This SMinOrgs S.M.A.R.T. News Digest focuses on how social media technologies can be used to enhance learning in organizations, especially informal learning. It includes videos, presentations, and blog posts that discuss the increasing importance and growth of social learning, in addition to addressing commonly-held myths and providing guidance for leaders.
This is Jerry Carducci’s fourth News Digest. In his first guest post about 2011 predictions, he suggested that social media remains an underutilized resource to engage and develop employees. He extends those ideas here by examining the opportunities social media provides in developing new skills and offering suggestions for how employers can leverage new digital technologies to radically transform and create a culture of engagement and collaboration in the Digital Era. The piece is also a nice complement to the ideas I share in Part 2 of the Social Media Primer (updated here), which discusses the importance and potential extent of internal applications. Finally, as with other social media applications, the items included in this News Digest demonstrate that the ideas aren't as "new" as some people think they are, and that the underlying best practice principles haven’t changed. – Courtney Hunt
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Learning is a human fundamental, with as much as 80 percent of the knowledge and skills we acquire throughout life coming about through informal means, i.e. outside the classroom. Social media extends this method of learning as it allows individuals to identify and collaborate with others who share common interests. In the process, it transforms the ways leaders need to think about learning, acquiring knowledge, and developing skills.
Informal learning for personal and career development is taking hold thanks to social applications and low cost mobile technology. Social media is an excellent vehicle for professional development because participants are not just passive receivers of knowledge, but are actively engaged in the development of content.
We are entering the “Talent Age,” where people will be the value proposition of the future, making the skills and abilities they acquire the drivers of organizational performance.To keep up with the rapid pace of change, employees need the ability to gain fast and immediate access to skills and knowledge through sources tailored to their specific roles in organizations. Social media applications provide the means to meet these challenges.
Support for social media as a learning tool in the organizational context is growing. A survey of corporate training and learning leaders conducted in the fourth quarter of 2010 and published in January 2011 by the CARA Group, Inc. supports this view. The survey examined informal learning and how important respondents see its role in enhancing workforce skills and knowledge through social media tools. And the findings were significant. 90% of respondents support informal learning, 81% feel social media affords valuable learning opportunities and 98% agreed that social media is changing how employees learn and access information. However, while these results suggest strong support for using social media as a developmental tool, respondents viewed it as an extension of, not a replacement for, instructor-led learning methods.
Social media enables individuals to identify their own subject matter experts rather than having the organization making these decisions through the type of course work and subject matter experts/instructors it provides. The latter contributes to what I refer to as “corporate think;” an inward versus outward view that supports existing practices and policies that can inhibit personal and organizational growth, creativity and innovation.
There are many forces influencing the future of learning in the workplace. Here’s a YouTube video that features an interview with Mike McDermott (T Rowe Price), Karie Willyerd (Sun Microsystems), and Walt McFarland (Booz Allen Hamilton) discussing these forces, as well as the future impact of social learning:
Social media applications are accepted forms of communication for connecting, networking and exchanging information. To be effective, organizations must change the way they think about learning, acquiring knowledge and developing their workforce. The selected articles, blogs and slide presentations in this News Digest provide additional insight on the uses of social media as a learning tool. Specifically:
- Through his slide presentation, Dennis McCafferty defines social learning and demonstrates how social networking is helping employees learn, innovate and share knowledge.
- “Content Commerce; Halo Effect for eLearning” describes how content is consumed, retained and re-distributed on a just-in-time basis.
- Renée Robbins looks into her crystal ball to provide insight into the digital tools that will impact learning in the future.
- Meister and Willyerd discuss how Sun Microsystems, IBM, OneCA and other organizations use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to tag, rate, comment and network to develop skills among their workforces. They also offer best practice guidelines in creating, organizing and planning social learning initiatives.
- Owen Ferguson makes the case for social media’s role in learning, the common objections and how to overcome them.
