Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review: The New Social Learning

If your profession is learning and development, The New Social Learning is a must read.

Even if you are one of those people who are suspicious of social media or one who thinks social networking is a place for wasting time or if you think Twitter is a place where people tell you what they are eating for lunch, you will read the book and understand exactly how social learning is a new imperative for how we enable organizational learning. You will find this book to be a practical guide to implementing social learning in your organization.


At the end of each chapter, there is a list of common objections and how to overcome them. I found this to be the most useful part of the book. Just like a sales person needs to overcome objections from prospects, any organizational leader who intends to implement a new thing, must prepare for the inevitable objections that arise from the skeptics and curmudgeons. And there will be many. The list of objections and the ways to overcome them are, by themselves, worth the cost of your time to read this book.


The other idea that I infer this book is that people will learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it despite our best efforts to design and deliver training. Too many L&D professionals are hung up on the need to control the instructional design and training delivery process, believing that people simply do not learn properly, unless proper instruction is used in proper training delivery. Well this book is one step in the direction of proving that idea wrong. Our job is to not deliver instruction, but to enable people to learn what they need to learn to get their jobs done now.


Although the New Social Learning does not propose that instructional design and classroom training will be replaced (far from it), Tony and Marcia weave tales of companies that are using various elements of social and collaboration technologies to enable people to learn and most importantly grow and improve job performance….which is what this is all about in the first place.