Conclusions from the Learning Directors SIG Discussions of Social Media
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted by: Jesus Diaz
Sanford Gold, Chairman of the Learning Directors SIG, has provided the following takeaways from the SIG's series of meetings on Social Learning:
Social Learning is Learning, and Learning is part of the job.
What would we say if an employee said checking email is not part of their job? Social learning will become an increasing part of the way we do our work and collaborate with others. It is not a matter of when, it is a matter of how.
Social Learning is Work.
It is the goal of learning professionals to make the social learning processes and tools embedded into the workflow and easy to use. It is not to have the employee adapt to the technology or find an excuse to participate. Rather we need to understand what our employees are already doing and how social learning can make their work better, faster, and a more rewarding experience. Professor Kane mentioned that many of the early promises of Knowledge Management did not succeed partly because they created an infrastructure that was outside the normal workflow.
Social Learning Needs to have Structure.
To have effective social learning, we need a technical infrastructure and policies in place. It is also important to model what good participation is and provide guidance and rewards where appropriate. Standards help to increase the quantity of the participation, while rewards increase its quality. Rewards can be nonmonetary or public recognition for valued contributors. If you are considering monetary rewards, be moderate. The goal should not be the reward (sincethis can lead to gaming the system), but the contribution of value to the community.
Social Learning Is a Complement to Traditional Learning.
Some of the most effective uses of social learning are the combination of face-to face learning with social learning practices. Social learning can enhance the "in between" time from classroom sessions. A best practice is to decompose the learning process into modular parts (e.g. reading section, lecture section, skills section) to make the most effective use of both mediums of delivery. Also, by virtue of making the classroom a public space for employees to contribute and display their work, it makes employees more accountable.