Learning in the Social Age: A Sketch

I’ve been working with a diverse group of Learning professionals in Madrid today, exploring the Social Age and the ways in which learning has evolved. I sketched this up with a small group, to capture the narrative of ‘what learning is about in the Social Age’ and share it now, not really as a finished or polished framework, but rather in the spirit of #WorkingOutLoud.

Learning in the Social Age - a sketch

Learning is about performance: being able to do things, understand things, think things that we were not able to do before. Learning is about change. So i started with the box for ‘performance’ on the right. At least in an organisational context, we are trying to help people to perform.

The ecosystem of the Social Age 2016

Learning is not, crucially, about learning. The actual artefacts, systems, jobs and processes are incidental to the question of performance itself: if we find better ways to do it, we shouldn’t just hang onto the past because it’s familiar to us.

The Social Age of Learning

So we start with ‘Learning’, then move into ‘Rehearsal’, before getting to a place where we can perform. Pretty simple. So check out the other two key elements: technology and community.

In the Social Age, learning is often facilitated by technology and supported by community. So technology is part of the story, but it’s not the story. We are through the Digital Age and firmly into the Social one.

Into the Social Age

The ecosystem of technology most likely to work is one that is diverse and lightweight: i think the Day of the Dinosaurs is over, and those legacy systems that tried to dominate everything has passed. Truly Dynamic organisations will adopt an integration role: lightweight and replaceable systems serving learner needs, not controlling them.

Community only works on a foundation of trust, which must be earned. That’s where Social Leadership comes in: we can’t build coherent communities through formal authority: we have to develop the type of authority that counts in social spaces: Social Authority.

A key element is the loop from Performance back to Rehearsal: that represents the codifying of tacit knowledge into captured narratives, closing the loop from social to formal learning.

This isn’t a refined model, the key thing it does is put Rehearsal at the centre: Social Learning approaches are all about iteration, rehearsal, learning and application.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
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8 Responses to Learning in the Social Age: A Sketch

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