Twitter and Training and Thoughts

So a classmate of mine just asked if he could interview me for a course. Of course I said yes – who doesn’t feel that oomph in your gut when someone flatters you enough to want to interview you?  So then I got to thinking, why would anyone want to interview me about anything? And you know what? I think I’d interview me! I have years of experience, which means I have years of stories about what not to do!

Seriously, we had a great conversation moving from how to use Twitter and Social Media in training to the state of our industry to recruiters and candidate care to PhD programs. Of course, I had an opinion on all of it!

So let’s talk more about Twitter and Training. He asked how to use Twitter in training, especially in a corporate setting. You know, that’s a hard one. I think that for instances where an organization as a whole is going through a shared experience (for example, in a power company when a storm hits and lines are down),  they can use Twitter to push out links to relevant information to help everyone keep up-to-date and on the same page.

But what about more ordinary corporate learning? The old-fashioned ILT type of learning? Does Twitter have a place there? I’m not sure. I can see it being great to help create and grow Communities of Practice, say for an induction training program. I can also see it used with a geographically disperse group to communicate things such as “look on our wiki, I’ve updated it” or “Who’s responsible for the presentation”. But I haven’t seen or heard of a way that it will replace what we currently have, like PowerPoint. In my humble opinion, it’s an additional tool to use, not the only tool.

Having said that, I do think that Twitter has profoundly changed the way we communicate. I’m not just talking about the 140 character limit. What I mean is the shift in the patterns of communication. We now put stuff out there and wait for others to comment or act on it. Click here to read my detailed thoughts on it. My point is that with Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) we can communicate with others on our terms and our time…we don’t have to have an immediate conversation – it can last seconds or days and can grow or shrink at will.

So, let’s loop this back to delivering learning if at all possible. What does this communication on our terms mean for delivering training? I think that we must use creativity to develop learning which incorporate the changes wrought by Twitter and other Social Media. For example, no more 5-day sessions with a single instructor and a 200 slide PowerPoint.

The questions to ask ourselves are:

How can we use Social Media, or aspects of it in our training?

Can we have shorter chunks?

What about many people facilitating extremely brief segments?

Can we have open conversations rather than presentations?

Can we deliver it electronically rather than face-to-face?

Do we prefer to see each other instead of a computer screen?

Is there technology or a process or a theory that can help guide our efforts?

These are questions I don’t necessarily have answers for, and which will change depending on your client. However, I think they are well worth exploring. In fact, I’m going to try to incorporate some of these ideas with my next training session. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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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