Social Learning – Highlights

We released our first white paper, on Social Learning, at the Collaborative Enterprise last week.

For me, the essence of social learning is that as our work becomes more complex, we need faster feedback loops to stay on top of it. Courses, with their long development cycle, are inadequate to meet the learning and performance needs of those dealing with complexity. The course is an artifact of a time when information was scarce and connections were few. Social learning can give us more and better feedback if we engage  our networks in order to develop emergent work practices. This requires not only a re-thinking of training but also our organizational structures.

Highlights from the white paper:

Frédéric Cavazza: Social Learning may be defined as follows: “Practices and tools to take advantage of collaborative knowledge sharing and growth”.

Julien Pouget: Social learning can be considered a way of learning that is based on collaborative practices and internet technologies associated with them (wikis, bookmarking, blogs, etc.). Constantly evolving with technology, this way of learning is naturally “nimble”. It enables both individuals and organizations to learn more efficiently in quickly changing contexts.

George Siemens: There is a growing demand for the ability to connect to others. It is with each other that we can make sense, and this is social. Organizations, in order to function, need to encourage social exchanges and social learning due to faster rates of business and technological changes. Social experience is adaptive by nature and a social learning mindset enables better feedback on environmental changes back to the organization.

Bertrand Duperrin: Since much knowledge work focuses on narrow and contextualized issues, the only way to get the appropriate answer is through an unmediated and contextualized from the source. Peer to peer learning is efficient because it comes when needed, and only then, and because it involves someone who has already found a solution and used it.

Clark Quinn: When you learn with others, you co-create your understanding, and this has implications for formal and informal learning, as well as organizational and societal effectiveness. The effect of the internet, the flattened world, is that we can learn socially in new ways with new people, creating new understandings, new „inspirations?.

Cédric Deniaud: Knowing how to collaborate, share one’s knowledge and promote it, are part of the true skills that are required today.

Charles Jennings: We are living in a world where access trumps knowledge every time. Those who know how to search, find and make the connections will succeed. Those who rely on static knowledge and skills alone will fail.

Florence Meichel: To be efficient, learning processes must integrate two complementary dimensions. We learn by doing and talking to others and at the same time, we learn how to learn. From these two approaches, we have double-loop learning processes, (individual and collective), which enable organizations to develop permanent and relevant adaptive skills.

Anthony Poncier: All this informal knowledge can be capitalized for and by the community of learners and enriched by all who participate. Indeed, each person generally organizes his or her own learning. We must give the means and the desire to share or “socialize” this personal work, to all learners (that is the role of the trainer).

Jay Cross: People have always learned to do their jobs socially. Workers talk with one another, mimic the behavior of successful performers, ask questions, converse, gossip, and collaborate. The fact that it’s fun encourages us to continue with the practice.

Christophe Deschamps: Less formalistic than knowledge bases, these tools [blogs, wikis, company social networks] which convey conversation within organizations enable us to understand formal knowledge and also the informal context that drives them, and give them all their meaning.

Lilian Mahoukou: The word “social” means more people-generated content, less control and less hierarchy; which is fundamentally different from current training modalities.
It’s a huge challenge for trainers who need to first understand the stakes and start listening to the conversations around social learning.

4 Responses to “Social Learning – Highlights”

  1. Brent MacKinnon

    I’m not a musician but I’ve heard of the term grace notes. Social learning reminds me of this. It’s the soft stuff, you don’t hear, but it is there and without it, there will be no music. Thanks for putting this together Harold.


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