Wednesday, August 27, 2008

groundswell - confirming my e-Learning 2.0 ideas

I recently finished listening to the audiobook, groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Of course there is nothing in it that talks about e-Learning 2.0. But that has been my point all along for the last 5 years of my career. So let me make it again so we are all clear:

Social Media is changing EVERYTHING!

Everything is turned upside down from everything we've known and done in the past. In years past implementing technology cost millions of dollars. And more often then not it took so long to get right that corporate culture had plenty of time to adjust. That is if it really had too.

Today, the technology is CHEAP and fast to implement. groundswell has plenty of case studies to share. The tough part is getting the people to catch up. groundswell makes this point beautifully as well.

Don't lock yourself into thinking that e-Learning 2.0 is something YOU need to be implementing. Step 1 is simply looking around your organization. Talk with your IT Buddy. You have an IT buddy don't you? Is there an Enterprise Wiki available, like Intelpedia at Intel Corp. ? (Josh Bancroft of Intel gets excellent kudos in the book...way to go Josh!) Or how about an enterprise blogging system? Better yet, is there a social network similar to facebook lurking behind your firewall that hasn't been announced yet?

Or maybe you are have MS Sharepoint. Did you know that Sharepoint now creates RSS feeds and offers a lot of Web2.0-ish functionality?

The point is that Social Media is changing ALL aspects of BUSINESS. All you need to do is be ahead of the curve. As Charlene and Josh put it "get inside the groundswell." If you are already there then you will see the learning opportunities staring you in the face. If you are left on the outside looking in then level of training and consulting will ever get you up to speed.

Social Media is hands-on: Get in or you're OUT! Look into "reverse mentoring" as part of your change management strategy. That's where you get the early adopters (typically younger, newer employees) who "get it" help the late adopters get into the game.


  1. If you are VERY new to all of this start with ClueTrain Manifesto, then read Naked Conversations, then read groundswell.
  2. If you are already onboard and excited about social media and just need some practical tips on how to get started, then go straight to groundswell.

DevLearn 2008 Conference & Expo - November 10-14 - San Jose, CA


Anonymous said...

"That's where you get the early adopters (typically younger, newer employees) who "get it" help the late adopters get into the game." Tony Karrer recently wrote a post where he highlighted that the education was ahead of the corporate in terms of adoption. Guess who the early adopters are? Not the younger people -- most early adopter that I'm networking with and who are helping out others are over 40's plus.

The young don't necessarily "get it" :) Doesn't help that the media has spent years highlighting the negative aspects and dangers of social networking.

bschlenker said...

Maybe "get it" isn't actually the right way to put it. I certainly fall into the over 40 category and find myself doing lots of coaching.
So, maybe I shouldn't generalize so much. I like calling myself a knowledge broker. I like getting information from the people who have it and getting it to the people who need it.
So in this case as with all others lets just say anyone who is currently using the tools outside of work will be your greatest asset in managing the organizational change required in the coming years.
How does that sound?

subquark said...

The one thing for sure is that everything changes regularly. We tend to get caught up in the latest technology and sometimes forget about the content. In other words, some people focus more on delivery methods, including managers and decision makers of elearning departments.

For the end user, the one who I prefer to focus on, it does not matter what is doing the delivery as long as the content is achieving the best results it can (which indeed is affected by delivery).

For example, I don't think many people care what cameras were used to film Lord of the Rings, or what software was used for special effects. What is important is that there is a story to tell and that the makers of the movie were able to deliver it well.

Another great example is (saw your post on his video). He does an excellent job delivering instruction using very low tech props. He focuses on the objective and delivers his points exceedingly well. Is it interactive? Nope, just a play button. He has spent 5 years to get his "look" down and uses excellent equipment and very deliberate methodology, but it points to his focus on how the end user learns from his videos.

My passion is for Second Life, and not as a direct delivery tool, but as an easy (and cheap) film studio. I can make sets that never need maintenance, have actors that never age, and wardrobe that never gets lost. I would love to make an analogy to Lee leFever in that I use a simple to access medium to deliver the elearning at my company. But Lee is a true genious who executes his content so well.

Rather than cut outs and well thought out hand gestures, I use Second Life as a studio to punch up eLearning (lol, my DevLearn08 plug). It's cheap and relatively easy with the right tools. I have tried my hand at Lee LeFever type interactions and even made a Second Life land buying guide as a test project. Unfortunately, in attempting to "not" look like a complete ripoff of Common Craft, it comes accross as a poor copy.

Regarding your comment about Groundswell: "That's where you get the early adopters (typically younger, newer employees) who "get it" help the late adopters get into the game." I may also have to beg to differ. I think if you are truly passionate about reaching your learners, that creates the drive and motivation to look at all tools as they come on the scene. In that respect, I know that in my experience, I am the one pushing for exploration of these things more than anyone else in my department (all younger than me). Even after a presentation showing how Zappo's uses Twitter, buy in was difficult and Twitter is still viewed here as novel.

It's all about teaching and facilitating the learning process. If that means standing on a table, or using whatever is "next" in Web2.0; bring it on! Thanks for the great post! :)

bschlenker said...

Thanks for joining the conversation SubQuark! Extremely valuable insights. I think I've learned my lesson with regards to generalizing "age" in any of these tech conversations. The truth is as an over-40 geek, I don't fall into my own generalizations. And the more I get into this and talk with youth, the more I realize how CLUELESS many of them are. Sure they text on the cell phones. But only a rare few TWITTER, Flickr, blog, or wiki.

I love the idea of SecondLife as a studio. I can't wait to find time to engage more with that.

Great comments. Thanks for sharing!