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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Learning Professionals Leaders

On this month's Big Question - Lead the Charge - we are already seeing some interesting responses.

The Learning Revolution: Where have all the leaders gone?
It's difficult to not agree with everything that's in Tony's post an my short answer would be: yes they should, and the good ones already are.
So, of course, I say, great post. :) There are some interesting thoughts in the post, but also
Most learning professionals can only do so much. There's a vacuum of leadership in the adoption of enterprise/web/learning 2.0 tools from learning professionals in senior positions and too many barriers put up by over-zealous HR and IT departments. Over 50% or organisations in the UK are still on Internet Explorer 6 and I've come across some that restrict javascript and all cookie. This makes using something like google docs or pbwiki as an experiment somewhat difficult for the poor, lonely learning professional.
I'm not sure I buy this. Is it okay for a learning professional to be unaware at this point of social media and its impact on learning and work? I can understand barriers to being able to put it into practice (and there are many barriers), but not barriers to being aware. My experience at ASTD recently was that most people were completely unaware of all of this. They have their head in the sand.

Harold Jarche in Skills 2.0:
Today, active involvement in informal learning, particularly through web-based communities, is key to remaining professional and creative in a field. Being a learning professional in a Web 2.0 world is becoming more about your network than your current knowledge.
Gina Minks: Adventures in Corporate Education What Competencies do Knowledge Workers Need?
How can you design with these new tools if you don’t understand them? How can you apply them to your existing systematic learning system if you don’t know what the heck wiki even means? So, yes, learning professionals must learn and use these tools, and then apply the tools to there existing framework.
She lists the tools and what you should know as:
  • Wikis: How to edit, how to read, how to link to
  • RSS Feeds: What are they, how do I read one, once I have a reader set up how do I scan info collecetd, how do I share info using one
  • Blogs: How do I write one. Why SHOULD I write one. How do I evaluate info from one. How do I scan, collect keywords, and rescan to crystallize ideas and information?
  • Information Creation tools: Exps: Youtube, SlideShare, Flickr. How do I use. Why/When do I use.
  • Tagging: What is this? Why is it important? How do I use with content I create? How do I use to search for info I need?
Great stuff Gina. And there are some good comments in her post including:
A lot of “us” learned these technologies organically, as we needed to. Trying to come up with ways to teach people them all at once is going to be challenging.

If you can come up with ways to show the results of the tools, that people who are attracted to the technology will find ways to learn the tools. Nobody cared about wikis until wikipedia came along. Nobody cared about RSS readers until information overload made them a necessity.

I think the thing we have to be careful of is teaching the tools outside of the benefits.

Clark Quinn - Learnlets: Lead the Charge? talks about how learning organizations must transition from
the perspective from a training group being an expendable cost-center to a learning capability that’s central to organizational effectiveness and performance.


Unknown said...

I already posted this comment on one of the blog posts that you linked to, but since I found it through you and it applies, I thought I would write it here too:

I would have to agree with you on the basis that leadership means knowing what will creating the biggest impact on learning for the most students, teachers, parents and any other stakeholder you can think of. I would have to say that web 2.0 tools that allow communities to form around learning are the only way that e-learning will break free from a lecture-based model that is being touted by so many companies as education reform. Anyway, yes. Let's lead the charge. At least, that is what I am trying to do for our online school eDCSD: Online Learning for Douglas County

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

I perhaps wasn't as clear in my post as I could have been - I'll blame it on a long train journey :-). When I say a learning professional can only do so much, I'm meaning from the perspective of encouraging organisational uptake. I don't believe that a learning professional could call themselves as such without being aware of all the latest developments in learning methods /approaches. However, helping to develop new work literacies in the workplace does require support from leadership in key areas of the organisation.

It's an interesting topic, thanks for kicking it off.

Anonymous said...

Most of the multinational companies today open up a software development company of their own. The profits generated in the IT sector in general and in software development in particular augured by the factors like offshore software development and outsourcing have spurred the multinational companies to make the most of this trend.