Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 8)

Implementing a poor blog design


You’re focusing 100% on content and ignoring valuable design elements of your blog that can act as powerful boosters of traffic and leads for your business.


  Yes, as an inbound marketer, your blog content has to be amazing. However, a bad blog design can hamper even the best content. Think about it this way: would you buy an expensive sports car and drive around with four flat tires? You’d still be able to go fast, but not nearly as fast as you could be going. A clear, leadfocused blog design will help turbo-charge the results of your inbound marketing content.


A blog’s design could be one of an infinite number of choices. However, great business blog designs share common traits of success.

1 - A CTA In Every Post :

  In a chapter about blog design, it would be simple for us to start out with some “fluffy” design advice. But that wouldn’t help your company’s bottom line, would it? Even if you stopped reading this post after this tip, you’d still leave with its most important takeaway: You MUST put a call-to-action in each of your blog posts. Yes, you should test the design and placement of your callsto- action, but first and foremost, you need to use them in your posts. This is one of the most powerful levers for transforming your
blog into a well-designed lead generation machine.

2 - Subscription CTA :

  Every visitor to your blog isn’t going to convert into a lead instantly. Some visitors will need to learn about your business over time. A way to help expedite this process is to get more visitors to subscribe to your blog via email or RSS. To do this, you need to have a clear call-to-action that encourages people to subscribe via either method.

3 - Clear connection to the website :

  Your blog isn’t an island; it’s a key component of a successful website. Your blog design must make it clear and simple for a blog reader to get to key parts of your core website. It’s great if you have awesome content, but it needs to be connected to your products or services to help move relevant visitors further along in the buying cycle. Have a clear blog navigation that connects to your website, and consider using some sidebar real estate to direct visitors to key website pages.

4 - Social media sharing buttons :

  Too much of a good thing can be bad. Yes, you want people to share your blog posts, and having social sharing buttons on your blog is helpful. However, giving people too many sharing options is distracting. It actually causes users to become overwhelmed and, subsequently, take no action. So limit the sharing buttons on your blog to only those networks that send traffic and leads to your business. If you don’t get any traffic from StumbleUpon, then why clutter your blog with its button?

5 - Post Previews :

  Marketers must think like publishers. It’s easy to think of your blog as just a blog. However, you should think of it as a digital publication. Your blog is just like a trade magazine for your industry. One trait of magazines that people love is the table of contents that provide a preview for all of
the articles in that issue. Instead of displaying your entire, most recent article on your blog’s homepage, display only an excerpt and an image from several of your most recent posts. This will allow visitors to scan some of your blog’s content and give them a choice of what to read first.

6 - Simple sorting of content :

  Depending on how prolific of a writer you are and how long your business has been blogging, your blog design needs to make it easier for visitors to find older and relevant content. As a marketer,
you have several design elements to help achieve this, including blog search, tagging and recommendation widgets. As with social media sharing buttons, you don’t need to use all of these. Organize some user testing sessions to understand what people unfamiliar with your blog find to be the best methods for discovering past content.

7 - Prominent headline formatting :

  In your blog design, make sure that your headline is formatted correctly. This means it needs to be the star of the show when it comes to the text on a page. Make sure it is significantly larger in font size than the body or subhead text on the page. This may seem like a small detail, but making your headers pop makes a huge difference!

8 - Prominent post image display :

  A great blog is visual. You shouldn’t knock readers over with blocks and blocks of text as soon as they arrive. Look at your blog design. How are you using images to draw in readers? There are many ways to showcase images from posts in the design of your blog. It can be as simple as an image next to an intro paragraph on your blog’s homepage or something far more customized. The important thing to remember is to not make assumptions on what your readers want. Instead, conduct user tests to collect feedback and determine the best option for your audience.

9 - Fast Page load times :

  Online readers are impatient. When they are looking for information, they want it NOW . If your blog post
takes too long to load, then your visitor will bounce and go elsewhere. In order to prevent this issue, you need to test your blog’s load time. This free tool from Pindom will tell you how long it takes for your
blog to load. Ideally, the load time for your blog will be under two seconds.

10 -A clean sidebar :

A blog’s sidebar can easily become the junkyard of the page. It’s all too easy to keep cluttering a sidebar until it has a seemingly endless list of useless widgets. Look at the sidebar of your blog. Look at each widget or design aspect of that sidebar. Does it really serve a purpose? Is that individual element encouraging the
behavior you want your readers to take? If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” then delete it from your sidebar. Declutter that blog sidebar and get users to take the actions you want.

