With the recent launch of InGenius by SkillSoft, I believe it’s time again to raise a pretty important question:
Where do Social Learning Tools belong? Should they be coupled with your LMS or other learning-specific tools? Or should they be separated? Or ????
My contention (as expressed in LMS and Social Learning) is that most of the vendors are getting this wrong. Instead of looking at providing tightly coupled Social Learning Tools, they should instead be looking at how their offering can integrate or leverage Enterprise 2.0 tools. Using David Wilkins diagram:
We are talking about how formal (or informal) can leverage tools that employees will be using outside of the context of learning. This could be: SharePoint, Yammer, Confluence, etc.
John Ambrose in Social Learning Will Fill Enterprise 2.0’s Empty Drums discussed part of the strategy with InGenius. It’s finding content that can fill the empty drums of enterprise 2.0 tools when they are first rolled out. I agree with John that rolling out an empty Wiki or other enterprise 2.0 tool often leads to poor uptake. So having something that can serve as base content, makes sense. But I have trouble with two aspects of the InGenius solution:
- It ties social interaction to books (and eventually other learning resources). It’s clearly the Amazon model.
- It is local to the InGenius solution. If an organization has SharePoint and InGenius, my preference would be that social interaction occurs in SharePoint. InGenius should integrate into SharePoint. Employees don’t want to have multiple social solutions that do similar things – one for learning and one for working.
As a side note, Skillsoft is trying really hard to get Social Learning to be SEOed to their inGenius product. I hope that people find Jane Hart’s Handbook or they find resources from eLearning Learning’s Social Learning page. Trying to extrapolate from a single product like inGenius is going to be hard for most people to understand social learning.
While I’m being critical of Skillsoft’s product as it currently stands, I do applaud their efforts to embrace social learning and add to the conversation. As an example …
- Cross-generational appeal
- Discovery of knowledgeable colleagues
- Shared best practices and capture of tacit knowledge
- Intuitive to use and easy to roll-out
- Enhance learning programs
- Respect for privacy
- Ownership of user-generated content
- Safe, trusted, proven environment
I would add to this:
- Obvious value
- Same tools as your work tools
When we talk about Social Software Adoption it follows the formulas described in
Adoption Rate = Perceived Usefulness (PU) * Perceive Ease of Use (PEOU)
So, Pam’s right on ease-of-use (or perceived ease-of-use). But you have to also have perceived value. And that’s what I learned from Selling Social Learning – Be a Jack.
I would also claim that perceived value and real value are closely related to the tools being the same tools you use as part of day-to-day work. A separate set of tools greatly diminishes the on-going value (perceived and actual).