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Effects of eLearning 2.0 May 14, 2007

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: ,

I’ve spoken about eLearning 2.0 before, and I still believe it offers awesome possibilities for improving how people learn and ultimately perform.

But I started thinking about the use of eLearning 2.0 tools: wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, rss feeds, etc. What do these tools have in common? What do they require? They require that you have at least some knowledge of technology, and in some cases they require that you have knowledge that you would like to contribute. I have no doubt that learners with white-collar jobs will take advantage of these tools and the opportunities they offer. These types of workers typically have better access to technology and they deal more with digital information. But I wonder – will blue-collar workers will be left out of the eLearning 2.0 movement?

eLearning (1.0) is currently being used to train people for blue-collar jobs. An example of this would be a session (maybe in a computer lab) where workers take an eLearning course to gain product knowledge and learn troubleshooting skills for the product. I believe this is a great use of eLearning, especially if it were coupled with a hands-on lesson where learners get to work with the product and troubleshoot problems on their own. So, how would eLearning 2.0 fit into this picture? How would learners, who may or may not have technical skills, use eLearning 2.0 tools and contribute information in a setting like this? I’m not saying eLearning 2.0 can’t or won’t work, but I am interested in brainstorming more on eLearning 2.0 to think through situations like this. Maybe this isn’t a great example, either. Maybe the workers later have access to a wiki where they share information or "gotchas" they’ve encountered with the product? Is that likely to happen?

All of a sudden, it appears white-collar workers may have a greater advantage; they could benefit more from these new tools and further increase their knowledge, skills, and potential. Will eLearning 2.0 cause a (further) knowledge gap between white-collar and blue-collar occupations?

I’m not trying to be a grinch about eLearning 2.0 – I promise! I am excited about it. I just think we’ll need to keep several things in mind about our audience when deciding how and where we use it.

Read more about eLearning 2.0 over at Tony Karrer’s blog.



1. ghegenbart - May 16, 2007

I’ve been questioning the true value of eLearning 2.0 and if social technologies really have a place in the training/performance world. I’m not convinced they do. I’ve seen lots of articles about potential uses, but no real case studies or success stories.

I think there is potential there, but as you point out, it is really limited to people with access to computers. With mobile devices becoming more prevalent, this 2.0 movement may prove effective.

2. B.J. Schone - May 16, 2007

Thanks for your comments.

While I agree that much of the eLearning 2.0 talk is still at the conceptual stage, I have heard of several case studies that do sound promising.

Social bookmarking can be a great tool if used properly within a department or unit. Gone are the days of sending a url of a great article or reference to your team members. Just get everybody set up using the same tool (ex. del.icio.us) and have them tag relevant content using a common tag schema. For example, the training department at Acme Co may tag their training articles as AcmeCoTrainingDept. This creates a great central repository of content that is highly-relevant to a group.

Wikis show great potential, and I’ve heard of several successful case studies with them. Wikis can excel in areas where you are trying to capture knowledge that exists beyond the standard product and procedure knowledge. They become a living knowledge base that goes above and beyond standard documentation and training. And they end up being a great job aid that people can access on-the-fly at work.

But back to the original point, the examples I mentioned are for people who do have access to computers.

And I think you may be correct about mobile devices, but that’s one area where I really want to see examples. With the plethora of devices out there and very little screen real estate, some excellent design will have to take place in order to deliver effective learning experiences.

3. Tony Karrer - May 21, 2007

Wow – “I’ve been questioning the true value of eLearning 2.0 and if social technologies really have a place in the training/performance world.”

That’s an amazing statement. Have you used these tools yourself? Do you find value in this post or this discussion? I would agree that some audiences will benefit more and that maybe some audiences (what’s the opposite of an information worker?) won’t benefit in their jobs, but the number of workers who are not information workers continues to grow smaller.

4. elearning - November 18, 2008

we all use e-learning 2.0 tools may be in a non directly way. We benefit alot from sharing our resources throught them.

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