Introducing Share&Learn

I recently launched Share&Learn – a new collaboration platform where members can share links, resources, ideas, experiences, tips, etc about the use of learning and performance trends, technologies and tools, in order to learn from one another – both informally and formally.  Anyone can become a member!

What makes Share&Learn different?

Well, Share&Learn is fundamentally a collaboration platform which supports the informal sharing of links, resources etc – but one which additionally provides the ability to turn on LMS/courseware functionality within groups (to track course activity) where it is required.  In other words, the formal learning is embedded within an (informal) collaboration platform – which is quite different from most “learning” systems which start from the position of tracking and managing all “learning” activity by default and then adding social and collaboration functionality onto that.

How would the Share&Learn platform work in a business?

It would enable employees to quickly and easily share links, resources, ideas, experiences, tips, etc with one another as they work – and at the same time and in the same place provide a platform for the delivery and management of any formal training.  This way formal learning takes place in the workflow.  The platform might even be thought of as a social intranet – i.e. providing a working environment (as well as a learning environment).

Why is this important?

In my State of Learning in the Workplace Today article I discussed how “real” learning takes place informally and socially in the workflow, but that although there is clearly a need for formal learning, this needs to be integrated into work rather than the other way round.  I also wrote:

“Social Learning is an open shared experience so it won’t be able to thrive in the workplace if it is trapped in a dedicated learning system.  I therefore agree with Dan Pontefract’s advice in The standalone LMS is dead – where he recognises that although there is still some need for LMS functionality (for compliance purposes) it needs to be integrated into a collaboration platform rather than be seen as a “destination for the learner”.  He recommends: “Start first with a ‘collaboration’ system rather than a ‘learning’ system, and build out from there.”

Share&Learn is therefore a real example of  starting first with a collaboration system and building out.  If you would like to see how this works in practice, I’ve also set up a demo site of Share&Learn for Business.  Feel free to try this site out too, if you would like to.

What is the underlying technology?

Share&Learn was built using free, open source technology: WordPress, BuddyPress and ScholarPress – so is highly configurable and customizable.  Let me know if you’d like any help with developing your own Share&Learn platform.