11 - Social media Follow buttons :

  Your blog is a great place to promote your business’ presence in social media, and it’s often the first place people look to find it. Consider adding buttons with links to your corporate Twitter account, Facebook fan page, LinkedIn company page and Google+ business page to encourage people to connect with you on social media.

12 - A Search Box :

  Encourage readers to spend additional time on your blog by enabling them to easily search for other blog content. This can easily be accomplished by adding a search box to theheader or sidebar of your blog.

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 7)

Neglecting to optimize for search


  You’re not actively doing anything to take advantage of your blog’s power to help you get found in search engines.


  As we hinted in Marketing Mistake 1 (Not Integrating Your Blog With Your Main Website), one of the greatest benefits of business blogging relates to search engine optimization. If you’re not consciously acting on the various ways to optimize your blog for search engines, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity your blog can offer to increase your keyword rankings and grow your organic search traffic.


  The number of terms that a website can rank for is directly related to the size of the site. More often than not, the difference between a 50-page website and a 500+ page site is a blog. Because of this, blogging is an absolutely essential practice for SEO and traffic-building. More indexed pages mean more opportunities for keywords, so developan SEO strategy for your blog and implement that strategy for every piece of content you create and publish on your blog.

Step 1: identify your keywords :

  Remember back in Mistake #4 (Posting Off-Topic Content) when we suggested brainstorming keywords to help determine a topic for your blog? This same practice is an important step in developing your blog’s SEO strategy. Keep in mind that the more general a keyword is, the more difficult it will be to rank for (e.g. the head term “blogging” would be more difficult to rank for than the longtail keywords “how to use a blog”). Use Google’s free Keyword Tool, which offers insight into the competitiveness of a specific keyword, to help you choose realistic keywords related to your blog’s topic.

Step 2: optimize blog content with those keywords :

The most important places to include keywords on any page of your site are in the page title, the URL, and the H1 (Header) tag (or in your blog’s case, this usually means your blog title). This means that if you’re trying to rank for the keywords “how to use a blog,” you need to make sure to use that phrase in that order in all three places. You also need to make sure that this phrase appears up front. A common mistake is for a company to put its name before its keywords in page titles (e.g. HubSpot | How to Use a Blog). Instead, you should write: How to Use a Blog | HubSpot.

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 6)

Failing to encourage engagement

  Your blog is a one-way platform for your ideas, offering no way for your readers to engage in conversations, interact, and provide feedback or insightful commentary.

  Just as you tend to hate the guy at a cocktail party who talks about only himself without letting you get a word in, no one likes a blog that suffocates conversation and engagement. Blogging is social, and treating your blog like a megaphone instead of a platform for two-way communication will suck the life out of it.

  Remember that your blog’s readers are critical to the success of your blog, and treat them as such. By
publishing a blog, you’re also creating a community of potential customers, and these prospects like to be heard. Take the following steps to make sure your fostering interaction on your blog:

1 - Keep comments open : 

  Don’t close the comments on your blog. They’re essential to facilitating conversation aboutyour blog content. Prospectslike to be heard.

2 - Monitor & reply to comments :

  Keep track of the conversation that takes place on your blog by monitoring comments. Replying
when appropriate will show your readers you’re invested in the community you’ve created and care about what they have to contribute.

3 - Don’t moderate comments :

  Moderating comments will only deter people from commenting in the first place.
Don’t fear negative comments (people are nicer than you think), and embrace feedback as constructive criticism. If you want to take extra precautions, publish a page that outlines your blog’s comment policy and encourage people to comment intelligently and respectfully.

4 - Ask questions :

  Directly promote interaction by posing questions within your blog content. Ask readers how they feel about the topic, if they have any additional insight or advice, or can point readers to other resources they’ve come across related to the topic.

5 - Listen to feedback :

  Have you noticed that your readers aren’t responding well to a particular topic or type of content? Show them you’re listening by improving and modifying your blog’s content based on their feedback.

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 5)

Offering no content

  Your blog is a monotonous stream of the same type of content, offering no variety and boring your readers to death.


  While people crave consistency in focus on blogs, you also need to keep them interested through the range of information you present. The most engaging blogs offer content to their readers in many ways. People like to consume information differently, and by not offering variety, you’re limiting the reach of your content only to people who like consuming information in one specific way. Plus, a onetrack blog can get really boring.


