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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Does social learning have a future? | Kineo

Photo: James Cory-Wright
"When's social learning at it's best? That's the problem with so-called "social learning" - If you over-engineer it - you kill it." summarizes James Cory-Wright, Head of Learning Design at City & Guilds Kineo.

Social works wonderfully well when it’s evolved, undirected, and voluntary. By the people for the people. Whether or not that can be, or needs to be, categorised as "learning", is a moot point.

As soon as trainers, L&D, management, get involved and try to play the trendy vicar, social is dead in the water.

Or maybe not… 
It depends on where you're coming from. Certainly, one client of ours won't have died wondering!

We caught up with him recently to talk about his social learning experience. The client was eloquent and passionate as he outlined his truly impressive attempt to give social its best shot. As well as the social platform we're developing, he's involved an agency in branding the site as a memorable go-to character.

The best analogy for social learning I've heard is it's like a party – you can book the venue, supply the food, invite people and even have them all turn up – but you just need everyone to be in the right mood, to bring a little bit of magic, for it to turn into a good party. And our client is savvy and sanguine enough to acknowledge that, despite his best efforts, he could not bet on its success. In what appears to be a recurrent theme these days, he recognised that the success of his social learning project would be down to the will of the people. If any foray into social deserves to succeed, it's this one.

And yet, what if… 
You can understand why everyone gets excited about "social" as the way to deliver the majority of training/learning in the workplace; not least from many a business' points of view, because it's deemed a low-cost solution.

But money aside - from the L&D person's perspective, it's about tapping into how most people like to learn i.e. "socially". And going forward, if we remove the obstacles, including the corporate will to control, then social can arguably sit as comfortably in the 70% of the 70/20/10 rule of thumb (where 70% is the hands-on experience of learning on the job, 20% learning from others and 10% is formal instruction). Of course, that's down to technology that enables people to share socially 'in the moment' and reflectively, remotely and globally.

Calling it "learning" is the biggest obstacle to learning 
Perhaps it would help if we no longer call it "learning" as there's not much need for that anymore. Given the wealth of information available to us and the speed and channels through which that can be sent and received. Let's either call it performance support or stick to learning but recognise that by that we mean performance support! Semantics.
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Source: Kineo - Blog


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