Thursday, 6 March 2008

Social networking

There’s been an explosion of interest recently in social networking as it applies to learning and especially e-learning. Hence the appearance of the pointless jargon “e-learning 2.0” and “learning 2.0”. There’s an ‘idiot’s guide’ here.

As someone who has posted regularly on discussion forums for at least six years, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I suppose it’s about the increasing numbers of people starting to use the Web to participate, rather than just to read. These opportunities have been about for years, but perhaps they are only now reaching critical mass as more and more people have computers with broadband connections.

Some HR managers have been getting worried about what people are talking about on their Facebook, MySpace, or Bebo sites. Which is a bit like worrying about what people chat about in cafes and pubs – the only real difference is that these comments are written and saved. I understand CIPD have been conducting some research into this, and have concluded that there’s nothing for employers to worry about.

As for learning, it represents a step in the right direction. The more people can use this sort of connectivity to support their learning, the better. And anything that encourages active learning, not just passive reading, has got to be a good thing. I'm glad to say that blogs, discussion forums, wikis, etc, seem to be here to stay, in the world of learning.

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