  Variety is the spice of life, so start spicing up your blog by introducing content variety. Think outside the box, and brainstorm a style bank of different types of content you can create for your blog. The following page provides a solid list of ideas to get you started.

Types of blog content :

  1. Text-based copy.
  2. Charts or graphs.
  3. Audio content (podcast content, interview recordings, etc.).
  4. Cartoons.
  5. Infographics.
  6. Guest blog articles (from other industry bloggers or experts).
  7. Curated lists.
  8. Industry-related book reviews.
  9. Q&As.
  10. Videos (interviews, screencasts, instructional how-to’s,.
  11. entertaining/funny videos, music videos, news-style videos,etc.)

I’m sure you can come up with even more!

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 4)

Publishing off-topic content

  Your blog is unorganized, all over the place, and lacks a concrete, unified theme.

  Without a clearly defined purpose and focus, your blog will suffer. If you’re expecting to generate a community of subscribers, readers, and fans that you’re hoping to someday nurture into paying customers, you need to give them a reason to keep coming back. There’s no doubt about it: people like guarantees. When people visit HubSpot’s Internet Inbound Marketing Blog, for example, they come to find resources about inbound marketing because that’s what the focus of the blog is. Over time, that’s what they’ve come to expect.

  It’s about time you decided on a focus/topic for your blog. Spend some time figuring out what that is, and keep that focus in mind every time you create blog content.

Tips for defining your blog’s focus :

  1. Think about the goals of your blog. What are you trying to accomplish by publishing a blog?
  2. Generate a list of keywords that describe your industry, products, or services, and see if that helps you come up with a focal point. 
  3. Is there a specific industry-related topic on which you or your business can share expertise or knowledge? 
  4. What does your audience want? Ultimately, you’re trying to attract a certain audience for your blog. Think about the persona(s) of your ideal customers and consider what information they might be looking for that might lead them to your blog, and ultimately, your product/ service offering.

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 3)

PUBLISHING infrequently / inconsistently

Examples of thought leadership content
  • Industry/market data.
  • Industry best practices.
  • Reports based on industry research.
  • Content that educates.
  • Thought-provoking content.
  • Industry (not product-focused) case studies.
  • Industry-related news topics and takeaways.

  You have a blog, but you don’t publish posts on a regular basis, and when you do post, 
you’re not publishing enough articles to make your blog effective.
  • Businesses that blog at least 20X per month generate over 5X more traffic than those that blog fewer than 4 times per month.
  • Businesses that blog at least 20X per month generate nearly 4X more leads than those that don’t blog.

  Research shows that the companies benefiting most from business blogging are the ones that blog frequently and consistently. Adopting a laid-back approach to business blogging won’t move the needle; creating a blog that actually generates business success takes time, effort, and dedication. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing 2011 report, 57% of companies that publish a business blog have acquired a customer from a blog-generated lead.

  In addition, there is a direct correlation between the frequency of blogging and traffic and leads. Note the data on the previous page from HubSpot’s research in its Lead Generation Lessons From 4,000 Businesses report, which indicates that the more often a company blogs, the better that company is able to generate traffic and leads. Ignoring your blog rather than keeping it updated with fresh content means you are leaving prospective customers on the table.


  Make a commitment to the upkeep of your blog. The most common frequency we observed for business blogging is weekly, so start by striving for at least one blog post per week and work your way up. If time or bandwidth is a major concern or deterrent for you, consider other ways to source content for your blog. 
  We’ll address this more in Marketing Mistake 10 (Not Sourcing Content), but keep in mind there is no rule stating that only one person can contribute content to any given blog. Encouraging other employees in your company to contribute content is a great way to divide the responsibility and workload of content creation as well as elicit new and varying perspectives and insight, which can add depth to your blog.


 Consider sitting down and creating an editorial calendar to keep you on track for regular publishing. Decide how many times per month you’d like to publish, then create a dedicated Google Calendar or an Excel document and mark off the actual days you will commit to publishing. Go one step further by planning the
topics you will write about on those specific days, always keeping in mind your audience and considering topics that might line up with timely elements like upcoming industry events.
  Once you’ve worked your way into a regular blogging routine, consider increasing your blogging frequency.

