SMBs and Social Learning Technologies

April 2, 2009

Here are slides from the presentation I did yesterday. The session was hosted by SumTotal Systems.

Some notes:
Polls:

  • Most attending work in L&D with some HR, IT, and learning services providers
  • Most attending work in organization with 2000+ ee’s but several were SMBs (under 2K ee’s for this presentation)
  • Current learning delivery channels primarily ILT classroom and ILT online as well as a fair amount of self-paced e-learning.
  • Very few people work with fellow employees at one physical location. Nearly everyone dispersed.
  • Goals pretty evenly spread among rapid e-learning (consumption and development), reduce costs, support informal learning, improve productivity.

Other notes:

  • Definition of social media vary among attendees (~160)
  • I used Urban Dictionary definition as of yesterday…and to illustrate a participatory online dictionary (which, BTW, is often NSFW but a heck of a lot of fun in my opinion).
  • Noted main difference between main stream media and social media. Social media enables everyone to publish/access info inexpensively.
  • Information from Microsoft SMB insight report (increase SaaS, investment in tech)
  • Challenges to SMBs:  resources, culture, loss of control of information, fear of loss of productivity/abuse, security
  • Benefits to SMBs: faster response, resilient, lower costs without sacrificing learning, increased productivity, supplements other training

Where we are today:

  • Primary forms of social learning technologies used in corporations today appear to be e-mail, live online learning (Web conferencing), threaded discussion, and collaborative content development.
  • Organizations are just beginning to use social media technologies and few are using the social learning technologies available in their LMSs.
  • For services outside the firewall, blockage continues to be an issue driven by such barriers as organizational culture, bandwidth limitations, security issues, IT resistance, and lack of resources.
  • Most learning professionals view social media as valuable to learners, and usage is growing.
  • Employers are still are having trouble implementing collaborative solutions; hard to find support in the corporate environment.
  • IT and senior leadership buy-in can be particularly difficult perhaps because it’s easy to find evidence of abuse that can undermine implementing social learning technologies. Social media, in general, is misunderstood in many organizations.
  • More and more, learning management system companies are seeing the need to expand their solutions beyond a learning environment where classes and courses are the center of activity.
  • Shared a diagram: team collaboration, increased personal productivity, community building (the ‘why’)
  • Need to become experts on organizational communities

Reviewed:

  • Social networking services (corporate learning applications):  To identify experts on a topic – most “knowledge” exists in the heads of employees; To reduce the time to find connections and answers to questions; extend relationships beyond traditional classroom instruction and e-learning courses
  • Blogs (corporate learning applications): knowledge management tool, source of information, group project management tool, professional development,  support service, method for obtaining feedback, project management,  builds writing skills,  networking by having conversations with others, capture the knowledge of experts.
  • Wikis – most versatile; can build just about anything on it. (ideas for starting out): give people something to do there, a reason to visit (build around the work), obtain management support, plan for change management if the culture is being changed., provide up-front training/coaching, maintain content, allow for emergence during growth/maintenance, involve a broad cross-section of people, consider templates for consistency, identify super-workers/techies to pilot wikis, seek feedback/evaluate.
  • Microblogging:> Pros: real-time messages help learners feel more like a community, questions get answered fast, it is good for providing immediate feedback, ability to communicate primarily using cell phones, can mass message a specific group, can provide a ‘backchannel’ to ILT for learners to participate, limited characters are good for summarizing (metacognition), public record exists of messages.
    Cons:
    A cost may be associated with receiving text messages via cell phone, not for everyone because it can be intrusive, productivity can suffer, the informal nature makes it hard to quantify,self-directed, self-motivated groups tend to define their own enterprise and may drift from organizational objectives, fFree transfer of information typical of social learning technologies may create problems in an environment that treats information as private, a public record exists of messages ; )
  • Tagging/Bookmarking – described how they worked; relatively low adoption but may increase as more LMSs include
  • Presence – Some ways to use presence tools to enhance education: Allow learners to reveal (or conceal) their presence both synchronously and asynchronously. Provide both push and pull forms of notification. Provide a way to filter information. Provide cooperative learning support with encouragement to cooperate.Use a referral system to show successful learning networks.Link a resource to the learner (the system captures profile information).Introduce learners to each other.Provide help. Document and share: learners should be actively creating rather than consuming knowledge.

Asked: Do you have a strategy for social media for learning? Majority “NO” (supports our prior surveys). Noted we don’t get much $$ without strategy.

Strategies:

  • As part of a blended learning strategy
  • To provide a community for learning professionals
  • To provide a collaborative learning environment among cross-functional groups
  • For knowledge management
  • As part of a learning plan
  • To create a place for informal learning
  • For leadership development
  • For professional development
  • To develop and retain talent

Good use case:

  • distributed workforce
  • information/knowledge workers
  • need for peer-to-peer collaboration
  • need easy/anywhere access to information
  • need access to SMEs
  • supportive culture

Action Plan

  1. Start small. Find opportunities where social learning technologies will foster learning.
  2. Become an expert on the learners within your organization’s communities.
  3. YOU need to use the tools yourself. Connect with someone right now.
  4. Develop a strategy.
  5. Incorporate into daily work. Make it part of ‘real work.’

Ending message: If you don’t have a supportive culture of openness and sharing you are screwed. Need to do the work there first.

