Yesterday, I talked about how social added to formal learning. Today I want to extend social learning learning to informal learning. When I talked about the value social adds to formal, it was about processing the information in richer ways, to help facilitate learning. However, the value proposition for informal learning is different.
We can start, however, with formal learning, because I see learning as a continuum from formal to collaboration. We start with designed activities to generate productive processing, but then we could and should want that learning to extend out into the community, where the fostered understanding can take root and grow. It’s about having others improve on what we start with in a virtuous cycle (just as Dave Ferguson added breed to my original seed, feed, and weed).
While our individual learning might involve a portal with resources and search engines, our social learning goes beyond this. We again see expressing ideas and adding feedback to others, but now it’s very task-focused, particularly in collaboration. Further, we can specifically ask for help and pointers, and track others’ information that serve as virtual mentors for us.We are our network.
And it’s this latter, this collection of people who we’ve come to recognize as valuable, as well as those we may not even know about but input into the same mental space, where the deliberate and serendipitous collide to provide synergistic value.
This is a slightly different cut on it than Harold Jarche captures, focusing more on the processes of working than the organizational role, but in both cases, it’s still about the network. It’s about what the network can add to our ability to do.
And, of course, it’s about putting in place the infrastructure that enables performers to tap into their network as easily as they can tap into organizational resources, so that the focus is on the task, not on the tools.