Monday, 7 March 2011

Your questions on Online Learning and the Learning Organisation



I’ve had your questions from my webinar last week.  But firstly, let me briefly repeat my responses to the questions I did answer:


1. What about 360 degree feedback – isn’t this social?

To an extent yes, but also needs to be shared back with the people providing it, and 2. the focus needs to be the social unit, rather than the individual, ie it needs to be an entire team or community providing and sharing feedback on each other.


2. How do you select the best technology for online learning?

This is part of the process I’ve already referred to in which organisations need to select online learning or other enablers as appropriate.  The same applies at a more granular level to the selection of which technology (or which style of team facilitation etc).


3. What’s the difference between a network and a community?

Communities are more discreet, have a sense of membership and there is a greater need for relationships to be formed in advance of doing work.


4. Does change to become a learning organisation need to start at the top of the organisation?

Well you certainly don’t want the top to block change, but I do think social change has to be a bit different to traditional changes eg sponsorship can (should?) come from the middle of the organisation rather than just from the top.


5. I still don’t see how online learning is social

I’ve already tried to address this one.


But I didn’t get to these:

Q: Is social learning the best for all personalities, preferences and learning styles

Not necessarily, and it’s not even the ‘best’ for any particular individual, but it’s the best for the learning of the whole social unit (team / community / organisation).

However, if you look at learning from a social constructivist, and certainly a social connectivist, perspective, then yes, in general, social learning is going to be THE best – for everyone.

There are also different ways to engage in social learning of course – it doesn’t all require extrovert behaviours for example.


Q: What percentage of participation can be considered to be normal or adapted in a virtual community of learning inside an organization?

The general rule of thumb – for learning as well as other types of community - is 90 lurkers to 9 contributors to 1 creator (Jakob Nielson’s theory of Participation Inequality).  But this isn’t a rule!  Implemented carefully and thoughtfully, you can get much higher rates of active participation than this.


Q: What strategies or activities are most adapted to stimulate the collaborative learning in virtual environments?

The key is getting people using the available technologies.  There are a few ways this can be achieved – see this post:


Q: We are involved with team coaching and team appraisals. Is that social.

Yes, absolutely – depending on how it’s done of course!


Q: How critical is the content and the technology to the emergence of enhanced organisational learning?

They’re both less important than the people, ie the adoption.  Implemented right, people will make the technology work, and will provide the content.


Q: Can you scale an online learning episode in terms of its social learning opportunities?

Absolutely, this is the advantage it offers over pre-internet, or certainly pre-web2.0, organisational learning.  And in some ways, the larger the scale, the more the social.


Q: Is a social learning focus not richer done through a social medium (face to face) ?

I think that’s often the case.  This is the reason that I suggest online learning where you can see or at least hear someone is probably more social than social networking supported learning, although this sounds like it should be more social.

But it’s also the reason why I included the water cooler slide – we shouldn’t forget about face-to-face opportunities to be social too!


And thanks to whoever said that they really liked the petri dish slide – “excellent visual for proving the social mix 'culture' point”.




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