Visualize a solution that not only allows you to chat with other participants, but also enables you to view their social profiles and “friend” them. Imagine a solution that also lets you add your own links and related information, which then become part of the final archive.
-David Wilkins, Learning 2.o and Workplace Communities
T&D Magazine, April 2009
Guess what? WebJunction already has those essential elements to build a rich social learning environment. Back in March, I announced an e-learning experiment at WebJunction, in which we focused our social tools on an online course about customer service. The results are in and summarized in The Social Learning Puzzle: Putting the pieces together.
Wilkins and I share a vision of “establishing a true learning culture where all employees are actively engaged in both the teaching and learning processes.” But what the Wilkins article misses in its enthusiasm is the reality that providing nifty tools is not enough. There are barriers to the adoption of the whole notion of engaged online learning. As I said in my summary,the active participants in the cohort had an enriched learning experience, but the majority of the initial group did not engage.
I believe in the vision and I’m taking it step by step toward social learning paradise. If you have anything to share on the topic, please let me know. (info (at) webjunction.org attn: gutsche)
I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to participate in an online chat about e-learning best practices with our own Paul Signorelli. As I answered questions for Paul, I had the opportunity to reflect on my experiences in introducing blended learning at Gwinnett County Public Library, an organization, that until a couple years ago, relied almost solely on classroom-based ILT for training. In my ferver to get e-learning off the ground, I took a few lumps along way that could have been avoided had I taken more care to address early on a few fundamental questions in implementation regarding physical assets, supervisory needs, and administrative concerns. I volunteered to Paul that I would be happy to compile and share a general e-learning preparation checklist for libraries considering e-learning, or for those that are relatively new to it. Here goes (or visit the Google group T is for Training for a printer-friendly version):
E-Learning Preparedness Checklist
□ Does each work unit have an adequate number of PCs to be used primarily for e-learning?
□ Are the PCs in an area away from potential distractions?
□ Does each training PC have the necessary equipment and configuration for e-learning?
- Consider equipment such as:
- Headset microphones for webinars
- Webcam for video conferencing
- Browsers correctly configured (i.e., Java, Flash Player, Active X controls, popup blockers, software applets, etc)
□ Is there a Help Desk/Tech Support system in place?
□ Are there bandwidth bottlenecks during peak times of PC use in the branches?
□ Do employees have scheduled off-desk time to participate in e-learning?
□ Is training viewed as an essential job function and supported as such?
□ Are policies/guidelines in place to restrict hourly employees from accessing e-learning off the clock?
□ Will concepts taught in e-learning be modeled and reinforced in the workplace?
□ Will e-learning offerings conflict with branch/department scheduling?
□ How will new e-learning opportunities be advertised?
□ Which, if any, e-learning classes count toward CEUs for your professional staff?
□ Have you communicated your vision for e-learning so that staff know what to expect?
□ Do you have the buy-in of key stakeholders, such as the Director, the IT department, line managers, etc?
□ What evaluative criteria will be used to determine the success of e-learning initiatives?
Webinar: Libraries as Learning Organizations
When: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm (EDT)
Co-sponsored by CLENERT and WebJunction
What makes a library a learning organization? What does it take to build an organization-wide commitment to team and individual learning? Why make the effort, especially in these economic times?
Our panelists, representing libraries at different mileposts on the road to becoming learning organizations, are finding their own answers to these questions and will share challenges, strategies, and successes about the four Bs of the journey:
- BENEFITS of a learning culture
- BUILDING the environment
- BEING a learning champion
- BEYOND to sustainability.
Hear ways to use technology appropriately to enable faster, more personalized learning and to institutionalize knowledge sharing. Because most learning occurs on the job, at the point of need, you will discover ways to create a positive performance environment.
Even if your library is not yet moving in this direction, you will take away ideas that you can use immediately to implement learning solutions individually and organizationally.
- Sandra Smith, Training and Development Manager, Denver Public Library
- Michele Leininger, Information Experience Director,Pierce County Library
- Elizabeth Iaukea, Learning Manager, Pierce County Library
- Julia Lanham, Human Resources, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.