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October 24, 2012

Social...Social...Social...if you say it enough people will believe it.

It has been all about social learning this year. The thing is...nobody is really doing it. I have heard from many companies/peers and while there is some social aspect to what everyone is doing, there appears to be no real social learning happening out there.

Well...let me rephrase that...there is no "designed" social learning out there. Tons of folks are learning via social networks, peer groups, communities, informal networking...etc. but none if it seems to be orchestrated by companies or learning departments.

I went to a session where Masie was saying that we are barely at the beginning of chapter 1 whenever it comes to social learning. I tend to believe this analysis. I think that we in our field focus too much energy on trying to push social learning that we forget to reflect on what the learner really wants...content and context in the format they choose.

Personally, I think it is too early to try and ram social learning down the throats staff. I think that we need to step back and even (dare I say this) put on our instructional design hats and focus our attentions on analysis of learner needs and also on how they use technology to support their learning.

Lots has been discussed about communities of practice, but communities can only live if the learner wants them. We talk about incentives to spur participation in communities, but is this really what we want.
Do we want false participation in a community or a social learning platform because someone wants a chunk of chocolate or a gift card? The WIIFM with social learning and communities is not a badge or some reward. The WIIFM needs to be related to some sort of intrinsic reward that the learner benefits from...not some extrinsic token.

All that said...how do we move forward with social learning. My answer is that I think we wait. Or...at least we do lots of analysis before we make any steps into this.

Nothing I have seen, here, this week has knocked my socks of. Nobody is doing anything revolutionary or interesting in the field of social learning. There is definitely a huge opportunity out there, but we need the learners to drive this.

All we can do is keep both eyes open, follow trends and then jump in when the learner seems ready to have us.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by rasober at October 24, 2012 09:10 AM

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