What a great experience. I could have listened to Jane talk all evening, the hour flew by. I will base my observations on Jane’s responses to our questions:
1. How do we extend the idea of Communities of Practice beyond the training shop in our organizations? What is a good way to start? Jane’s best idea in my opinion was to start small with people that are interested. She noted that nothing is worse than required participation. The people not interested will not contribute and will probably suck the energy out of the room. The group should be self-selected and self-managed. She also recommended articles she has mentioned recently. She feels that in order to have a community of practice people need time and space, and one job of training should be to let people know that they have that time and space. She also talked about her own CoP on stamping out bad training.
2. What are some practical ways to incorporate “Show Your Work” in training we develop? How can we leverage the idea to get it out to the rest of the organization? The idea of user-generated content is very much in the forefront of current thought. She gave an excellent example at Cheesecake Factory. They film exemplary employees performing skills to use as a training aid. As trainers we need to focus on not just what but how.
3. Could you talk about your own Personal Learning Network and how you keep it current and manageable? Social media expanded the reach of Jane’s PLN. With social tools she started seeing responses from people she had read about or perhaps saw at a conference. Her ideas included using a picture, not a logo. This is human interaction. Also don’t go looking for fights. In general you need to give as well as you get in your PLN. She said that she likes Twitter because it moves at the speed of Jane. The important thing is to use a tool that makes sense for you, and solves a problem. Everything is not for everybody.
4. In Social Media for Trainers you talk about the issue of boomer-age trainers being resistant to social media tools. Is this getting any better? Is this an opportunity for newly minted instructional designers to fill a void? She stood by her example of boomer folks, but also said it is not just older trainers who are resistant to change. Trainers are not in the classroom business, they are in the learning business. Further, there are opportunities for new ISD grads, but they need to have used the tools and understand what they can do and not do. She commented that many programs do not touch on informal learning and social tools. She said that we should not fall into the “If you build it they will come” trap. The tools have to solve a problem.
5. Could you talk about the idea of curation to filter social media noise? She thinks that training can lead the way in showing the power or curation. She also recommended talking further with David Kelley. She said the information overload is actually filter failure.
6. What would you like to see different in the way Twitter works? Her short answer was nothing. She would like to get rid of spam bots.
7. What do you think is the “Next Big Thing.” Narrating work is her thought. Tacit knowledge in organizations is hard to capture. There are learners interested in sharing what they know.
In closing, she asked us what we thought would be valuable in social media in a higher ed setting. The consensus was the Cool Tool exercises and the use of Facebook groups in 689 were the best examples from our experience.