Excellent take-a-ways from the Elliot Masie Learning 2008 conference in Orlando. We were not in a “vendor” role (although once a vendor always a vendor). I was a learner. I have some great insight into the momentum in virtual world learning, social mediaÂ and mobile learning. Here is a brief summary of interesting “facts” (personal opinion I admit) from a buffet of sessions:
- 59% said that less than 20% of workers have “from home” option - this is going to change fast
- 50% said that gaming is their learning future
- 49% do not use social networks in the workplace
- 20% of crowd had an Avatar in Second Life
- Mobile Learning Sessions @ Capacity
- Virtual World Sessions @ Capacity
- Social Responsibility and Green topics â€“ in every timeslot
- Building â€œe modulesâ€ faster is a must
- Smaller companies are doing more with less employees
As intrigued as I was about the new use of innovative Web 2.0 and mobile technologies en route to the pursuit of accelerated learning, theÂ more broadly applicable messagesÂ seemed to stick. Specifically, the messages from a handful of thought leaders. Dr. Stephen Covey led a discussion around the Speed of TRUST. It was thought-provoking. It was also a validation to our commitment of “Inspiring Success and Innovation throught Trust and Partnership.”
It strikes me that most of us don’t consider trust a competency. And, how do we truly find people who are trustworthy and how do we execute on trust. Transparency builds trust. Arch Lustberg (a Leading CEO and Political coach) emphasized how trust is built with an “open face”, eye contact and the sincerity of your body language. I have believed in this for some time - you can’t fake being trustworthy. At least, not over time. You either hold the virtue near and dear to your heart or you don’t. Now, there is hope.
Dr. Covey, contrary to popular belief, feels that trust can be taught and learned. Not easy, but it can be done. Your character dictates if you have a “character of good intent.” Then, do you behave in ways to build trust? Like the progress bar in our eLearning courses, it would be great if we had a “trust bar” above everyone’s head, indicating their trustworthiness. Trustworthy people talk straight, speak with sincerity, can shut up and listen, and constantly “right their wrongs.”
One final thought…
Schooling has confused us into thinking that learning was equivalent to pouring content into peopleâ€™s heads. Itâ€™s more practical to think of learning as optimizing our networks.â€ (Jay Cross)
LMS’ organize by topic, the internet organizes by tasks. Organizations are going to have absolutely no choice but to organize their learning differently. Any resistance is futile, and any barriers must be overcome. At minimum, Generation Y will demand the change. But, it is not just a Gen Y phenomenon. Once other generations achieve learning in this fashion, they don’t go back. Microsoft’s new internal learning function Academy Mobile has a mantra - “Do You Dare to Share”. They believe, that no one person has the only version of the “truth”.
I have spent a lot of time this week discussing the evolving corporate learning challenges presented by Web 2.0 and the growing influence of social networking. There is wisdom in the “crowd”. Many of us, however, fear the “crowd”. If memory serves me, the corporate “we” also feared fax machines, email, and the internet, all within the last 20 years. The “crowd” is now ever-present in this Web 2.0 universe. Thought leaders are not running for the exits or erecting fences, rather they are embracing the opportunity to harness the wisdom of the “crowd”. Mzinga has now successfully published the first truly crowd-authored book. - a book authored by thousands, and assembled in a cohesive final copy.
Dell, Intel, and Ace Hardware, to name a few, have taken to the community to share, to teach, to author, to design and to improve. Web 2.0 is now Learning 2.0. Intel has published two year results indicating over 5,000 authors of new learning content.
However, the prevailing corporate attitude still remains pessimistic and guarded. “What will the say?”; “Who will see it?”; “How will we control what they say?”; “What if they say something wrong?”. On the surface, valid concerns. The reality is that social networking, workplace informal communities, airing dirty laundry… it is all happening anyway. The innovators are finding a way to learn, adapt and leverage.
Running in parallel to the new Web 2.0 communities we are faced with the reality of Generational Differences in the workplace. Increasingly, the Gen Y’s are making up a significant proportion of the workplace. They are driving this change in how students now learn.
I suggest a learning strategy that involves the historically popular blended components - classroom, job aids, eLearning modules, job shadowing, etc…. and of course - let’s always be thinking about business metrics. This next generation of learning leadership will consider the wisdom of the “crowd” and their mobile device capabilities to ensure optimum results. Be careful about too much resistance in the short term. It is happening all around you.