess at a question. For example, the answer phrases “EXCEL PIVOT TABLE” or “CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK” would be given to the learner to state the probable question that these answers fit.

Eye Winks for Personal “Later” Curation: Gesture recognition is being leveraged by major tech companies. Google is rolling out attendee gesture recognition and actions for people on video calls. Gestures including clapping or hand raising will be recognized by AI. Watch for new apps that will use eye winks to help curate content for “later” use. For example, I could read an email with an article that is of interest. If I wink my left eye twice, it will be curated into a “read later” folder. But, if I wink my right eye twice, it will be forwarded to an associate. Ultimately, we may have dozens of gesture curation options to organically curate new content.

Legal Marijuana and our Workforce: New York State just legalized recreational marijuana use, similar to actions taken in other U.S. regions. Employers will need to sort out the rules governing employee use of “weed” while at or before coming to work. It seems that Microsoft’s Spellchecker in Word is one of the most accurate gauges of shifts in the user’s focus. Each of us has a number of key words (mine is "environment") that we misspell when feeling more lightheaded.

Pandemic Double Jobs: The unspoken strange phenomena that my Human Resource Director friends have shared is “Double Jobs in the Pandemic”. A few employees working from home decided that they could actually take on a second full time job from another company. In the Sales, Graphic Design and Procurement areas, there were scattered reports of employees that secretly started a simultaneous second job from a non-competitor organization. They managed their time to attend the virtual meetings and often had two different laptops, side by side, to do their double sided employment. While most employers were shocked and took corrective action, a few found it to be intriguing when the output of the double jobbers was higher than that of the average single jobber. Hmmm

Ahh, my 2021 April Fools Note: As I typed this note, in my sweatpants, without any recreational drugs, it brought a smile for me to continue my 30 year tradition of a newsletter of "not yet true" stories on the first of April. For my international friends, April 1st is a day when we receive “stretching notes” - (aka, playing jokes on each other).

Strangely, all of the above items COULD and MIGHT actually be happening.

Would love to have a few notes back from our e-Notes & Learning TRENDS readers. Send them to

Elliott Masie - April 1, 2001

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