social learning is personal

Social learning is the process by which groups of people cooperate to learn with and from each other. The network era is creating a historic reversal of education, as discourse replaces institutions, and social learning in knowledge networks obsolesces many aspects of organizational training. It is as if Socrates has come back to put Plato’s academy in its place, but this time the public agora is global.

I have learned by facilitating dozens of online workshops that the social aspect is the most important. No matter how much content I design, it is the the discourse amongst participants that is the most powerful accelerator of learning. I run PKM workshops as social cohorts because I realize that I am getting farther removed from novice behaviour. I forget what I was learning myself over 10 years ago. I do not remember how difficult it was to post something online for the first time. Learning with others helps to ensure that it is not just my opinion that informs the other participants.

My current online workshops – PKM & Moving to Social – have not grown into large offerings, with me on the stage and everyone else listening. I know this will not work. The social aspect, having an international group of people cooperating in their learning, is the essential element that can often enhance serendipity, such as an impromptu video conference with an author.  No matter how much I design, each cohort goes in a different direction. From each, I learn a little more.


The next PKM workshop starts tomorrow, with participants from AU, CA, MM, NL, UK, & US so far. The diversity of the participants is the special sauce that makes these workshops unique.

“The more I am out there chatting to clients, the more I realise that your PKM approach is the number one critical skill set.  Any way I look at it, all roads seem to end there.  It is the foundation.  That’s why I thought this is where they need to start – and not just the employees – everyone including the managers.” – Helen Blunden, AU

2 Responses to “social learning is personal”

  1. John Laskaris

    Thanks for the post Harold. I do think the participants’ discussions are crucial – they allow to exchange views and gain some feedback – priceless!


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