Please note that although I re-post material here from time to time this is not my main blog. Please visit Learning in the Social Workplace to keep up to date with news about learning trends, technologies and tools
Communities of Practice have become a bit of buzzword in corporate training recently; everyone seems to be setting them up.
I've been running online communities (of different types) for many years now, and it's important to point out that it requires a different set of skills to set one up and support one than to create a piece of e-learning! What's more, if done properly, it requires a significant time investment in terms of maintaining it on an ongoing basis.
Here are 10 pieces of advice that I give to those who are thinking of setting up an online community.
Be clear about the purpose of the Community
Use the most appropriate technology to host your Community
Be clear about who owns the Community
Invite some friendly early users to test out your Community
Consider a viral launch for your Community
Make sure you show people how participating in the Community can become part of their daily routine
Keep the Community alive and vibrant
Understand that not everyone will contribute to the Community
Be as much a participant as a Community Manager
Do not underestimate the time it takes to nurture a Community
For many, many years now the role of the L&D department has been to take charge of what and how people learn in the organisation. They create the content, deliver it to the people (in a classroom or via computer) and manage the outcomes. However, things are changing. Many people now make use of online tools and services to address their own learning and performance problems quickly and easily. As a consequence, key features of this new approach to learning are that it is autonomous, small/short, continuous, on demand, social and takes place anywhere on any device.
This independent approach to learning is either viewed as inconsequential by the L&D department, or as a threat to the work they do. However, rather than being incompatible, these two streams are actually complementary learning forces. They are interconnected and interdependent and they interrelate and support - rather than conflict - with one another. We might even refer to them as the yin and yang of modern workplace learning!
In other words rather than dismissing these new approaches to learning, we might ask these two questions?
How can we encourage and enable independent approaches to personal and team learning to enhance the work people do – bearing in mind that in this fast-moving world we can’t provide everything, everybody needs.
How can we provide the things people really need to know and be able to do in their jobs (via training/e-learning)– but use more modern approaches to do so.
(1) involves a re-focus from building new content to building new skills and helping individuals and teams develop independent modern learning strategies to learn for themselves, and "bring the outside in", i.e. introduce new ideas, new thinking and new resources into their organisation.
(2) involves modernising existing face-to-face and online training approaches, to bring them inline with the new ways that people are learning - essentially by considering these questions.
How can we support more autonomy in learning?
How can we enable shorter learning experiences?
How can we encourage ongoing learning?
How can we support learning at the point of need?
How can we balance the need for authoritative content and knowledge sharing?
If you are interested in updating your organisation's approach to workplace learning, and don't want to start a revolution, but rather prefer to introduce change gradually, why not join the Modernise Workplace Learning Online Symposium, which is taking place from 19 May for 4 weeks.
Every day I share links to great blog posts and articles I find on Twitter. I'm very discriminating in that I don't just share everything I come across, but only share things that say something new or different about the current or future state of learning in the workplace or education.
At the end of the month I aggregate these links in my 2014 Reading List and review them, selecting my MUST READs for the month. If you've not got enough time to read all of the ones I've bookmarked, just go for the "must reads".
In my last post I wrote how for many people the way to move their organisation from outdated, traditional training practices towards modern approaches to learning was not to take the “big bang” approach but make small, incremental changes.
In this post I want to look at what that means by first considering the disconnect between current (face-to-face and online) training practices and the way many are now learning.