Web 2.0 vs. Face-to-Face Networking

May 8, 2008

Here’s what I have discovered about myself and learning. I want and need to connect with professional peers and like-minded souls. I love to go to conferences, talk to others about what they are doing, and share what I am doing. I really get off on running ideas by others and getting their feedback. I love to see creative approaches to instructional design and problems that I myself am kinda crappy at. All of this can happen at team meetings, at the water cooler, or at some big gathering in a giant conference center.

But what about those of us who have very small teams (or who are a one-man team!)? What about those of us who work in an organization where the passionate exchange of ideas is not encouraged or is met with disinterest? One way social tools help is by empowering us to forge connections and create communities without having to rely on formal organizations, such as our corporations or professional organizations.

Brent Schlenker recently posted about the face-to-face versus Web 2.0 debate on his blog. He makes a great point: “it is NOT an either/or discussion we are having.”  As I commented after reading his post, the point is really about connectivity. We are richer individuals when we connect, regardless of the tools, means, locations, etc. It is up to us to figure out the right tools for us. Personally, Web 2.0 tools have helped me to connect with others in ways not possible before, helping me to share with and learn from others, as well as make new real-life friends. I still love F2F conferences and meetings, but am grateful to have new tools in my network kit.


Hello, Stranger

April 22, 2008

 This blog is another voice in the online, dynamic conversation around workplace learning. There are broadly three things on my mind these days that have me excited (yes, I’m a geek like that):  Emerging technologies, informal learning, and “lean.”  While there is a great deal of talk about Web 2.0 and other technologies implications on learning, I haven’t seen too much talk about how we might apply lean principles to instructional design.

First things first.

Things are changing. Not just the technologies, but assumptions and mindsets. Web 2.0 is empowering a new way of learning. This new way is one that lets ME decide what I want to learn, when I want to learn it, and connect with whomever I want (or whomever wants to connect with me!) to share ideas. I don’t have to wait for some training director or departmental boss to dictate what, how, when. While there is certainly a place for that and for formal, push-from-the-top training, there is a great need to balance that with informal and “pull-from-where-I-am-now” learning.

Speaking of “pull,”  what is Lean and why should you care?

“Lean” is short for “Lean manufacturing” and is a process management philosophy that grew out of the “Toyota Production System. ”  Lean thinking is powerful stuff and has transformed the way a lot of companies in the manufacturing world operate. Some of the core principles focus on waste reduction and continous problem-solving by all team members, pull processing, flow and visual control. While the concepts and tools were developed for manufacturing processes, they have been applied to administrative and office processes with amazingly effective results.

As an instructional designer and learning consultant, it didn’t take long before I started seeing implications for workplace learning and instructional design. Like what? Well, that’s what I’ll be gabbing about in the days ahead, sharing what I know and hopefully learning some stuff from you as well.

’til then, Happy Learning….