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 2)


  Google has programming interfaces to support an automatic transfer of your blog, but they have their quirks. One does not let you migrate comments (an important part of any blog) and the other doesn’t let you move more than a few dozen articles – period. There areways to keep your search rankings when you switch, but you will probably need the help ofprogrammers to transfer your data and keep any SEO.

  The content you publish on your blog is too heavily focused on you – your products, services, achievements, and why you’re awesome – and it’s seriously lacking thought leadership.

  Publishing product or company-focused content is okay only if you limit it to a company news and/or product blog. For the purposes of this ebook, we’re focusing on the type of business blogging that allows you to exhibit thought leadership and expertise. In this type of blogging, you’ll get stuck if you feature too much productfocused or company-centric content.
  If people are visiting your blog expecting to find educational content and all they find is you talking about how great your products and services are, you’re not going to accomplish the same goals or attract as many readers as you would if you published educational industry content.

  Change the way you think about content for your blog. Instead of creating product-focused content that is unlikely to get shared, consider spending more time on educational, data-driven, or especially thought-provoking content relative to your industry. This type of content has a much better chance of attracting readers -- and spreading.

  By creating these types of content, you’ll start establishing your blog as a valuable resource for your industry. Because people are more likely to share content that is educational in nature, your content will have the capacity to reach a larger audience of potential customers.
  As a result, people will start to associate your business with industry expertise, translating to more credibility and trust in the products/services you have to offer.

Read more …

Blogging : 15 business blogging mistakes ( Part 1)

   Not integrating your blog with your website

  Your blog is published on its own domain, separate from your company’s main website. Even worse: Your blog is published on a free blogging platform’s domain such as,, or Eeek!


  Not integrating your business blog with your company’s main website can be damaging for
several reasons :


  One of the biggest benefits of business blogging is its impact on search engine optimization. Because each new blog article you publish creates a new web page that can be indexed in search engines to help you get found online, you really want your business blog to be associated with your main website. That way, any SEO juice you generate from your blog will automatically benefit your corporate website as well. Hosting your blog on a free platform’s URL like http://companyblog.wordpress. com will only guarantee that the SEO credit you’ve built gets applied to the blogging platform, not your own website.


  There are a few negatives associated with hosting your blog separate from your main website that affect
your company’s branding. First, even if you link to the blog from your website’s main navigation, your
site visitors will get sent to a completely different website, which may not espouse design and branding
elements consistent with your main website and may result in confusion. Furthermore, sending site
visitors to a blog on a free platform can result in the perception of your brand as unprofessional or unreliable, undermining your credibility as a business.


  You might be hosting your blog on a separate URL only after you’ve purchased a unique  domain (e.g. and linked to it from the main navigation of your company website. While this is a better practice, you’re still sending site visitors away from your main website. This is counterintuitive, as usually the goal is to attract visitors to your main website by using your blog as bait. Ultimately, you want all of the engagement to happen on your main website, and you want your blog visitors to associate your blog with your brand name.


         1 - SUB-DOMAIN
  Our recommendation of the ideal home for your blog is on a sub-domain of your main website (e.g.

  Another good alternative is to put your blog in a folder of your main website (e.g. http:// Both of these options will allow your corporate website to benefit from the
search engine optimization advantages your blog will generate.

        3 - SEPARATE DOMAIN  
  Hosting your blog on a completely separate domain such as is a third option, and it’s an okay alternative. However, if you decide to go this route, bear in mind that you’ll ultimately be embarking on two separate link building campaigns – one to boost the SEO of your main website and one to boost the SEO of your blog.

  One benefit of this option is that your blog is completely separate from your main website, which may help it seem less promotional since it’s not directly connected to your product. (Although arguably, one of the benefits of keeping your blog and website together is that the thought leadership on your blog increases the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand and its products.) While it’s a limited benefit, hosting your blog on a separate domain can also offer a way to pass some link-building SEO juice from your blog to your main website. The only difference between the two is that a sub-domain will allow you to set up your blog as slightly independent from the main website (though still contributing SEO advantages), which gives you some additional flexibility regarding the blog’s layout and design.


   If you’ve been hosting your blog on free URLs like Blogger or Typepad, you are going to have difficulty switching it over to a blog that you host and keeping the search engine traffic and page rank your blog has achieved. If your blog is on, Google does not let you do a 301 redirect from your old Blogger site to anywhere else. (A 301 permanent redirect is how you set up a clean forwarding address from your old site to the new one.) That means that Google does not let you redirect the SEO value to a new site.

