The world of work is changing fast. Social technology advances and human knowledge are rising exponentially. At the same time, budgets are tighter than ever and learning leaders are being asked to do more with less. How do you maintain a competitive advantage when you’re just trying to survive the new normal?
Today, it’s the talent-powered enterprise that wins. The most successful, highly valued businesses are finding effective ways to develop and tap into their most valuable resource — human capital.
The key to gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage is the untapped potential of the collective intelligence of people.
But traditional approaches to learning and talent development won’t cut it any more. Leaders need to rethink how they develop talent in a way that drives business performance. They need to do it better, faster and cheaper; this just happens to be the promise of social collaborative learning (SCL). It’s also the business reason why SCL should be a leading strategic initiative for every learning organization on the planet.
With the shift to a knowledge economy, the delivery model for learning professionals has evolved from training provider to learning enabler. Now, it’s more about understanding how people learn over what they learn. It’s more about shaping the environment, motivating people, and helping them generate and spread ideas to solve burning issues.
Enterprises are moving away from old school, rigid hierarchical frameworks and embracing — and leveraging — informal work domain networks. There’s great value and potential in leveraging social technologies.
It enables you to unlock the collective genius that exists within people. It creates a platform to engage in rich dialog; generate and spread ideas; teach and learn; and capture and share knowledge.
SCL is more contextual because it happens at the speed of business. For example, you can tape subject-matter experts to capture real-time, engaging stories to frame relevant problems and solutions. You can edit, complete and deploy your message almost immediately. You could ask them for recommended readings on that topic, questions for others to reflect on, and have them provide answers. You’re getting knowledge and solutions out of their heads and transferring it to the greater audience — better and faster.
Now, it’s easy to record high-definition, Hollywood-quality videos on a smart phone for free. You can upload them into the cloud in a private, secured video-streaming environment and send them around the world to all of your associates for almost nothing. They can engage in rich online dialog, attend live, virtual forums, reflect on comments and stories by subject-matter experts, and think about how they may apply it in the context of their own job — adding significant value to the business.
Virtual learning communities (VLC) create an environment for groups of people, communities of interest and alumni networks for people to connect, learn, and stay on the cutting edge of practice. Through deliberate practice, reflection and application over time, they continue on the path to mastery.
The need for collaboration has never been more critical. SCL helps your leaders learn at the speed of business, spread knowledge broadly, and solve problems faster. It builds and strengthens your organization’s network of expertise to better capture and share learning throughout your company. Consider how you can embrace social technologies for a powerful new way to connect people in purpose-built networks to improve your business outcomes.
— Author of this article, Alan Todd, is CEO of CorpU. Partnering with the world’s leading business and academic organizations, CorpU brings a powerful new way to connect people to solve problems, generate ideas, teach and learn, and capture knowledge. The company’s Virtual Learning Communities integrate social media and mobile technologies to seamlessly connect employees and experts to accelerate business success. For more information, visit the Website www.corpu.com or telephone (212) 213-2828.