The Internet Time Alliance believes that learning is becoming so embedded in working, that we need to be thinking more of it as as "working smarter". As the Working Smarter Fieldbook, compiled by Jay Cross, explains
"Working smarter is the key to sustainability and continuous improvement. Knowledge work and learning to work smarter are becoming indistinguishable. The accelerating rate of change in business forces everyone in every organization to make a choice: learn while you work or become obsolete."
Much of this change in workplace learning is coming about due to the increasing use of social media by individuals and teams to address their own learning and performance problems. For many, of course, this is known as "social learning".
"Should social learning be led by cross-division teams or should it be ”owned” by a specific division/group?"
This is Marcia's answer:
"The idea any group or cross-division team can own social learning is like asking one department to be responsible for organizational health.
The only people who can own social learning are the individuals who themselves are learning each day, from one another, based on their work and in the flow of work.
One department can set strategy and review tools, and even document and advertise healthy social learning practices, but at the point when they give the impression it is their responsibility to manage the learning, they step back in time to an age when we thought training (or knowledge management, or human capital development, or..) was a discreet set of activities and events that could be turned on and off like a light switch.
Rather, learning and collaboration are ongoing actions taken by individuals in concert with one another to produce something greater than anyone alone could create. And that is owned by (and directed by) every individual all of the time. Remove the obstacles in people’s paths to do what is hardwired into their DNA—to learn together to grow strong—and you’ll find it creates healthy organizations where social learning is their lifeblood."
For me, this answer makes perfect sense. But this then raises a further question; in the NEW Social Learning Workplace - where we are all "working smarter" - and taking responsibility for our learning, what is this going to mean for the role of the workplace learning professional?
In Part 2 of my State of Workplace Learning article, I suggest that there is a significant role here for workplace learning professionals to foster, encourage and support (rather than manage!) NEW Workplace Learning, and I offer a number of ways in which this might happen, e.g
- Encouraging and supporting individuals' and teams' self-sufficiency in order to address their own learning and performance problems
- Helping to develop autonomous "smart workers" - in terms of the new skills and tools they will need
- Providing performance consulting services, where individuals need support in working smarter
- Developing an open, enabling culture for working and learning
All this will in itself require NEW skills of workplace learning professionals themselves. As I point out in my own article, I believe ...
"workplace learning profressionals will need to expand and enlarge their skillset. They will need to move from those focused on designing, delivering and evaluating formal training, towards enabling and supporting a working smarter environment which requires a deeper understanding of the way that their business works.
One thing is clear, that as the world continues to move forward at an alarming rate, knowledge and skills will change fast; there will therefore be a need for workplace learning professionals to practice what they preach and keep themselves continuously updated in this fast moving field."
One key skill is also clear: a good
understanding and use of
social media and how it can be effectively used in the
workplace will be essential. Social media is not something you just talk or
read about; it's something you do. This is the reason I developed my
How to use Social Media for your job - in 30 days
online programme to help those new to social media get started.
But what other skills will the NEW workplace learning professional need to have in order to support working smarter and the NEW social learning?