Social Learning & The LMS – Are You In or Out?
May 18, 2012 2 Comments
By Gordon Johnson, VP Marketing, Expertus
On TV’s Project Runway, supermodel Heidi Klum makes the choice obvious. Fashion designs are either “in” or they’re “out.” But in the world of corporate learning, the lines between formal and informal learning are increasingly blurred – along with the roles that learning management systems and social tools play in that mix.
Is social media really the new LMS? Or is that an exaggeration? Where does social media fit in here?
I replied with what I think is the best answer for today’s environment:
If social technology has a place in learning technology, it’s in the learning delivery tool, not the LMS.
In the heat of a Twitter chat stream, comments often can be overlooked. But this prompted a brief spirited exchange. After the chat dust settled, Brent reflected further on my point, and offered his own interpretation in an HROToday / TalentManagementTech.com blog recap: “Sometimes, Social Media Isn’t Even Cool.”
Among other observations, Brent noted this:
” … It’s not very cool at all to expect social media to be the learning management system itself. An LMS needs order and structure, of which social media offers little … Guerilla learning might be a clever idea … but formal training still happens within the framework of structured environments. Only afterward does the informal, on-the-job, trial-and-error training begin (perhaps bolstered by social media).”
Now I’d like unpack that idea a bit more, myself:
Although it’s essential to integrate learning technology with an LMS, the greatest value comes from integrating it into a training program and the program’s learning delivery tool.
A Slice of Social Learning Life
Here’s an example. If you’re like me, you’ve probably participated in a traditional instructor-led course where you’ve met fellow students that share common challenges. Did it spark a useful exchange of ideas, tips and techniques that were mutually beneficial? At the end of the class, did you swap email messages and intend to follow up, but never really took advantage of the opportunity to continue the dialogue?
Well, what if the connection never dropped? What if you could seamlessly integrate that kind of rich, relevant social learning experience as the logical next-phase of the learning program? What if your interactions from that training class kept building over time – providing additional opportunities to reinforce learning, knowledge and competence?
That’s where the deep value lies in the marriage of social tools and learning technology. The LMS will still perform its function in the background – but now with socially adept technology that extends the life of a program, participants benefit from enhanced, continuous learning support.
Continuous Learning in the Real World
To us, continuous learning is more than a concept. It’s the foundation of a next-generation LMS we call ExpertusONE. And it’s transforming the way some of the world’s most innovative companies engage, educate and empower their workforce, customers and partners.
For example, at one of the world’s largest software companies, ExpertusONE facilitated fast, cost-efficient delivery of product training & ongoing learning support – before and after a major global rollout. To read more about this implementation and the impact it made on our customer’s organization, download the case brief (PDF format).
With cloud computing as a foundation, it can be surprisingly quick and easy to apply this concept in an enterprise setting. So, hopefully soon, the vast majority of corporate training programs will be supported by technology that enables dynamic, continuous learning.
Note from Gordon: To learn more about the ExpertusONE dynamic learning platform works, visit our website. Or to see it in action, contact us for a personalized consultation and demo.