This article first appeared on TrainingZone on 25th September 2011
This is the fourth and final instalment of my weekly articles curating key social learning resources for TrainingZone’s social learning month.
1. This week we start with a posting by Mark Britz, Nature finds a way. In this article Mark shows how organisations sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, snuff out the social learning that takes place in organisations “by imposing technical restrictions or creating cultures of fear built on archaic hierarchies of order and control”. But here he shows a simple example how people will find a way to work and learn together.
“A simple truth revealed – people will connect, people will share, people will collaborate. It’s in our DNA to be social, it’s our nature and that life, uh . . . finds a way.”
2. Clark Quinn in his latest blog post talks about the importance of Reflecting socially.
“The social processing that happens when sharing is not just for formal learning, but for personal self-directed learning as well. Creating a representation of your understanding is valuable in and of itself, to make your thinking concrete, but sharing and getting feedback is even more powerful.”
Clark encourages us to reflect socially with our colleagues, team mates and others, explaining:
“Learning out loud is a key to moving forward faster and more effectively.”
3. Jay Cross in a recent article for CLO Magazine, Making sense of the world, has a similar theme. Here he explains his own research methods, and how he processes what he has found, then he adds.
“Eventually, I turn from pulling ideas in to pushing them out. I share my take on things in conversations, both in person and in social networks. I post definitive thoughts to my learnstream. That generates feedback that enables me to improve things. It’s a virtuous circle. For me, this cycle of pull-reflect-push is my contribution to the knowledge commons that is the web.”
Sharing is a key aspect of this new social world we now live in. Many people already willingly and freely share what they know; we need to encourage others to do so too. Jay points out the importance of this for organisations too.
“In an organisation, I feel that this process of seeking out and sharing meaning is a responsibility of enlightened social citizenship.”
4. Over the last few weeks, through the links I have curated, I have tried to show that social learning is not just another new training trend – in fact it’s not new at all, and certainly not just to do with training. It’s much more exciting than that as it represents a fundamental shift in the way that learning is already happening in the workplace, and offers huge opportunities for L&D to support learning in many new ways. In my recent presentation to the Professional Learning Europe Conference in Cologne, The future of learning is .. social, I provided some examples of how I think L&D can learn from what their people are already learning socially (with social media) and how they might encourage and engage others to do so too.
5. Finally, for those of you who would like to explain to your business leaders how social learning is what really makes business work, then here is a link to an elevator pitch, in 10 sentences, for social learning , written by Harold Jarche. The last one says it all:
“Learning amongst ourselves is the real work in social businesses and management’s role is to support social learning.”
If you interested in social learning and the use of social media for learning and working, then you are invited to join my Social Learning Community. This is an international Community of Practice where the focus of the discussion is on how we learn differently with social approaches, and where we share experiences and ideas on what we are doing and its effectiveness in the workplace. l look forward to continuing the discussion with you there. More information about the Community can be found at http://c4lpt.co.uk/join-a-community/.