Social learning in action at #elnil


Picture of @burrough and @sarsentrekker tweeting away was taken by @mikecollins007

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of chairing the eLearning network’s first regional event in Bristol.  The topic was Making the most of informal learning.

During the morning and the first part of the afternoon, we listened to 4 speakers with interesting informal learning stories to tell – and there was also a lively backchannel on Twitter to keep those outside the room up to speed with what was happening. In fact @HappyHenry tweeted

“Fascinating to be at an event where there are more people tweeting about it than are in the room!”

After a couple of  Pecha Kucha presentations, Nic Laycock and I ran a session on Using social media in informal learning. Rather than give a presentation, we decided to host an informal social learning activity based around a live Twitter chat session.

The idea was that those in the room who knew how to use Twitter would “buddy up” with those that did not, so that they could pass on their knowledge, and the newbies could ask any questions of them; there would be no formal “teaching” of how to use Twitter.  We used Tweetchat to display the hashtag stream on the two screens so that everyone could see what was happening and this provided good opportunity for us all to chat about what we were seeing and what it meant.

Take a look at the following pics and resources to get a feel of what the session looked like

  • This pic and this video were taken by @martincouzins.
  • This audioboo was produced by @craigtaylor74
  • Here’s a pic of Nic facilitating a discussion on the use of live Twitter chat at the conclusion of the event – thanks again to @mikecollins007.

We asked 5 questions in the Twitter chat:

  1. What social media tools do you use for your own informal learning OUTSIDE the organisation -and how do you use them?
  2. What social media tools do you use for your own informal learning INSIDE the organisation – and how do youuse them?
  3. How can you encourage/help/support others to use social media tools for their informal learning?
  4. What other factors do you need to consider when selecting social media tools for informal learning?
  5. How might the Twitter chat approach be used within an organisation to support informal learning/performance support?

Q5 brought some interesting responses – here are just a few:

You could use tweetchats to replace the traditional lunch and learn approach” @burrough

“Internal comms, Twitter backchannel in *gasp* formal training” @mikecollins007

“We could use it as a feature on our intranet for internalcomms and Q&As” @kategraham23

“When HQ is not open (eg at weekends) but staff are in work – to support eachother. This really works in practice” @JulieWedgwood

“aid mentoring provoke debate offer up just in time training” @themeister1

If you would like to read the chat transcript, I managed to capture the last 500 tweets  in this Tweetdoc (note they start just after Q1 had been released).

My own view on this activity was that it provided a fun way of helping those new to Twitter understand its value and was a good example of “social learning” in action.  It was also a great way of  discussing some interesting questions with a larger audience. We had people from all round the world joining us, so thanks to everyone who participated.  And in the process we got a few Twitter converts too!

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