“Learning” is at the heart of my particular hedgehog concept here at Hedgehog & Fox as well as in my general approach to consulting with organizations. When I say “learning,” I don’t (necessarily) mean “education,” and these days, I hardly ever mean “formal classroom-based education.” I mean the act of acquiring new knowledge in any way, shape, or form, whether formally or informally. When people are truly learning, they tend to be highly engaged, and that has important implications not just for what we traditionally think of as “education,” but also for nearly every facet of organizational strategy. If you want to engage your stakeholders, it can be a big help to know a thing or two about how learning works.
Learning 2.0 blends traditional approaches to learning with the newer tools and approaches of social media. The combination is quite powerful, as it infuses the possibility for continuing personal and organizational growth into the “aways on, always connected” culture in which we now live. My view is that an understanding of Learning 2.0 is essential not just for educators, but for anyone who hopes to engage productively with communities of users on the Web. This includes, for example, marketers, customer support providers, issue advocates, and as the recent presidential campaign so clearly demonstrated, politicians.
At this point, in my opinion, too much of the thinking and writing about Learning 2.0 is centered on traditional academic and professional development activities. But for those who can extrapolate and think innovatively – and I know my readers here fall in that camp – there are great ideas and dynamic new strategies to be mined from some of the Learning 2.0 conversations going on out there right now. Here are a few places where you may want to dig around with an eye toward innovation:
- Learning 2.0 for Associations
This being my blog, I’m going to take the liberty of recommending a free Learning 2.0 eBook I put out at the beginning of this year. The contents are relatively high-level and basic – it is intended to be an introduction to the topic -but I think it makes the overall potential of Learning 2.0 approaches clear. I also did a session recently with Boston Conferencing on Learning 2.0. This draws on a lot of material from the eBook, but also offers some new thoughts and examples. BC’s Dave Will does a good job of asking questions throughout the session and I also answer quite a few from participants at the end. It does have a price tag to it (none of which comes to me), but I don’t think you will be disappointed.
- Work Literacy and DevLearn
This year’s DevLearn conference has a big focus on 2.0. I won’t be at the conference, but true to spirit, there are a number of ways to follow DevLearn online (a great example for those of you who want to blend social media with your events). Also, in the lead up to the conference Michele Martin, Tony Karrer, and Howard Jarche did an excellent job of pulling together the Work Literacy Ning site as a community for exploring Learning 2.0. Technically, this was a 6-week effort, but initiatives like this never really end. The accumulated conversations and resources are still there, and people can add to them over time. I have, by the way, started a group their for Membership Organizations. I encourage you to come join me.
- Connectivsm and Connected Knowledge
For a deeper investigation of all of the many issues that come with learning and knowing in a connected world, check out the Connectivism & Connected Knowledge course being led by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. Like Work Literacy, this is a time-based offering, but I think it too will live on beyond the boundaries of time. A tremendous amount of wisdom has accumulated within the course site (which itself is a great example of blending various social media and more traditional Web-based tools) and across their are inumerable postings across the blogosphere that are tagged with CCK08.
- Social Media Classroom
Howard Rheingold, well known for his association with The Well, The Whole Earth Catalog, and for his best-selling Smart Mobs, recently launched the Social Media Classroom & CoLab. This is a free, Drupal-based platform that integrates a range of social media tools in a highly usable fashion. Perhaps more importantly for the purposes of this post, the site also is home to a growing list of resources and a community that is engaged in discussing the impact of social media on learning and society.
That’s just a quick list. There is plenty more out there, and all of the resources above are full of links to other resources. If you haven’t been thinking much about Learning 2.0 yet, I’ll go our on a limb and say you will probably be compelled to in 2009 – it’s coming of age. So, check out these resources, and I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Hedgehog & Fox
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