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Enterprise 2.0 August 1, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Enterprise 2.0, the use of social media and social networking tools in a business setting, is having a major impact on how employees learn and share information. As learning professionals, it’s becoming increasingly important that we stay aware of these changes and understand how and why they’re happening. We need to play a bigger role in understanding and selecting Enterprise 2.0 tools, and we need to partner and collaborate with our IT departments along the way. Let’s dive in to learn more about Enterprise 2.0 and learn more about why it matters to us.

What is Enterprise 2.0?

According to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference web site: "Enterprise 2.0 is the term for the technologies and business practices that liberate the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools like email. It provides business managers with access to the right information at the right time through a web of inter-connected applications, services and devices. Enterprise 2.0 makes accessible the collective intelligence of many, translating to a huge competitive advantage in the form of increased innovation, productivity and agility."

Essentially, Enterprise 2.0 is the idea of creating an ecosystem of open, connected tools while growing and nurturing a culture of learning and sharing. Yes, it sounds a little soft and fluffy, but the main idea is to encourage employees to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and become more independent learners. This is very much in line with the theory of informal learning and social learning. Some of the more common tools related to Enterprise 2.0 are blogs (ex. WordPress), wikis (ex. MediaWiki), micro-blogging platforms (ex. Yammer or Present.ly), social bookmarking sites (ex. Scuttle), and even in-house social networks, similar to Facebook.

What role should we play?

Rather than look for ways to integrate Enterprise 2.0 tools with the LMS, I believe we need to take time to experiment and identify which tools have the most value at our organizations. Enterprise 2.0 is definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation. In fact, I find that if you have the right mindset, you’ll naturally figure out what works at your organization. For example, if you determine that you’re going to help connect people to people, and people to information, you’ll start to see areas where these tools will fit naturally in your organization. Don’t try to shoehorn fancy new technology where you think it will succeed. Listen to your learners, run small pilot programs (many of these tools are open-source / free), and experiment. Fortunately, unlike an LMS, you can install several of these tools and experiment under the radar. Then, after you start to see potential areas of success, you can be more visible and vocal with your efforts. (Depending on your situation and your comfort-level with technology, you may want to have an ally in your IT department during your experimentation. They can help install some of the tools / systems for you.)

Enterprise 2.0 Resources

Take some time to check out some of the links below. These are some of the best Enterprise 2.0 resources I’ve found:

Supporting Formal and Informal Social Learning June 18, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Last month I wrote a post called The Future of eLearning is Social Learning , featuring work by Jane Hart. I highlighted several of her online presentations, which do an excellent job of outlining the basics of social learning while also addressing some of the most common misconceptions and pitfalls. Jane recently released another presentation titled Supporting Formal and Informal Social Learning, which covers the people side of social learning and the settings/contexts in which it takes place. The presentation is below. This is Part 3 of a series.

I continue to realize the most difficult part of implementing social learning is the change management – not the technology. Slides 14, 15, and 16 do a good job of addressing this. Thanks, Jane!

Social Learning Resources June 6, 2009

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I wanted to highlight a few social learning resources this week that I find to be very valuable. Take a look at the slideshows below for several perspectives and best practices for using social learning at your organization.

Defining Your Social Learning Strategy

Social Learning and Internal Communications

Harnessing the Power of Social Networks in Teaching and Learning

Social Learning Success Stories, Models, And Roles

Also, be sure to check out these books:

The Future of eLearning is Social Learning May 2, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Jane Hart has been creating presentations recently to help explain social learning to her clients. Fortunately for us, she is now sharing some of this content online: Jane is working on a 3-part series related to social learning, and the first 2 parts are now available (and embedded below). Keep an eye out for the third part, which should hopefully be published in a week or two.

These presentations are valuable for several reasons. First, they explain the significance and importance of social learning in simple, people terms without getting overly technical. I would feel very comfortable using these presentations to help educate upper management on the benefits of social learning without hesitation. Second, the presentations describe a solid approach (using Elgg) for getting started with social learning. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the social learning tools out there, and even though I’ve never used Elgg, it seems like it would be a great starting point. Finally, the presentations are extremely portable on SlideShare; you can embed and share them very easily with others. Take a look…

Part 1: The Future of eLearning is Social Learning

Part 2: Using Elgg as as Social Learning Platform

Part 3: Coming soon!

Beware of Social Learning Backlash April 11, 2009

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I’m finding out that the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” has some major significance when it comes to introducing social learning (specifically, social learning tools) at an organization. In fact, even worse things can happen if you don’t market your offerings correctly…

When introducing social learning tools and concepts, it’s easy to get excited and anxious to share our findings. We often see the potential of how these tools can impact our organization, and we can’t wait to tell everyone we know about it. But here’s the tricky part: A good portion of our audience may not see the same potential, and it’s important to understand their point of view. They may have these feelings for several reasons:

  • They may not understand the concept(s)
  • They may fear new technology
  • They may be afraid to learn something new or change their current processes
  • They may feel intimidated or threatened

In fact, some people may undermine your efforts by expressing doubt to others and they may refuse to use new tools. To be clear, I believe constructive criticism is always a good thing. I’m only concerned about the people who counter your efforts because of one of the reasons listed above.

On a sidenote, it doesn’t help that many of the social media and social learning tools have goofy names. Many non-technical people immediately dismiss the idea of using these tools because they can’t take the name seriously. (Personally, even though I am a fan, I think Twitter’s name is one of its biggest downfalls.)

Here are a few tips to prevent social learning backlash:

  • Communication and change management are key
    Begin by explaining the basics of social learning and gradually work up to the benefits of using social learning specifically at your organization. Explain all benefits and be honest about possible shortcomings.
  • Seek out allies in your organization
    Find people within your organization who can help you tell the story of how social learning can benefit your organization. This way you won’t be seen as the person trying to make all the changes on your own.
  • Don’t just talk – produce
    I can talk about Web 2.0 and Learning 2.0 until I’m blue in the face, but it won’t do anybody good until I actually produce something. I would recommend staying light on the concepts and heavy on the examples. As they say, actions speak louder than words.
  • Carefully connect social learning to familiar external sites
    Explain that most people already use social media and social learning resources outside of work, whether they realize it or not. For example, what tools do you usually use when you have a question, or when you need information? Wikipedia, Google, and social bookmarking sites like Delicious are a few simple examples.
  • Re-brand the technologies in-house to use more conventional names
    If you install any social learning applications in-house, you may consider re-branding their names to something that makes sense within your organization.

Kevin Jones has done a fantastic job of covering all things related to social learning. Be sure to check out some of his posts below. You’ll find additional tips for improving the adoption of social learning at your organization:

Social Learning Question of the Day February 19, 2009

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Kevin Jones, author of the Engaged Learning blog, has set up a Twitter account called Social Learning Question of the Day (@slqotd). David Wilkins is also a contributor on Social Learning Question of the Day.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Get a (free) Twitter account, if you don’t have one already.
  2. Follow @slqotd and it will follow you back.
  3. Each business day a new question is asked. Add in your two cents: Start your tweet with d slqotd.
  4. Your tweet will be sent to all those following @slqotd.

This is an excellent example of collaboration among a group of users. I will admit that I’ve only been a spectator of SLQOTD, but I think it’s fantastic and I plan on participating in the future.

You can see a summary of all questions and answers for December and January (PDF files).

Great job, Kevin and David. This is very cool!