Read more …

Blogging for Informal Learning: Analyzing Bloggers’ Perceptions Using Learning Perspective (Part 2)

Processes of Adult Informal Learning

  Adult informal learning, either self-directed or incidental, follows different processes with different outcomes. No single theory of learning comprehensibly explains these various learning processes. Many learning theories have contributed to this discussion and offered unique and valuable perspectives on the process of adult learning (Mitchell & Livingstone, 2002). For example, adult learning not only includes the acquisition and accumulation of information, but also embraces “making sense of our lives, transforming not just what we learn but the way we learn, and it is absorbing, imagining, intuiting, and learning informally with others” (Merriam, 2001, p. 96). It also engenders certain identities and belongingness to adult learners (Merriam, Courtenay, & Baumgartner, 2003) while it brings total changes to the agency and the related objects (Law, 1992).

  To address the adult informal learning processes and outcomes through blogging, this study depends on Fenwick and Tennant’s (2004) categorization of adult learning, which, according to them, can be viewed from four different perspectives: (a) an acquisition process, (b) a reflection process, (c) a practice-based community process, and (d) an embodied co-emergent process.

  First, “learning as acquisition” understands knowledge as a substantive skill or competency, concept, or new language that a learner can acquire. Fenwick and Tennant illustrate that the acquisition is related to “how mental information processing occurs and how cognitive structures develop and change” (Fenwick & Tennant, 2004, p. 57). Not only knowledge contents but also strategies or skills to develop new knowledge can be acquired.

  Second, learning involves a reflection process. “Learning as reflection” interprets learning as a meaning-making process. This kind of learning often brings transformative outcomes that can lead learners to challenge and transform their assumptions and values (Mezirow, 1991; Schugurensky, 2000). As learners interpret what they sense, depending on the aspects of personal interests or familiarity, they transform the existing knowledge or even construct new and/or unique ones. This means that, for example, each blogger will most likely construct a very different understanding of what he or she reads on the same blogging site. Although all adults are exposed to a myriad of experiences, not everyone learns the same from them. Learning happens “only when there is reflective thought” (Fenwick & Tennant, 2004, p. 60).

  Third, learning can also be viewed as a social activity embedded in authentic social relations. The concept of
community of practice (in abbreviation, CoP) explains that any group of individuals collaborates to pursue shared goals and works. Lave and Wenger (1991) argue that individuals learn as they participate by interacting with the community (with its history, assumptions and cultural values, rules and patterns of relationship), the tools at hand (including objects, technology, languages and images), and the moment's activity. They learn and form certain identity after this process.

  The fourth perspective views adult learning as a co-emergent process. This perspective criticizes the view of learning as participation in a community of practice because it still separates individuals from group, humans from environment, subject from object (Fenwick & Tennant, 2004). The co-emergent process is, in contrast, a holistic perspective on learning processes. That is, it is not limited to the state that individuals and communities learn something from something somewhere. Rather, the learning systems and human beings co-adapt, organize and transform interactions to create new forms of knowledge and the learning systems. Overall, learning is a highly complex process in which the individual’s cognitive and social dimensions of learning are co-emergently achieved through interactions with the knowledge system, and the outcome is the fundamental change for the both, the learning systems and human beings.

  The meaning of this classification of adult learning in terms of its process can be connected to the issue that this study focuses on - adult informal learning. First, acquisition of knowledge is necessary for learners at all age levels; but its significance cannot be too overemphasized for adults in these days when lifelong learning such as continuous job-related training has become the norm. Second, learning through meaning-making or reflection is more meaningful for adults in that it reconstructs the meaning of existing experiences, which adults are assumed to accumulate more than children or adolescents throughout the years of their lives. Third, as adults are involved with various communities, it is important for them to gain appropriate identities related to these communities. Learning through community-based processes is therefore important to adults whose relationships and interactions within a community play important roles for their careers and personal lives.

  Lastly, considered a part of complex learning systems, adults develop through continuous interaction with people and objects around them, which in turn affect and advance the whole systems.
Thus, adult informal learning often takes place in adults’ everyday lives and is quite valuable. In this study, various scholarly definitions and classifications regarding adult informal learning are used to conceptualize the meaning of blogging as adult informal learning. Schugurensky (2000)’s categorization of informal learning helps to formulate an argument that blogging can facilitate either self-directed learning, incidental learning, or socialization depending on whether there is intention or awareness. By using Fenwick and Tennant (2004)’s categorization, blogging activities are to be understood as learning activities that require uniquely different processes to yield various outcomes of learning such as acquisition of knowledge, reflection of experience, formation of identity by participation, and coemergent change of both learners and the system.

