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April 15, 2008

eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008 – Day 1- Social Learning Discussion

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Written by: B.J. Schone
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(Whew – longest title ever. From here on, I’ll refer to the conference as AG08.)

We’re off to a great start! I attended an excellent discussion group this morning – one of the Breakfast Byte sessions on Tips & Tricks When Implementing Social Learning. The session was led by Kevin Jones, GTS. About 15 people attended and we had several great thoughts flying through the room for about an hour. Here’s a brief summary.

  • First of all, social learning is a broad term. We used it to discuss any type of learning that takes place via discussion, sharing, or collaboration. It is not based on technology; however, technology may play a key role.
  • Oftentimes, when social learning is discussed at an organization, some workers shy away. They see their knowledge as their power, and they’re afraid to give up that control. How to overcome this? Emphasize their ability to help others and play a bigger role in helping the organization, instead of hoarding the knowledge. (Sometimes easier said than done.)
  • If you’re getting pushback on social learning technologies (ex. blogs and wikis), you may want to have evangelist(s) at your organization who take lead and emphasize the potential of these tools, show examples, etc.
  • Great discussions about group/department blogs. Have different people contribute on a loose basis, or assign each person their own week to participate.
  • Always "seed" wikis with content when they are first created. Empty wikis tend to "die on the vine.".
  • Internal RSS readers are important to find, so you can aggregate internal blogs. Many users try to use an external reader (ex. Google Reader) and run into issues.
  • "What is the perfect social learning implementation? There is no such thing. Use whatever tools and methodologies that help your teams collaborate best."
  • Company culture mirrors the sharing of information. For example, if your organization has loose work hours and a relaxed environment, information sharing will be common. A stuffy, strict 8 to 5 organization will tend to resist new technologies and keep information in silos. Interesting observation. There’s some truth there.
  • Take any company directory at an organization, add some bio information for each person, and you have the makings of a social network. Then, just provide some type of instant messaging tool. That’s an easy way to get started, rather than implementing some big, expensive software package.
  • These links were discussed – I’ll have to take a look later: sociallearning.ning.com and learningtown.com (Elliott Masie’s new project)
  • Here are several tools that were discussed: Beehive, Workplace, Quicker, ClearSpace, and *several* flavors of wikis. Sorry – no time to track these down and link them right now. Just search for them on Google and I’m sure you’ll have luck.

I’m also micro-blogging about the conference on Twitter

I’m late to the Keynote – gotta go! 🙂

Author: B.J. Schone

B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.

About the Author

B.J. Schone
B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.


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  1. […] eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2008 – Day 1- Social Learning Discussion « eLearning Weekly – Annotated […]

  2. […] sessions. It was a lot for one day. I think the highlight was actually dinner. I connected with B.J. Schone and a group of eight others and went out to eat and talk. We all are one person development shops […]

  3. […] wore me out – but it was all worth it! The day started with an early discussion at one the Breakfast Byte sessions and ended with dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant with some great newfound […]

  4. Thanks for this information. I am AL Jose Leonidas from the Philippines and a interested-neophyte on this issue. I am sharing this information to some colleagues of mine. I teach sociology in a local college here at Quezon City, Philippines.

    More elearning power to you.

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