I spoke at an Open University event last week on behalf on Learning Pool, discussing the role on communities in social learning and how they can help improve engagement. More on the specifics of my talk on the LP blog in due course.
One of the other presentations, which I found really interesting, was from BT’s Iain Napier on their approach to social learning. This focused on two main initiatives, it seemed to me:
- The use of social networking to build communities of practice and interesting within the organisation, and to make the identification of talent and skills easier
- Encouraging staff to develop content to share their knowledge with colleagues, creating what are effectively short pieces of informal e-learning
BT use Sharepoint to enable rich staff user profiles listing interests and experience, and encourage blogging, status updates and document sharing to help inform others as to everyone’s expertise and skills.
From what I saw at the session, it looks like one of the most well-used SharePoint instances I’ve ever seen.
The staff generated learning content is published using a tool BT call ‘Dare2Share’ and is mostly video content, recorded cheaply and quickly using Flip cameras and the like.
Towards Maturity have written up Dare2Share and reveal the really interesting statistic that 78% of BT staff prefer to learn from their peers, but that very little attention or resource was put into making this happen.
Here’s a quick video about Dare2Share:
I wonder if it is just as true in public services that staff would rather learn from each other rather than from external trainers and experts? I’d imagine it probably is and the success of networks such as the Communities of Practice seem to confirm it.
It seems key to me that government organisations do more to maximise the skills and knowledge already present in the organisation, especially at a time when recruitment of new skills is tricky and L&D budgets are squeezed.
While technology isn’t of course the whole answer (see electric woks) nonetheless it must form part of the answer. How many public service organisations make the tools available to staff to do this stuff without a fight?
I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.
- Would Anyone Ever Say that Open Government Isn’t Great? – "Let’s not demonize good old e-government and let’s not overhype open government or government 2.0. Because what they have both in common is the willingness to help government become better."
- Bristol City Council – blogging our web presence development work – "Us folks here at Bristol City Council have decided that as we continue to develop our web presence, in support of our wider business objectives, it’d make sense if we listened to the collective wisdom of our local digital community."
- 3 principles of innovative organisations – 100% Open – "As if we needed reminding, this exponential increase in connectivity and information sharing is fundamentally changing the way organisations operate and innovate."
- Posting information online could preempt FOIA requests (3/18/10) — GovExec.com – "Taking advantage of technology and preemptively posting frequently requested information online could help agencies address new Freedom of Information Act queries and tackle backlogs"
- The Seven Needs of Real-Time Curators – "I keep hearing people throw around the word “curation” at various conferences, most recently at SXSW. The thing is most of the time when I dig into what they are saying they usually have no clue about what curation really is or how it could be applied to the real-time world."
- How Not To Tender For e-Consultation Software | Delib Blog – "This is an issue that’s vexed us for some years here, but having just seen the most ridiculous tender process we’ve ever come across, we really have to say something for the good of all. After all, if we ignore history, we are bound to repeat it."
- Coding Horror: The Opposite of Fitts’ Law – "If we should make UI elements we want users to click on large, and ideally place them at corners or edges for maximum clickability — what should we do with UI elements we don't want users to click on? Like, say, the "delete all my work" button?"
- Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers – A Phd dissertation on blogging in the workplace. Not read it yet.
- my_$publicservice.org – "What really matters in the end is that we listen, and having listened respond and improve."
- Gordon Brown and Tim Berners Lee: Back to the Future? – "The result may be for the UK to remain stuck into its ambition to be seen as a leader in e-government (and now government 2.0) without ever really making it."
- Public Sector Transformation Summit by Michele Ide-Smith – Great post with an awesome embedded slidedeck.
You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.
You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.