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Saturday, January 21, 2012

3 Social Learning Trends to Watch in 2012

Stumbled across this article this morning. I can't help but think that 2012 is the new 2009. 
SO MANY of these conversations were occurring on the twitter three even four years ago. 
Saying that, I still think it is a really good thing to have these conversations and ideas taken to the next level.
It seems businesses have always tried to find ways to leverage employees personal knowledge and strengths in their organization. What we have now is access to "read, reflect, and share" quickly, and across multiple platforms with folks both inside and outside of our organization. This allows us to push back and glean ideas from and with one another in an unthreatening and productive way. 
It's going to be important for us to find the tools and spaces that are the most easy to use and pliable with what we want to share. I'm thinking that we need the ability to layer permissions when sharing and collaborate for these spaces to be useful.
"Here are three of the developing topics that combine social with learning — and should be worth integrating in your business during this year."
3 Social Learning Trends to Watch in 2012

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about ... Read more

1. Social Learning

Tony Bingham , president and CEO of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), is leading the discussion about defining social learning. “Social learning is learning with and from others, often — but not always — with social media tools,” Bingham explains. “Social learning is a powerful approach to sharing and discovering a whole array of options, leading to more informed decision-making and a more intimate, expansive and dynamic understanding of the culture and context in which we work.”
There are many benefits to incorporating social learning into an organization: “Incorporating social learning creates networks of knowledgeable people to work across time and space to make informed decisions and solve complex problems,” Bingham says. “Learning happens more quickly and broadly. Innovation happens faster. And tacit knowledge can be retained and reused.”
Companies are paying attention to the benefits. In ASTD’s research report ,Transforming Learning with Web 2.0 Technologies, findings indicate that 87% of respondents predict that in the next three years, their companies are more likely to use Web 2.0 technologies than they currently do. Bingham offers several examples of how companies are applying social learning in his book, The New Social Learning .

2. Social Networking Techniques

While defining social learning is still a work in progress, many trainers are using social networking platforms to create activities and exercises for their programs.Jane Bozarth , eLearning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina and author of Social Media for Trainers explains how using social networks can enhance training: “Social media tools help to amplify the social and informal learning already going on in organizations all the time, every day, and make the learning available on a much larger scale. They provide ways to connect talent pools and expertise in an organization or within a practice area, and can offer just-in-time solutions to problems and performance issues.”
The reaction from participants is very positive. Bozarth explains, “Participants are happy to engage with one another using social media tools for training purposes. They find it convenient, useful for learning at the moment of need, and [that it helps them] develop a greater sense of control over their learning.”
Trainers shouldn’t fear adding a social component to their programs. According to Bozarth, it’s pretty easy to do. “Social media tools are just tools and can be effectively employed to support the gamut of training activities, from introductions to role plays to discussions of video clips, and anything in between.” But she does offer one recommendation: “I hope we see learning and development practitioners moving toward partnering with learners and away from feeling their role is to direct them.”

3. Gamification

A frequent training request is make subjects fun — and what better way to learn a new topic than by playing a game? Karl M. Kapp , professor of instructional technology at Bloomsburg University and author of The Gamification of Training: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Learning and Instruction , shares the concept of using games for learning. “Studies indicate that games, when designed properly, motivate learners, improve learner retention and encourage students who aren’t typically ‘academic’ to partake in the learning process,” he says. “There is no reason learning has to always be hard or difficult.”
It’s important to note that not all games are created equal when it comes to learning. Kapp discusses two reasons why gamification is becoming popular, and the first one isn’t necessarily relevant for learning. “Some people see gamification simply as the process of adding points, badges or rewards to the learning process and instantly creating engagement, interactivity and motivation for learning. This view is wrong.”
Kapp suggests looking at the real reasons why games are popular and then apply those elements to the process. “When done correctly, gamification provides an experience that is inherently engaging and, most importantly, promotes learning. The elements of games that make for effective gamification are those of storytelling, which provides a context, challenge, immediate feedback, sense of curiosity, problem-solving, a sense of accomplishment, autonomy and mastery.”
Adding social networks and games to training programs has the potential to shake up the learning experience. It can create constant learning opportunities, real-time knowledge sharing and improved participant engagement.