Jane Bozarth’s Social Media for Trainers is a wonderfully handy, and important, book. It succinctly introduces why you would want to think about social media to augment training, introduces several of the major social media tools that represent categorical differences, and, for each, focuses on practical explanations about the tools, pluses and minuses, and classic ways to use them before, during, and after learning events.
As a disclaimer, let me note that not only am I mentioned in the book, but I also reviewed the manuscript for the publisher, so understand that I’m not completely unbiased. On the other hand, I can point to principle about why this book is so needed.
As I mentioned before, the key to deep learning is processing the information in a variety of ways, and social interaction around the content is a valuable form of processing. Consequently, social media can have a valuable role in training and learning. However, trainers are not always familiar or comfortable with social media, nor understand how they could practically be used.
This book provides just the concise information needed. The media are presented simply with examples and steps, the examples are clear and relevant, and appropriate disclaimers are made about the changing nature of the technology.
The nicest part, for me, is the last chapter where Jane reconnects the message back into the larger picture: of learning, of work, and of organizations. For one, she talks a bit about how social relates to learning, an important conception. And she makes the necessary link between augmenting formal learning and the informal learning power of social networks.
The last, in particular, is enabled by mobile. Jane does address mobile, as the social tools mentioned have mobile mechanisms. The mobile dimension extends the reach of the opportunities, and the learning experience, as well as opening up the possibilities of bridging the gap between informal and formal.
While I could make small tweaks (put the processing up front, mention personal reflection via blogs), overall this book is a ‘must own’ for trainer & instructional designers, and managers of same. This book complements Marcia Conner & Tony Bingham’s The New Social Learning, and our The Working Smarter Fieldbook, serving as the hands on guide to frontline use of social media.