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.