Social Learning is not a New Thing
We have 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world - 7 in 10 adults worldwide. 96% of people under 30 are on a social network. 9 out of 10 adults trust recommendations from friends and virtual strangers than any other source. The world is changing, but just not in our organisations. Marcia makes everyone stand up and then says that if any of our organisations are ready, then we can sit down. Looking at how many people are still standing, I can see a huge problem. That said, this is an indication that there are cool things happening across the world and if you have a problem, you're not alone.
Barnett Helzberg from a simple, personal love story came up with an entire campaign based on just one line - I am loved. This campaign has moved onto twitter as a viral marketing event on the #iamloved tag. The hashtag has a great followership and this an organisation that knows how to connect with their people. Helzberg has discovered that they can find pearls amidst sand unlike ever before. Change grows in unlikely corners. From being focussed on education, they focussed on how people learn.
This is not the same as being always social, not the same as running an LMS and not the same as informal learning. Marcia wrestles with Jay Cross about this quite a bit. This is not specifically elearning - but again your mileage may vary, your definition may vary. Social media is technology used to engage three or more people. Three, because something magical happens when communication moves beyond being a back and forth on a two way street. Social learning is participating is participating with others to make sense of new ideas. Social learning theory has been around for years - Lance Dublin talked about this in his session too. It's about participating with others and engaging others to make meaning. What's new is how powerfully they work together.
Here's another example from Marcia. This is about Telus. Imagine you're on top of a telephone pole and you believe something's not right. Since you believe something's wrong, you go back to your truck, videotape the entire situation and then take upload that video with two clicks of a video to your intranet called the Telus Exchange. People look at it and very quickly you have advice in 40 seconds on how you can deal with the situation. This is a real situation - four responses coming back in 40 seconds is quite amazing, huh? This is truly social.
Technology - The New Social Learning Enabler
"Technology changes, but humans don't." - Deb Schultz
Technology isn't core to this message and they enable our natural social nature. Social media has several categories:
- Social Networks/ Online Communities
- Media Sharing
- Living Content - the overall category including collaborative documents and wikis.
- Virual Immersive Environments
- There are several other technologies:
By answering the question of "What are you doing now", "What needs your attention NOW" and "What do you need to know NOW?" and "Are you available?" gives us several opportunities to create serendipitous, on-demand and embedded learning in the enterprise. The pity is that proper enterprise social software companies aren't in this conference.
The last example is Delloitte. They are the largest professional services practice worldwide and they wanted to ensure that they could be the best, progressive workplace they could be. They came up with an online community called D Street (on the lines of a Main Street) and this has now become a virtual organisational water cooler. They use D-Street as a core component of their corporate university and is a huge part of their organisational infrastructure.
What can we do
The fact is that it's not too late to get started. You may not be the innovator, or early adopter, but you can still be part of the majority that's catching up. At Humana, social media is completely blocked out but people still use their iPhones to chat on Twitter. People are using social media whether you like it or not. People are using it whether we like it or not - we need to harness this conversation. Each of us know a little bit about how people learn. We are in an amazing position to make change in our organisation. You may think that your organisations are strange, but you have chance to make change. This is the chance to get over it. We need to be leading this revolution. A lot of organisations want to be like cheetahs; that's one option because you could be an early adopter. But then again there are the crocodiles, you learn, you absorb and then you swallow the water-buffalo when it comes by. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation and that's how a crocodile works. Can you pick up social media skills and be like the 'slow' yet effective crocodile. Together, we are better.
It's simple - we can make quick status updates, share, repeat stuff that people say. It gives you the practice and the learning of a crocodile. Check it out, give it a go -- DevLearn is a great way to learn as are social forums like #lrnchat. We need to get clear, get informed and get talking and get started. Marcia wants us to promise that even if we aren't the cheetahs, we need to promise we'll be the crocodiles. I think that's something everyone can promise to do this. In a year's time, I'm pretty sure we'll see heaps more people being part of the social learning phenomenon!
This has been a simple, powerful presentation -- Thornton May is a tough act to follow and Marcia's done a great job. I really liked how she's made the case for social learning and tried to inspire people to get started with bringing in social learning to their lives and their organisations. Marcia's got a really great personality for someone who's a self-confessed introvert and I think I have heaps to learn from her as a speaker and an ideator in this space. Again, this is not new information, but her style was so persuasive that I loved her talk. Great job!