Categories: applications, best practices, enterprise 2.0, human resources, internal communication, knowledge management, leadership, research, social media primer, strategy
For additional articles that address related issues, click on terms of interest in the category cloud on our website.
Source: CIO Insight
Author: Dennis McCafferty
Lead Paragraph: Social media sites are considered by most enterprises only in terms of their potential as a marketing tool. It's obvious that Twitter, Facebook and other social networking outlets are channels through which your enterprise can deliver information and engage customers with an unprecedented level of reach and creativity. What is often overlooked is the power of social media when it comes to employee training, institutional learning and knowledge sharing,
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: Social learning has traditionally been geographically and generationally oriented: conferences, classrooms and other events structured to meet the needs of specific groups. As technology has progressed, this is no longer the case. As McCafferty points out in his presentation, social learning has become highly participative and engagement oriented, where everyone is welcome. The primary factor is deprogramming one’s self from a state of conformity to that which is receptive to new ways of thinking and disseminating knowledge.
Source: Learning Practice Blog
Lead Paragraph: While we are talking of Web 2.0, enterprise 2.0 and the various technologies, the e-Learning industry also caught the buzz word to call e-Learning 2.0 as a new trend. Is it really true? As e-Learning vendors, we do the same thing - Instruction Design, Instructional Writing, Visual design templates, content population and delivery in standalone or SCORM compliance files, Customize LMS, Launch courses through LMS, Add apps to make it collaborative, and plug in more modules to determine hierarchies, career paths, plan, skills now vs needed, etc. What is news in these?
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: Informal learning includes casual conversations, but like any word-of-mouth message, it often gets distorted as it is passed along. Social media provides continuity and consistency in the message which can be conveyed through multiple channels, stored and accessed by “information consumers” on demand anywhere, any time.
Source: GoodPractice for Leaders and Managers
Author: Owen Ferguson
Lead Paragraph: The big question this month is about the value of social media in learning and, once again, it tackles a problem that’s being experienced by learning professionals attempting to move beyond being a traditional, classroom focused training function.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: There are many myths about loss of productivity and the passing of incorrect and sensitive information through social media applications. However, as Ferguson brings out, the same can be found in less advanced technology, (e.g., the telephone, which lacks the ability to store, retrieve and correct inconsistencies). Establishing protocols and challenging myths are important elements in setting any strategy. The message here is the establishment of practice standards and that social media tools allow for clarification and correction of erroneous information that is conveyed in a consistent message accessible to all.
Source: Learning Putty
Author: Renée Robbins
Lead Paragraph: With only two months left in the year it is time to make some predictions on how social media will impact your employee development and training in 2010. As I gaze into my crystal ball I can honestly say that these are the tools that will make the biggest difference for you and your learners.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: The tools Robbins presents extend well beyond 2010. As technology continues to evolve, the ongoing question will be: which tool, or combination, best fit the needs of the organization? Going back to fundamentals, the bigger picture must be continuously evaluated in view of the long term goals of the enterprise and corresponding workforce development needs to meet those objectives. In developing and deploying the strategy, current communication and learning channels need to be reviewed, and leaders should assess how employees want to have access to the tools and how they will supplement formal training.
Title: Social Learning Unleashed
Source: Chief Learning Officer Magazine
Authors: Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd
Lead Paragraph: Reinvented, redefined and re-imagined, social learning has the potential not only to shape tomorrow's enterprise, but also to powerfully enhance workforce performance.
Brief Commentary from Jerry Carducci: Organizations have approached using social media to supplement their learning platform in many ways, from the simplistic (peer developed subject matter videos) to ones that are highly structured similar to that of LinkedIn. For large, complex and resource intense global organizations, a highly structured learning network is an effective way to share and ensure consistency across borders. For smaller, locally situated and resource limited organizations, a more simplistic approach such as blogs and wikis may be more practical.
Regardless of organizational size and geographical reach, the lack of a means to provide employees with rapid access to information and knowledge can represent a potentially significant opportunity cost in terms of growth, competiveness and capabilities.