Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Online learning and the learning organisation


  So I delivered this webinar for Citrix Online today: Online learning and the learning organisation.

I talked about social learning, why this is important, and why despite its importance, we still tend to focus on the learning of individuals rather than social groups such as teams, communities and networks.  And I suggested that the the learning organisation is based on social learning – and the consequent development of Peter Senge’s shared vision and mental models etc.

I then suggested that organisations need to select the appropriate enablers for becoming a learning organisation that suit their particular context and situation.  One of these enablers is online learning and given the title of the webinar, this was the enabler I focused on most.

I also stressed that online learning is probably the most powerful enabler that we have.  Now this webinar was delivered for Citrix Online, and they wanted me to deliver something on online learning, but the title and the link to the learning organisation were my suggestions.  So I do believe what I have just written.

Most of the participants (actually 92% of them) seemed to agree.  But obviously not everyone – and I wasn’t able to fully answer Jacqueline’s question right at the end – why exactly do I think online learning is social?  Jacqueline wrote that she didn’t think this webinar was very social, and I do agree with her.  Partly because I didn’t leave enough time for questions (though I did do a lot better than the last of these I delivered).  And partly, as I stressed in my presentation, online learning probably does need to be combined with other enablers, whether these are physical or technological, eg a Twitter feed or something, to be really social.  I also like the developing use of video within these applications, and long for the day when we’re all connected by Telepresence.

But I still think online learning is key.  And this isn’t just because it’s (at least partly) social, it’s also, as I also said, because it’s virtual, synchronous, co-created and increasingly mobile too.  All of these attributes contribute towards the outcome of better social learning.

Social networking systems is the other key enabler, particularly if they include blogging, podcasting etc too.  The networking function is key in helping people develop the connections and relationships that are the basis for social learning to take place.  And then blogging, podcasting and online learning provide effective ways for learning to take place.

And I absolutely do believe these tools have made the learning organisation much more achievable than when I was more specifically focusing on consultancy in this area about 20 years ago.


If you were on the webinar, I hope you enjoyed it.  I’ve asked Citrix if they can provide your questions I didn’t get to answer, or please add them again (sorry) as comments to this post – and I will answer each one.


You may also be interested in the next webinar I’m doing which is on HR 2.0 and will take place at 3.00pm GMT or 9.00am CST (I’ll be in Houston, TX) on Tuesday 15th March.



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