Musings on the intersection of training and technology

Monday, June 26, 2006

Theoretically Speaking

Perhaps I have just been dipped so long into the pool of learning theory that my skin is all wrinkly and my patience has run dry.

Growing up, I went to a unique "alternative" high school where we as students influenced our learning experience as much as the teachers. We talked a lot about what is important to make learning successful and what we most needed to walk away with to be successful in life. In high school we called it "learning how to learn." I then attended a unique, "alternative" school for undergrad where this time, we designed our own curricula, talked about "metacognitive awareness," and focused on learning the "methods of inquiry" for various broad schools of thought. (Same thing, more pretentious terms). In grad school, and throughout my career in the learning world, the conversations have continued along the same lines.

Though I would not trade-in any of my educational experiences, formal or otherwise, lately discussions of learning theory strike me as almost self-indulgent. It is lovely to dwell in the realm of possibilities, but I need to focus my energies into attempting to turn those possibilities into reality. Perhaps my impatience is a by-product of a demanding work schedule. Perhaps it is a result of my refusal to compromise time with my family for extending the work day. Perhaps is an indicator that there is just so much to know and follow these days, that there's little time for anything that falls outside the lines of "mission-critical."

Likely this is one of the reasons I spend so little time on class blog. I already get blogs. Would rather be working on when and where and how to incorprate blogs into a client's workflow. Or on resolving some of the questions I'm grappling with for applying these technologies to the work world, like:
  • Do blogs make sense as a dynamic communication tool for a company with a large network of channel partners?
  • How can you best maintain the quality and usability of a wiki?
  • What's the simplest and most effective way to incorporate tagging into an extranet?
  • Could you create a legitimate community of practice with companies who are all in the same field, but who likely view themselves as competitors?
These are the kinds of questions I need to be able to answer, or at least be able to address, before proposing informal tools to my clients. Talking about how to leverage all these tools for my own personal knowledge management isn't quite enough.

I am enjoying the unworkshop but I wish it was a bit more plug and play. I guess this is just a reflection of the maturity of the technologies.

2 Comments:

Blogger Harold Jarche said...

As a consultant for the past decade, here's my take on these questions, for what it's worth:

Q. Do blogs make sense as a dynamic communication tool for a company with a large network of channel partners?

A. It all depends on the culture. If there is no culture of sharing or meaningful conversation, then it will be a long, tough process.

Q. How can you best maintain the quality and usability of a wiki?

A. Like a garden, with lots of work, and an artful eye.

Q. What's the simplest and most effective way to incorporate tagging into an extranet?

A. There isn't one - it depends (the consultant's favourite answer).

Q. Could you create a legitimate community of practice with companies who are all in the same field, but who likely view themselves as competitors?

A. Only if they have a real business reason to do so. I've learned that communities of individuals are quite different from communities of companies. Most CoP literature refers to people, not corporations.

6:23 PM

 
Blogger Harold Jarche said...

Here's a link to some very recent studies on blogs & wikis in the enterprise. Might be what you're looking for, on Many2many

2:02 PM

 

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