25 years ago today, on 12 March 1989, the British scientist Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal to develop a distributed information system for CERN, and in doing so lay down the foundation for what was to become the World Wide Web.
In the ensuing 25 years there can be few people whose lives haven’t been influenced by the Web in some way or other. But how has it changed the way we learn?
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about the Learning Flow.In the first post I discussed the concept of a Learning Flow - as a continuous steady stream of social micro-learning activities, in the second I talked about the user experience and in the third I considered three types of Learning Flow.
In the third of this series of blog posts about Learning Flows, I take a look at three types of Learning Flow and provide some examples of Learning Flows hosted on different activity stream platforms - including our Twitter-daily-learning-news-related based Learning Flow.
Remember, a Learning Flow is not just about delivering bite-sized nuggets of content, but encouraging short social learning experiences.
In my last post I described the concept of a Learning Flow as a continuous steady stream of social micro-learning activities, and explained how this new learning framework lies between the instructionally designed course and the unstructured knowledge sharing of teams, groups and communities that takes place in public activity streams and enterprise social networks.
But what advantages does a Learning Flow bring to the individual? In this post I compare the user experience with that of the traditional online course (or e-learning) and participation in activity streams.
Learning is a process not an event. Learning is a destination not a journey.
We’ve heard all this for years, and yet the facts remain the same – the way that we help people learn revolves around events in the form of (a defined package of content) aka courses, where the focus still is firmly on the destination - the completion of the course - as a measure of success.
But in the age of Facebook and Twitter, and now Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) like Yammer and Jive - where at the heart lies an activity stream that is used for a continuous stream of knowledge exchange, there is a place for a new learning framework - one that lies between the formal, instructionally designed course and the unstructured knowledge sharing of teams, groups and communities. We call this a Learning Flow.
A Learning Flow is a continuous steady stream of social micro-learning activities - accessible from the web and mobile devices
Let's look at each of the elements of that sentence, that describe a Learning Flow
continuous – ongoing (ie no end date)
steady - daily (or probably more likely, weekdaily)
micro-learning – short – ie taking no longer than 15-20 minutes to undertake
activities – that involve reading (watching or listening to) something and doing something
social – that invite and encourage active participation and contribution
stream - that are organised and structured in the Flow in weekly themes
accessible from web and mobile devices – to ensure that learning can take place anywhere and at anytime
For individual users being present in a Learning Flow means
having some help to navigate the turbulent waters of a fast flowing stream of (new) knowledge
retaining control over how and when they get involved, and how they fit it into their daily workload - autonomy is a key element of participation.
Learning Flows are suitable for:
Enterprise use - to provide ongoing updating of teams or groups
Educational use - to provide an extra dimension to academic subjects - probably alongside a formal curriculum
Professional use - for generic topics of interest in areas like Marketing, Leadership, L&D, etc, where it is vital to keep up with new knowledge and practices.
If you're interested in experiencing a Learning Flow, we've already got a couple of Learning Flows underway for L&D professionals - with more to come:
If you're interested in offering Learning Flows in your own organisation, the beauty is that they require no special learning platforms to set up and deliver. You can use any platform where there is an activity stream, e.g. a platform like Twitter or FB or an ESN like Yammer or Jive. If you want to find out more, we offer a Learning Flow on Setting up and leading a Learning Flow where we have weekly themes on Learning Flow scaffolding and preparation, micro-learning activity design, managing and evaluating a Flow.
However, in a couple of further blog posts on this topic I will take a look at the anatomy of a Learning Flow, as well as consider the User Experience and the role of Learning Professionals in their design and delivery.
There’s a lot of talk about the role of L&D in performance support – which has mainly focused on moving content creation efforts from courses to resources. But dealing with performance improvement is more than creating a lot of job aids.