Social Media

I’m writing a series of e-learning for my company on Social Media. More than any other training that I’ve created or written, this has really got me thinking. Where is this going?

I remember a few years ago when I first got into the L&D field that CBT (computer-based training) was becoming all the rage. Remember how we used to take pdf files and put them on a CD ROM and mail them out to users? But, this was revolutionary! For the first time in decades, there was a new way of learning – one that didn’t involve a human guiding your through your learning experience.

Just as we were starting to realize that for all of the apparent cost-savings of CBTs, the learning experience was terrible, along came WBT (web-based training), or e-learning. The internet was growing, and L&D was growing right along with it.

However, as we noticed with CBTs, a lot of WBT was really horrible learning experiences…we’d adapted to the flash and glitz of new technologies, but we hadn’t adapted our methodologies. Actually, now that I come to think of it, most ILT (instructor-led training) that I’ve been to has been pretty grim as well! Who doesn’t have the horror stories of the SME who “ums” their way through the session…or the person who just reads Powerpoint slide after slide to you with no further explanation!

So I guess the question is – are we going to take our bad habits of the past and move them into the future? Social Media, as I’ve learned, is here. It may not be here long, but it’s here, and there is no ignoring it. So how do we use it to make good training? Personally, my preference right now is to use it to extend the training experience — create communities of practice. Think of this — instead of using the Parking Lot for unanswered questions, can we Twitter them to the community to get an answer real-time? Rather than slaving over a how-to manual that is out-dated before the first class, can we have the learners use a wiki to build the training materials as they learn the material? And to update the material as changes happen? 

In corporate America, most learning happens over the cube wall — and Social Media is ideal for learning professionals to harness that informal learning and use it! Why should we re-create the wheel when it’s being passed over cube walls and through emails? 

I’m still in my learning stages of Social Media, but as work teams become more diverse and remote, we need ways to help them function as teams, learn as teams, and to interact with each other. And that is what Social Media gives us.

I’ll let you know how my Twitter and LinkedIn courses go, and if we even try for Facebook.

About Tricia Ransom

Patricia Ransom: wife, daughter, friend. Learning, laughing, living. Chicago, Illinois, downstate. Townie, urbanite, traveller. Note: The opinions expressed on this blog belong solely to me and should not be assumed to reflect the opinions of any of my employers past, current, or future.
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