Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012 - (Page 7)
AT THE EDITOR’S DESK | BARRY SHIELDS
COLLABORATION AS A LEARNING TECHNIQUE DRIVES THE CREATION OF A LEARNING CULTURE
THE DISCIPLINE OF INSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATION
“Prior to the Internet, the last technology that had any real effect on the way people sat down and talked together was the table.” — Clay Shirky Benjamin Franklin’s father believed in the discipline of instructive conversation. Josiah ensured that intelligent conversation led by a sensible friend or dignitary frequently occurred during dinner. While this practice was primarily meant to hide the poor quality or outdated food on the table, Benjamin wrote in his autobiography that this practice had a molding influence on his life and character. It led to him placing high value on profitable conversation. This story shows us that social learning, a component of informal learning, is not new. What is new, however, is that learning organizations are finally beginning to take notice and formulate plans to make social learning a key part of their service offerings to clients. As transformational as this transition is for learning organizations, there are important considerations that are slowing the progress. The questions facing learning organizations are: • How do we define our social learning service offerings? • How do we provide value while adhering to our funding model? • How do we measure success? Learning organizations should first determine their capabilities. If an enterprise social platform is not in place, integrating social learning into all of your learning solutions may be difficult. You can implement separate platforms for wikis, blogging and so forth, but its best to deploy a social platform that provides all the social features in one. While the design, development and maintenance of a community of practice may be a service offering in and of itself, learning teams should incorporate social learning into all offerings (ILT, elearning, video, simulations). The formal leads to foundational or deep knowledge that can be discussed and shared informally. Using collaboration as a learning technique drives the creation of a learning culture within the organization. Determine what you can and cannot support given your current funding model. Successful social learning efforts require finding the right mix of technology, ownership of content organization, promotion of collaboration (prior to, during and after an event) and culture change toward adoption of social practices (i.e., willingness
This Issue’s Guest Editor
Barry Shields is a graduate of Florida State University’s Instructional Systems program with over 15 years of experience working at some of the most successful corporate learning organizations (NCR, AT&T, Cisco Systems) in the United States. For the past three years, he has focused on leading projects that emphasize the use of learning technologies to enhance the overall learner experience and he is currently manager of learning and development with Cisco Systems. Email Barry or follow him on Twitter: @barryshieldsnc. Know someone who’d make an outstanding guest editor? Interested in becoming one yourself? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
to share/discuss). If the technology doesn’t exist, determine the process toward implementing the right technology or align with enterprise technology initiatives. If maintaining the community isn’t something the learning organization can support, commit to owning the initial design and standards for content organization. If social practices aren’t second nature to your audience or your learning professionals, mentor them in the practices of asynchronous social collaboration. Measuring success is not as challenging as it seems and we should move beyond simple usage metrics. Determine the metric the business is trying to move. Study how active collaborators fair among non-active collaborators with regard to that metric. Then, write a business impact story using the best formula and assumptions possible. It doesn’t need to be actual return on investment. It’s meant to drive discussion around value, not be exact numbers. For me, the discipline of instructive conversation means that learning professionals define a framework for how they will provide value in the social space. We can organize content, drive debates in discussion forums, promote file sharing, share information gems we stumble upon, build templates so that user-generated content is usable, and so forth. In other words, learning professionals commit to providing discipline to the conversation. If we do this as learning professionals, our profession will not only survive the social learning revolution, it will also enjoy an increase in respect and importance.
Training Industry Quarterly, Winter 2012 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine / www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012
Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012
From Where I Sit: The Age of Personal Learning
Table of Contents
The Discipline of Instructive Coversation
Real' Learning: The Role of Context
Context, Connectivity and Community
Don't Be Afraid of Feelings in the Workplace
Peer-to-Peer: The Future of Learning
It's All About the Social. Or is it?
Informal Learning: The Dawn of a Profitable New Era
Harvesting Creativity through Social Media
Connect, Learn, Share, Innovate: How to Begin Your Social Media Journey
Casebook: Marriott: Accommodating IT Training
How Long Does it Take to Get Fully Productive?
Closing Arguments: The Social Network
Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2012