Read more …

Blogging for Informal Learning: Analyzing Bloggers’ Perceptions Using Learning Perspective (Part 1)

  This study intends to explore blogs as a meaningful environment for informal adult learning. A blog, an individually maintained web page, has been a social phenomenon for the last decade (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). As the latest development in web-based technology, the functions of blogs vary. They can be online personal journals (Wang & Hsua 2008), Web-based media facilitating communication and interaction with other bloggers (Godwin-Jones, 2003), or interactive knowledge-exchange tools (Herring et al., 2005). Blogs also can capitalize on the strength of authentic writing, the power of the writing process, and the engagement of collaborative writing (Boling, Castek, Zawilinski, Barton, & Nierlich, 2008). Today, more people are reading and keeping blogs. For example, as of March 2008, 184 million worldwide users have started a blog while 26.4 millions uses in US; 346 millions worldwide users read blogs while 60.3 millions in US (Winn, 2008). Since it does not require any specific programming skills such as writing HTML codes, this technology-enabled online space now seems to have gained world-wide popularity by making it easier to search and collect documents, share thoughts in an open public space, and contribute to

  Blogs have been studied on various aspects in different disciplines, for example, blogging for marketing in business sectors (Singh & Singh, 2008; Wright & Crossland, 2006) and blogging for expressing and sharing their political voices with explicit intention to influence others in political sector (Coleman & Wright, 2008; Francoli & Ward, 2008; Wright, 2008).

  The question now is: Can this new form of people’s expression be used effectively for education and learning? We argue in the remainder of this paper that the chances are high. First, several studies indicate that the features of blogsare used for educational purposes, particularly for various kinds of classroom instruction (Boling, et al., 2008; Glass& Spiegelman, 2008; Haramiak, Boulton, & Irwin, 2009; Kajder & Bull, 2004; Martindale & Wiley, 2005; Quible, 2005; Ray, 2006; Wassell & Crouch, 2008). Researchers argue that blogging is an effective instructionaltool inwhich instructors and students can communicate with each other to discuss issues raised in class. For example, college faculty members can use blogs as teaching and learning aids in a higher-education context (Glass & Spiegelman, 2008; Martindale & Wiley, 2005; Quible, 2005); and students can demonstrate their projects on blogs (Overby, 2009; Ray, 2006). K-12 teachers can use blogs to help their students reflect on their own thoughts (Kajder & Bull, 2004) while pre-service teachers or student teachers can utilize blogs for their own professional development (Haramiak, Boulton, & Irwin, 2009; Wassell & Crouch, 2008).

 While the studies addressed above have argued the usefulness of using blogs for educational purposes in which teachers actively lead for effective learning, their self-directed use by bloggers and its embedded meaning for effective learning remains an area of exploration. Also, less research has been conducted to explore blogs as a newly emerging space where learners can benefit informally.

  This study, therefore, aims to explore the nature of adults’ blogging and its effectiveness in terms of their everyday learning. It investigates the reasons for adult bloggers’ use of blog, their conception of learning, and the interpretations of the linkage between their blogging and learning. Therefore, the research questions were:
  • Which experiences do the adult bloggers perceive conducive to learning?
  • What are the potential uses of blogs for learning in relation to the perspectives of adult learning processes?
  • What are the characteristics of adult informal learning through blogging compared to the formal education in
  • school?

Theoretical Framework

  Characteristics of Adult Informal Learning To respond to the accelerated changes in the world and the increasing and diversified demands of society, lifelong learning has been considered not something extra but something required and essential. Since adult learning has become a major part of lifelong learning discussions in recent decades (OECD, 1996), contemporary adults have been encouraged to find learning opportunities in diverse places including home, educational institutions, workplace, community, and even cyberspace (Kwon, 2001).

  Unlike children or adolescents who generally learn in formal educational settings such as schools, adults learn in more diverse and flexible settings and may learn significantly more in incidental and spontaneous learning situations than in educational settings. Adults also learn without any direct reliance on teacher or instructors, sometimes learning through serendipity. These cases correspond to informal learning (Marsick & Watkins, 2001). In a broader sense, informal learning includes everyday experiences from which we learn something (Merriam & Cafarrella, 1999).

