Social Learning: Introduction

I’m writing a guest chapter for a book today, aiming for 6,000 words, as an overview of Social Learning: it explores the ‘context of the Social Age’, the design methodology for ‘Scaffolded Social Learning’, how we establish, and support, ‘Learning Communities’, the role of ‘Storytelling’, and how Social Learning forms part of broader ‘Learning Culture’. As i #WorkOutLoud on the chapter, today i am sharing the introductory section.

The Ecosystem of Social Learning

“Social Learning is a story partly written by the learners themselves. It’s about tacit, tribal, lived wisdom, the learning that exists within distributed communities. it’s often untidy, diverse, and deeply personal. And it’s the mechanism by which we really learn, and learn to be effective.

Scaffolded Social Learning - the overarching narrative

A scaffolded Social Learning solution will include both bubbles and boxes, a combination of formal and social spaces

In this chapter, we will explore what Social Learning is, and consider a design methodology of Scaffolded Social Learning. We will do so against the backdrop of the Social Age, the evolved reality that we live within, and an understanding of the impacts this has on learning more generally, through it’s evolved forms of power, knowledge, and control.

We will consider the communities that Social Learning takes place within: what they are, how they form, where they exist, how they are moderated, and what we can do to create the conditions for them to thrive.

Stories are the basic mechanism for the cultural transmission of information: we will look at how stories are used in Social Learning, and a way to consider the relationship between the personal stories of individual learners, the collaborative stories of communities, and the stories that Organisations themselves tell.

Finally, we will consider the cultural shift: how Social Learning is part of the broader changes that are eroding the power of formal structures, and empowering social ones. The way that a ‘learning organisation’ may find a competitive edge, but how the learning itself may be done more by the Organisation itself than the individual learners.

Formal learning is a story written by an organisation, done to people. Social Learning is a story where everyone has a voice. it’s measurable, effective, and highly dynamic. But to truly reap the benefits will require change: change in how we design, delivery, support, and facilitate learning, and change in how we hear the stories that are written.”

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
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