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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Good Questions Identify eLearning 2.0 Opportunities

I'm a big fan of questions (see Better Questions for Learning Professionals) and as I'm preparing a workshop (Revolution in Workplace Learning) one of the things I stumbled upon is what seems to be a great new question:
Given that eLearning 2.0 (web 2.0, wikis, blogs, social networking, etc.) represents new ways of supporting learning and work ... as a learning professional, what are the new questions that I need to ask as part of analysis?
There must be new questions that we need to ask in order to figure out if and how eLearning 2.0 approaches apply to given performance improvement needs.

In this post, I want to focus on questions that will help identify if there are opportunities for using eLearning 2.0 approaches as part of your performance intervention.

I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this. Some of the questions that come to mind that I would use to:

Identify eLearning 2.0 Opportunities:

Content -
  • What content is already shared through other means? Ex. are lessons learned discussed, or work-arounds.
  • Is there information that can be created and shared coming from either a 3rd party (e.g., a help desk, experts, etc.) or from the audience itself?
  • What content gets updated more frequently?
  • What reference material is already being created that might be a target?
Audiences -
  • Who has the pain?
  • Who's going through an experience that they would want to share?
  • Who is able and active enough to use the tools to create content?
  • Does it align with their motivation or can it be aligned with their motivation?
  • Are there natural content creators that we could leverage?
So, what questions do you ask to identify eLearning 2.0 opportunities?


B.J. Schone said...

Hi Tony,

Great topic. I definitely see the transition from the old way of doing things (ex. "What system can we implement...") to the new way (ex. "How can we leverage what we already have..."). One question might be: How do people access information (and how do they learn) outside of work? Oftentimes people are using tools and technologies outside of work that are far more advanced and interesting than what the organization offers.

Another question may be: How can we mine extant data to make better connections? Can we look at common interests, skill sets, degrees, etc. of our employees and help them better connect with others in the organization with similar profiles? (Think of this as a jump-start to social networking within the organization...)

I'm anxious to hear what others have to say.

Anonymous said...

good one, but give us more on this topic

Unknown said...


Interesting question. I have been using and fine tuning a survey for my implementation of projects. I hope you find this helpful.

Let me know what you think. Best, Ray

Unknown said...

Tony, This is the actual link of the survey.

Prashant Dobriyal said...

Hi Tony,

That's a great set of surveys Ray has posted. I look at it and I am reminded of: How many learners can currently be put in the category of Web 2.0 users?

I communicate with many corporates across the world and haven't come across more than a handful of Learning Managers who are into Web 2.0 or eLearning 2.0. We can imagine the number of learners who would be eLearning 2.0 savvy.

An important question to ask is whether we are looking for an eLearning 2.0 solution or a complete program? Whether there's complete buy-in from the leadership or not? Till eLearning 2.0 becomes a way of life (which will probably happen soon), training the trainers, L&D Managers, and learners needs to be a part of the program.

V Yonkers said...

I read this last night and have been going over it in my head trying to figure out what bothers me about these questions.

I feel part of the problem is that these questions (as most training is) are at a micro level whereas I feel we should be looking at the macro level.

I think I would look at the systemic approach more:

1. How does your organization define "training"? Where does it fit into the strategic management plan? At what levels are training needs identified? (employee-self analysis, HR-organizational level, Manager-departmental level, or a combination)?

2. How is training (including needs, tools, and outcomes)assessed, monitored, and recorded? In the case of the last (recorded) is there a systematic way in which individual training is kept track of or is training only recorded according to the training programs offered?

3. What model of training does your company currently use and why? (this will give you indication of their philosophy of learning and therefore, their expectations of "good training")?

4. What communication and technology tools do you expect your workers to be proficient in using? What tools and technology do you think your workers are proficient in using?

5. What are some areas that you feel your organization could be better at doing? How have you addressed this with training in the past? Was it effective? Why or why not? (Often, the company will have called you in because of a problem they are having and they have developed the training as a solution, when perhaps there is a deeper problem at the root--learning how to write better e-mails is not a solution if the real problem is that some people have a phobia in using electronic communication).

Taking these questions, then will give you a good basis for presenting eLearning 2.0 solutions but in the context of how it can help the corporation. For example, if there is no system for monitoring personal learning, this should be set up before a personal learning system is developed. This will allow individuals to gain credit for their initiative and motivate them to learn things that will be to the advantage of the organization (who will be paying for the training or making time available for the employee to learn on their own). The New York Civil service system does this and becomes a great incentive as training helps employees gain promotions.

Anonymous said...

I like the two categories of questions: Audiences and Content. Do you think it would be helpful to add "Activities" as a third category? It seems that asking questions to figure out what the learner is supposed to do with what information could drive 2.0 opportunities.

To piggyback off of elearninggadda's comment, I am mostly coming at this from an e-learning solution perspective, not a program strategy.

So beginning with "What do you want learners to do?" there might be certain questions to ask to distinguish a 2.0 opportunity.

For example, suppose I am teaching a specific problem-solving process. I know that it is best done in teams over a period of time. So using a team wiki or blog might be a good way for the team to collaborate and post their lessons-learned online. Activities could be designed for 2.0, and results could be posted to benefit other teams with similar problems.

If another course requires just recall of information (booooo!!), I might not see a compelling need for 2.0.