Reading about Workscapes, Working Wikily and Using Twitter

As a current practitioner in workplace learning, I’ve read a lot about social networks supporting informal learning.  But, ahem, I haven’t really used it myself.  I’m on Linkedin but rarely use it to stay in touch with anyone.  I’m on Facebook, but pretty much just use that to see photos of my nieces and nephews and my friends’ quilts.  One of the benefits of this class is combining the readings with real life practice.  I really enjoyed the Using Twitter for Social Learning article.  Before this class, I’d never tweeted before; the article helped me see potential value:  it’s not just self-involved people spreading uninteresting personal information around.  I hope to experiment with backchannels in presentations – both as a participant and as a presenter.  Conventional wisdom tells me that dividing attention between the presentation and a side conversation might be dangerous, but I won’t know until I try it myself and talk with others about what worked and what didn’t.

On page 4 of the Workscaping article, Jay Cross says, “Robert Kelley at Carnegie Mellon discovered that whereas in 1968 we carried 75% of what we need to know to do our jobs in our heads, by 2006 our brains contained only about 8-10% of what we need to know.”  Hmm.  Since I’ve been working since 1968, I can attest to this.  The learning programs I’ve developed  focus more and more not on what to do, but where to find the answer to any question quickly and reliably.  A critical element of a workscape, then, will be a reliable knowledge management system that workers can have faith in – and works almost instantly.

The Working Wikily article by Gabriel Kaspar and Diana Scearce brings up some points I know the organizations I’ve worked with will worry about.  Network-centric groups are allowing  people to connect quickly without the need for organizational planning and control.  As more and more users add content without approval of the hierarchy, traditional organizations are going to need help in learning to trust the self-policing capabilities of networked groups.  I’m making a note to myself to learn more about this – the example of the Case Foundation narrowing the top 100 award nominations to a final field of 20 for final selection by the network would be a helpful model.

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4 thoughts on “Reading about Workscapes, Working Wikily and Using Twitter

  1. Chris, I like all the quotes that you pulled out from the readings and I like how you made a note to look more into the “self-policing capabilities of networked groups” I think you’ll get some exposure to that through the readings this summer and plenty of opportunities to reflect on it, and hopefully …. observe it action! Looking forward to keeping pace with you!

    ~jeannette

  2. Your comment that you can now combine readings with real life practice is true for me too. I’ve been reading about social media tools and even start reading “Here Comes Everybody” over the years but it just didn’t stick. Now that we are knee deep in this world, we can start to make the connections. Just goes to show the adult learning theory is true – you’ll learn it when you have to actually use it!

  3. So much of what we know is rooted in our ability to locate the relevant pieces-parts when we need them… so much of our exploration this semester–interactions with our widening network, readings, tools, practice–have allowed me to explore areas that were not currently on my urgent-important “want to know more” list. The tapestry that we are creating has helped me to make connections at a very quick pace. Thanks for the opportunity to learn with you this semester!

  4. This class has really opened my eyes to to the myraid of tools and different network that i had no idea about.There are so many tools that can make our jobs easier and efficent.I am really learning a lot from just chatting with classmates that i never in my wildest dream considered as learning. Thanks to you and others, i am now very much aware of several tools that can help me to be more productive as an instructional designer.

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