Learning from Peers and the L&D Challenge

With only a couple of days to go until the Social Learning conference starts, I thought I would highlight some background reading (well watching, actually) that might inform thinking and discussion on the day.

Here are three angles that lift the lid on social learning and the challenge for L&D.

The future of learning

First, the all important context, or should I say shifting context. Nick Shackleton-Jones, group head of eLearning at BP will be providing a social learning case study on Thursday. Last year Nick produced a video looking at the future of learning and how technology is and has impacted on that.

From the early days of aviation simulators, Nick walks us through developments in learning technology and the wider social context of how it is used by learners and what the implications for L&D teams and organisations. He makes the point that social media is a transformational technology and that learners continue to need more interactive, stimulating and interesting learning content.

Social media also provides L&D teams with opportunities to communicate, share knowledge and market itself better, he says.

He ends his video with some predictions:

  • Your learners will not e switching off (their mobile devices)
  • Performance outcomes will be more important
  • Digital experiences will be various and multi-functional
  • Conventional learning will be overtaken by video, scenario and simulation
  • There will be less ‘just in case’ and more ‘just in time’
  • Learners will continue to value the face to face experience
  • Share or be shared!

Watch: the future of learning and technology.

Peer-to-peer learning

Donald Clark ran a session on peer learning at Learning Technologies 2012. In that session Donald looked at the power of peers to inform learning, which is clearly a key factor in social learning. He said that Judith Harris’s book the Nurture Assumption is a must read for L&D professionals looking to understand the impact of peer learning.

Add to this the fact that Facebook has so  many users and that emerging open source tools are helping students share and learn and you can see, says Donald, why peer learning is so important.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

Go to where the learners are. They were on email and now the are on Facebook. Now look at Facebook as a source of our inspiration especially considering the already proven efficacy of peer learning.

L&D risks becoming a dead weight

Finally, how do technological advances and the shift to social learning impact on the role of the L&D function? At Learning Technologies 2012, former chief learning officer at Thomson Reuters Charles Jennings told delegates L&D was in danger of being a ‘dead weight’ in the organisation if L&D continues to try and manage learning.

He cited research from a Corporate Leadership Council study of L&D team capability – more here – which showed L&D is simply not delivering what the business requires.

He said that L&D professionals need to think about how to move with the times – to shift away from managing learning (that’s the role of learners, Charles argues) to working with stakeholders to develop learning ecosystems – environments that support ongoing learning.

Watch: L&D risks becoming a dead weight

Hope these links spark some thoughts for Thursday. See you there.