Monday, November 7, 2011

Evolution of learning... Moving towards informal

One of the conversations I had at #DevLearn's DemoFest last week was indicative of the evolution we are starting to see in #eLearning towards more informal learning... but first let me try to describe DemoFest to set the scene.

Picture a ballroom with about 80 small tables with 4 chairs around each one. At each table a presenter has a +/- 6 min. presentation to share with whomever stops by to listen. The ideas were incredible, so was the noise level! LOL!

One of the presenters discussed his attempts to use more social media and collaboration in the trainings he conducts for his organization. He was talking about a recent incident where a colleague came to his desk and he videotaped her explaining how she had used a learned skill and then taken it further. He wanted to encourage more such sharing and said "but then I will be out of a job" meaning they won't need a training department anymore. I replied, "No you won't be out of a job, but your job will evolve. Your job will be in each of the departments rather than being a separate training department."

This was an idea I heard many times at DevLearn. We need to evolve training and make it more job-embedded, more collaborative, more just-in-time. The piece which may still be holding that back from happening is the fear expressed in the statement, "but then I will be out of a job."

How do we help people understand there will always be a need for training/trainers/educators as we move towards more informal learning? What does this evolution look like?

There was another piece to my discussion with that same presenter. He wanted to encourage more sharing and collaboration so I asked how he validated people who did share. I pointed out that he validated the person when he videotaped her and shared her idea. One of points made in Lisa Chamberlin's (AKA @chambo_online) presentation about the MarshU blogger development program "If you build it will they blog" was how much adults in the workplace still want to be recognized. At MarshU badges for completion of the program were highly prized. I was thinking of these badges when I asked the DemoFest presenter how he validated people in his organization. Such a simple idea but people want to be recognized!

I am also thinking about how informal learning relates to eLearning in general whether it is K-12, higher ed, or enterprise. I have no huge Aha answers to share, just lots of questions! These are not the last musings on this topic by this still ignorant author!

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