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    Smarter learning with Social Media? A 10 Step Plan

    By Fiona Strawbridge, on 17 March 2011

    I’ve just enjoyed a webinar led by Jane Hart on how social media (or SoMe as she refers to it) can help orgnaisations to ‘work smarter’.  The basic premise is that conventional training and development fills people’s heads with knowledge in an inefficient and ineffective way, and that online versions of courses – which are often over-engineered, do little better, whilst taking additional resource to develop; this is not sustainable.  Jane argues that much real learning takes place outside the formal work or learning environment, and that social media can help us to learn in new ways, sharing resources, ideas, experiences and expertise.

    The script and slides for the whole presentation are helpfully available at http://c4lpt.co.uk/articles/10steps.html (it would have been even more helpful if I’d known this at the start as I was typing notes frantically as she spoke).

    The 10 steps are:

    1. Raising awareness of the potential of social media for both working and learning – stuff like finding thinks on the social web; keeping up to date; building a trusted network; communicating;  sharing; collaborating; improving productivity – see http://c4lpt.co.uk/workingsmarter
    2. Help people with personal knowledge management – dealing with information overload; filtering info; finding the right resources, and people
    3. Develop team collaboration skills – perhaps by integrating social tools into training activities and helping people to learn and work together)
    4. Help establish communities of practice (or ‘professional practice groups’ as one of the attendees suggested) – apparently this goes down better with managers than “let’s set up a social network”. These groups do need to be nurtured – “seed, feed and watered”
    5. Use social media for ‘performance consulting’ – this rather uncomfortable term means getting to the root of an apparent performance problem and finding a solution rather than automatically sending a colleague on a training course.
    6. Help people design and build their own solutions – help them to own the solution
    7. Help teams build social resources together – a nice example was given of rethinking induction and using social media to connect new staff with existing staff,  ask questions, and access key resources from day one rather than waiting for the next scheduled event.
    8. Build communities of practice into formal approaches – consider incorporating social media into formal training approaches (but take care to make sure that they are seamlessly integrated). Turn your Community of Learners into a Community of Practice!
    9. Integrate learning into the workflow – use the same tools for learning and you do for working.  Yammer was presented as a tool to allow people to share resources, ideas, ask questions, and to work in groups.
    10. Lead by example – use a supported, bottom-up approach. So we should be using social media to help staff develop their e-learning practice, demonstrating its value ourselves.  Watch this space!

    For chapter and verse see http://www.C4LPT.co.uk/10steps.html