  Informal learning has great flexibility allowing people to gain knowledge without instructors and externally imposed curricular criteria (Livingstone, 2001). With less restriction, it can be more learner-centered and learners can decide for themselves important things they want to learn.

  This flexibility is favored by many adult learners. Empirical studies regarding adult informal learning show that the overwhelming majority of adults spend substantial time in the pursuit of informal learning (Johnstone & Rivera, 1965; Livingstone, 2001; Tough, 1971, 1978). For example, Tough’s study found that more than two-thirds of adults’ intentional learning occurred outside schools or educational institutions (Tough, 1971). According to these findings, informal learning can well be defined as one of the important and predominant forms of learning in adult lives.

  Informal learning, however, has not yet been investigated fully due to its broad definition. Some of it is conducted by agency, the learner, obviously intentionally. Much of it, however, is hard to distinguish from life experiences since it occurs in everyday life. Indeed, it often is viewed as an “iceberg” phenomenon (Brockett & Hiemstra, 1991; Brookfield, 1981) since so much of it is invisible and easy to underestimate. Whether visible or invisible, few studies have been conducted on how effectively informal learning enriches adults with tangible learning outcomes (Livingstone, 2001; 2002).

  Researchers have attempted to classify informal learning to deal with it in more manageable ways. Even though some researchers often use informal learning and self-directed learning as interchangeable terms, many agree that informal learning includes more than the self-directed one shown above. According to Schugurensky (2000), informal learning can take different forms due to the presence or absence of intentionality and awareness of learning.

  He defines informal learning in three forms - self-directed learning, incidental learning, and socialization.

In Schugurensky’s classification, self-directed learning refers to 'learning projects' undertaken by individual learners. Since adults are believed to be self-directed in nature, or the contemporary world encourages learners to be more self-directed, adults pursue more and more self-directed learning opportunities, not fixed and full-time but open and flexible. Such informal learning is intentional because the learner intends to learn something before the learning process starts. It also is a conscious process in that the learner is aware of the learning when it happens. Incidental learning, in contrast, refers to the learning experiences that occur when the learner may not intend to learn something. After the experience, however, she or he becomes aware of it.  Thus, it is an unintentional but conscious process.

  Socialization, also called tacit learning, refers to the internalization of values, attitudes, behaviors, or skills that occur in everyday life. The concept of socialization as a type of informal learning is very hard to research since it is neither intended nor perceived by the learner. Therefore, this study does not discuss socialization or tacit learning despite its significant value in adult informal learning.

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Corporate Affiliate Programs (CAP)

Designing the Program to meet the desired needs of the Corporation

  These programs can be promoted as ‘employee engagement’ programs. They can be a ‘rewards’ program to encourage employee continuous learning, increased sales, or any other positive performance an organization wants to foster- “what you measure is what you get”. In CAP, membership is listed in the corporate name and it is set up (customized) to meet the corporate objectives of the program. We help our clients design their own program objectives within our SUCCESSIMO framework.

Enhancing a Business Builder’s Profitability

  These programs are promoted and sold by our Business Builder who may or may not be Success Coaches. They are individuals who are interested in building large income streams through SUCCESSIMO; e.g. a woman I am speaking with who wants to bring in a large national bank who is already her client and others as well; the owner of a corporate training business who wants to provide Successimo as a ‘value-added’ service to his customers. Our current rewards program is being examined in light of these Business Builders.n Customer account management will be the Key to a Business Builder’s ongoing success with their clients. In turn they are rewarded for this oversight and customer support.


  CAP members may require their own data base that protects their employee member data. Their employees will join and may access their membership through a portal on their own company’s web site or intranet. The corporation will need ‘messaging capability’ so the corporation can communicate regularly to reinforce activity in the program. We will work with the corporation on how they would like to use their rewards (building up of reward point). They can roll them over into certificates to be given out to high performers, given to charities, cashed in for dollars as another income stream, etc.

Expanding the Program

  The CAP can expand beyond the corporate walls by employees inviting family and friends to join under them. This membership growth opportunity can be an incentive for employees to be active in the program and be rewarded for their activity of sharing the program with friends and family. This feature can be both a benefit to the individual employee and the Corporation through growing their rewards base.

  We will work with the employee communications service of the company in developing this
portion of the program by sharing how other clients are publicizing and managing their programs. This will truly demonstrate the explosive growth of the system and can be used as a marketing incentive to the corporation.

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