For this week’s post, we’re delighted to have thoughts shared by Julian Stodd embedded within our discussion post. Julian is heavily involved in the development of e-learning and blended learning solutions, working at a strategic level with global clients to understand how their learning needs can be met. To read more about Julian, see his blog here.
As professionals in the field of learning and development, we frequently engage in online social media to learn new things, find new resources, discuss new approaches, discover new technologies, and generally improve ourselves to better meet the challenges we face today.
But are we using our social tools for maximum benefit? How effectively are we using them to increase the size and diversity of our team when creating a new program or improving an existing one? Consider a few of these truths in our business today:
- Our customer’s expectations seem to rise relative to resources available
- We increasingly need agility and adaptability [JS: Absolutely! Key point. This may be relevant: http://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/a-social-approach-to-learning-the-battle-between-agility-and-inflexibility/]
- Approaches to facilitating learning continue to expand and diversify, and no one of us is expert in all of them [JS: Yes, this brings to mind the importance of piloting new approaches rather than committing to huge projects in untested methodologies. Don’t let technology lead the drive, it’s about mindset. This may be relevant: http://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/informal-technology-social-learning/]
- A variety of solutions may meet any given need, but do we know which is best?
We’ve all been in this situation: faced with a deadline, there’s just not enough time to think through all the options or evaluate every alternative. We probably don’t have a team diverse enough to always think well outside the box to assure that (1) our concept of how to meet a particular need is appropriate and (2) that our planned design will be effective. This is especially true when doing something we and our team have never done before. The good news is there’s probably someone somewhere who has done it before–we just need to find them.
Some of us turn to our social networks for help, while others don’t or can’t – discussing plans in public places may not be appropriate in many situations. But another important place to turn to early in any development cycle – at the concept and planning stages – are online communities. There are dozens of such communities in the field of learning and development, virtually all free to join, and they’re populated by thousands or tens of thousands of members who work in the same field.
[JS: Thinking about how and why people engage in these spaces, for challenge and support, notions of social capital may be relevant too. Maybe this is of interest: http://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/social-learning-for-complex-tasks-performance-support-is-simple/]
How have you used your networks to improve your products and services? Are you among the tens of thousands of members in online communities? If so, how do they work for you? Join us Thursday, May 2 at 16:00BST/11:00EDT/08:00PDT to share your thoughts and discuss this further!