References / Resources Used (additional to those linked to above):

SumTotal, Harnessing the Power of Informal Learning Technology, White Paper

Jeff Whitney, Outstart (Interview, strategy)

Bryan Chapman, Chapman Alliance (Learning Model, SMB)

Alonso, F., Lopez, G., Manrique, D. & Vines, J.M. (2005). An instructional model for Web-based e-learning education with a blended learning process approach. British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2005, pp. 217-235.

Anderson, T. (2005). Distance learning—Social software’s killer ap? 17th Biennial Conference of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia, 2005.

Aragon, S.R. (2003). Creating Social Presence in Online Environments, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2003), p. 57–68 in Duvall, J. (2007)

Text Messaging to Improve Social Presence in Online Learning. Educause Quarterly.

Arhin, A. & Cormier, E. (2007). Using Deconstruction to Educate Generation Y Nursing Students. Journal of Nursing Education 46 no12 562-7 D 2007.

Baird, D.E. & Fisher, M. 2005-2006. Neomillennial User Experience Design Strategies: Utilizing Social Networking Media to Support “Always On” Learning Styles. J. Educational Technology Systems, Vol. 34 (1) 5-32, 2005-2006.

Braly, M. & Froh, G. (2006). Social bookmarking in the enterprise. Digital Library of Information Science and Technology.

Bruck, B. & Schneider, P. (2007). Blended Learning: A Solution to Proficiency, in Clarey, J., The Real Story: Blended Learning: Bridging research and practice. Brandon Hall Research.

Chapman, B. et al (2008). LMS KnowledgeBase. Brandon Hall Research Online Database.

Clarey, J. (2007). The Real Story: Blended Learning: Bridging research and practice. Brandon Hall Research.

Digenti, D. (2000). Make Space for Informal Learning. ASTD Learning Circuits.

Drugge, M. (2004). Wearable Computer Interaction Issues in Mediated Human to Human Communication. Division of Media Technology Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.

Duvall, J. (2007). Text Messaging to Improve Social Presence in Online Learning. Educause Quarterly.

Edwards, P. (2007). Managing Wikis In Business. MBA Technology Management Programme (paper).

Garrison, R., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2 (2-3), pp.87-105 in Anderson, T. (2005).

Distance Learning – Social software’s killer ap? 17th Biennial Conference of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia, 2005.

Good, R. (September 27, 2004). “3D Virtual Spaces for Learning And Collaboration.” Message posted to MasterNewMedia. Retrieved April 24, 2007

Jones, J. & Royer, M. (2007). Life Science Informatics Trends Analysis for Community College Program Builders. Volume 3: Virtual Worlds. Bellevue Community College. Forsyth Technical Community College grantee, The National Center for Biotechnology Workforce, funded by U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration / President’s High Growth Jobs Training Initiative.

McKerlich, R. (2007). Virtual Worlds for Learning: An Analysis in the Use of Immersive Environments for Training. Brandon Hall Research.

McKerlich, R. (2007). Virtual Worlds for Learning: An Analysis of Eight Immersive Learning Platforms. Brandon Hall Research.

Nardi, B., Whittaker, S. & Schwarz, H. (2000). It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know: Work in the Information Age. First Monday. Retrieved March 25, 2008

Oblinger, D. & Oblinger, J. (2005). Educating the Net Generation. EDUCAUSE.

Prinsen, F., Volman, L., & Terwel, J. (2007). The influence of learner characteristics on degree and type of participation in a CSCL environment. British Journal of Educational Technology 38 no6 1027-55 N 2007.

Rosen, C. (2007). Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism. The New Atlantis. Summer 2007.

Shirky, C. (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Penguin Press.

Singh, H. (2003). Building Effective Blended Learning Programs. Educational Technology, Volume 43, Number 6, Pages 51-54

Werner, T. & Vipond, S. (2005). Linking Training to the Business Goals: In-Depth Descriptions of How IBM, Toyota, and Others Earn Executive Support for Training. Brandon Hall Research.

Woodill, G. (2007). Emerging E-Learning Technologies: Tools for Developing Innovative Online Training. Brandon Hall Research.

Young, J. R. (2008). Forget E-Mail: New Messaging Service Has Students and Professors Atwitter. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Other:
Social Learning: Pedagogy for the Connected Age, Alec Courosa
How to Save Newspaper Companies, Jake Ludington
What is Social Media, Robert Scoble
My Web 2.0 Expo Keynote: until Best Buy adds people to its website our jobs are not done, Robert Scoble
Social Media for Corporate Learning?, Jeanne Meister
Twitter in Education, Clif Mims

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  • Denise

    This comment isn’t about the content of the blog, and if I could have found a private method of sending it, I would have. But there doesn’t appear to be a “send problems here” link.

    I’m on Windows XP running IE 6.0.2,and I get several script errors when this page opens and closes. Once I get past the script errors, the blog portion (in the center of the page) is way down the page–I have to scroll more than a page to see any portion of it.

    Thought you might want to fix this.

  • Denise

    This comment isn’t about the content of the blog, and if I could have found a private method of sending it, I would have. But there doesn’t appear to be a “send problems here” link.

    I’m on Windows XP running IE 6.0.2,and I get several script errors when this page opens and closes. Once I get past the script errors, the blog portion (in the center of the page) is way down the page–I have to scroll more than a page to see any portion of it.

    Thought you might want to fix this.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Thanks for telling me! Wonder what’s up with that. Definitely I need to fix it.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Thanks for telling me! Wonder what’s up with that. Definitely I need to fix it.

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