Someone once said “there’s nothing new under the sun”. Except maybe format changes. With social learning being one of the buzzwords today, here are a few thoughts on the topic.
Is social learning a new thing? Cut back to the past, where cavemen gathered around their evening fires, telling each other stories of their hunt, also sharing a couple of best practices on hunting techniques and challenges no doubt. Less experienced huntsmen huddled around, lapping up all the collective wisdom being shared, getting ready for the day when they would be able to start recounting their stories toinspire, teach, and of course to brag.
Fast forward to the present. Has a lot changed? Technology-wise, everything of course – we are not using a sharpened stone to carve our success stories on the walls of caves, but are broadcasting them within our communities of practice using sophisticated discussion and collaboration tools. The sharing of our experiences continues, like never before. Web 2.0 and social media has changed the way users ‘talk’ to each other, individually and within a community of fellow users. Our powerful collaboration and communications tools such as discussion boards, live chat, virtual classrooms, journals, groups and blogs, enable connections between like-minded individuals around the world. We congregate around virtual evening fires, warm our hands, recount our stories, share our problems, get opinions from experts within our communities of practice, celebrate our successes and learn from each other’s failures. So what’s new? Nothing- and yet everything, in a sense. It’s still all about participating with others and engaging with them to co-create value and arrive at shared understanding and meaning. That said, technology has been a game changer as far as the reach and format of our learning and sharing goes.
So welcome to the brave old world of social learning -of the people, by the people, for the people -that’s the simple beauty of it all. Now we come to the interesting aspect of it – How do we harness the power of social learning and integrate it into our eLearning solutions? Thoughts anyone?