Last spring I agreed to be a steering group member for Competence & Capability Development Community for Excellence Finland. It has about 900 members and organizes monthly events. Riitta my colleague at Nokia, was looking someone to continue on her behalf and since life long learning has been one of my interest areas for years, I agreed to join in.
Steering groups members are asked to organize one session, providing practical examples, so I offered to run a Workshop on “Mobile Learning & Web 2.0” and promised to introduce opportunities of social communities (Facebook and Ning), microblogging (Twitter & Yammer) and virtual worlds (Second Life and Sun’s Project Wonderland) as well as examples of mobile learning applications used within Nokia for strategy sharing and competence development. So September 24th, 2009 we had a workshop in Design Factory, Otaniemi.
We had a very interesting afternoon with good discussion – and I promised to share examples included in presentation and links demoed with participants. And instead of doing that with traditional e-mail – I would write a blog post about it – so it would be easily shared with others as well.
We started the workshop with short selections from two You Tube -videos:
- A vision of a student today – describing the changes in learning & life from students’ perspective – by Michael Wesch’s students
- Did You Know – describing the change around us – by originally Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod …
And we continued with questions how communication and work life are changing and how possibilities for learning in business & work life are changing as well. In the workshop I introduced examples and described possible uses of social media for learning and competence development. – People in small groups discussed what would be the possible benefits of using certain media and what concerns did they have .
I decided to use examples that are describing how the work itself is changing … how we work and how we learn as well.
As introduction I gave overview to social media channels. We started with a quick test, how much people knew about social media, and how much they had used them. For EFQM conference we had session related to Quality & Web 2.0 and we used Facebook Group Quality & Connected Life Web 2.0 prior to conference for discussion and sharing examples. I shared examples how work is accelerated and changed by use new media & crowd sourcing – Google Marketing book done in 32 hours in Finland, We are Smarter than Me book creation & Japanese Otetsudai Networks using mobile devices, Rendez project site build on Drupal, Dell Idea Storm & IBM Jams.
Examples at personal level- Jeremiah Oywang, Luis Suarez & Sacha Chu – provide views to how professional people shared their findings with others and sources they are using for their personal learning.
Professional organizations have long been important for professional development – now use of social media communities provides new possibilities also between face-to-face meetings. -I used Sometu -Ning Community ( Social Media Supporting Learning) as an example.
Microblogging with Twitter – provides fast channels for information sharing. Using examples from a recent Twitter 140 Conference , and many people in Twitter helping in preparing the workshop, I shared stories how Twitter can help in professional learning.
In group discussions workshop participants game up with several possible benefits. Social media can help in finding latest information, being better connected to experts also internationally. It can provide access to new thinking and ideas, and provide context for co-creation, possibility for instant sharing both experiences and information. Social Media applications can give new possibilities for efficient knowledge management, it can be fun and entertaining and can provide new business possibilities. Most applications are free and some were perceived easy to use.
During the discussion people were concerned with security & privacy and excessive use of time. Finding relevant information, meaningful and value adding communities and people can be challenging. Using many media channels can lead to information overflow and superficial use of information. Separation of professional & private life was one of the concerns and also , digital divide, how some people might not have possibility to participate. Difficulties with registrations, access, visiting various sites and also technical problems ( firewall restrictions, etc.) could hinder use of social media. In some organizations cultural discouragement – perception that social media provides channels for entertainment, not for professional development, does not encourage people to explore possibilities.
Participants saw many possible uses of social media for professional development and learning . Finding ways that work best for you personally will require some experimentation – but it is well worth it. The world is changing and so are practices with learning and professional development.
- In Twitter the 1st step is to find a professionally interesting person, start following her/him, and gradually experimenting
- InYou Tube – look for content lectures / presentations
- In Facebook – look for professional groups or start one of your own
- In Ning – look for professional groups
- In Linked In – participate in some professional groups
There are so silver bullets, or simple solutions – creating personal practices takes some effort, but luckily in social media you can find people who can help in your exploration. Jump in, learn & enjoy !!
- Dan Tapscot & Anthony Williams (2006) Wikinomics
- Barry Libert & Jon Spector (2007) We are Smarter than Me
- Tuija Aalto (2009) Nettielämää – Sosiaalisen median maailmat.
- Leenamaija Otala & kaija Pöysti ( 2008) Wikimaniaa yrityksiin – Yritys 2.0 Tuottamaan.