People who can seek new information, make sense of it, and share it with their colleagues, will be an asset to any work team. However, they need access to their learning networks while at work, and this is often a challenge. Reduce these barriers, and support PKM [Personal Knowledge Management] practices, and the organization will benefit.
Harold Jarche on Supporting workplace learning.
Personal knowledge management means participating in communities of practice and connecting with other people and ideas, often using the tools we refer to as using ‘social media’. Organisations that routinely block access to social media are therefore blocking access to learning networks and preventing their staff developing their own personal knowledge management skills. If people are blocked from watching video on Vimeo or prevented from adding functionality to their browsers (e.g. adding bookmarklets to make it easier to save websites to their Delicious, Instapaper or Pocket accounts), they will not learn how to exploit the potential of the web for finding and sharing knowledge.
Maybe this is the change of emphasis we need in order to help change attitudes and overcome the pejorative connotations of the term ‘social media’. Should we start talking about personal knowledge management and personal learning networks? Or maybe we should simply talk about digital inclusion? Scotland’s Strategy for Digital Inclusion is concerned about
ensuring that nobody gets left behind and that Scotland’s people are still able to exercise their right to engage with the community around them, access learning and services, and play a full role in society
The strategy goes on to talk about making sure everyone has equal access to – and the skills to use – information and communication technologies, whether they want to renew a car’s road tax online or access learning courses. As well as such social benefits, says the government, there are sizeable economic gains which stem from digital inclusion in terms of increased employability and more cost-effective public services. Yet, and this is the most puzzling of paradoxes, people who work in the public services, including Scottish Government employees, are often routinely blocked from accessing these very communication technologies!
Surely strategies for digital inclusion should explicitly embrace the notion of empowering the workforce (a subset of people!) to choose and use whatever tools they wish in order to build their own learning networks and, equally, respond to invitations to join the networks of co-workers and colleagues outside their own organisation?
In a recent blog post Supporting workplace learning in the network era is more than delivering courses through a LMS, Jane Hart notes that this is already happening.
it has been clear for some time that many individuals are already taking responsibility for not only acquiring new knowledge and skills but for a wide range of activities for their continuous learning and professional development. All of which has now become possible due to the availability of an ever-increasing number of instructional and informational resources as well as social tools, together with easy access to huge numbers of people in social networks and online communities.
To try to change attitudes to social media in the workplace, IRISS and the Improvement Service have organised, as part of Glasgow’s contribution to Social Media Week, a discussion panel entitled Who’s Leading? We want to find out who is, or should be, leading the efforts to change attitudes and promote digital inclusion in the workplace.
Come along a put your questions to a panel of experts. It’s free and you’ll get a glass of wine and some nibbles.
Monday 24 September, 5:30 for 6:30. More details at http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/event/whos-leading/