Monday, 20 January 2014

Learning Evaluation Network

When is a social network not a social network?  This issue was raised in the testing phase of the Learning Evaluation Network (LEN), just launched on the Ning platform.

Ning describes all the networks it supports as “social networks” but this conveys all sorts of assumptions, largely based on the most widely-recognised Facebook model. However, to take just one example, the Learning Evaluation Network is closed to the public, and open only to paying subscribers.

And so the founders of LEN (of whom I am one) don’t use the term “social network” – instead it is based on Etienne Wenger’s theory of Communities of Practice, and on the more recent concept of the personal learning network (derived in part from the idea of personal learning environments). In fact the term used by LEN is a “shared learning network”, which encapsulates some of all of the above – let’s see if that one catches on!

Evaluation of learning and development is pretty niche. Some would say that about L&D, and concern about its impact, and relationship with performance improvement, is even more niche, so evaluation of L&D bounds on the extremes of esoterica…

Except that it is rather important. Someone told me recently I should forget about trying to sell clients what they need and focus instead on what they want – at the risk of perpetuating a form of condescending paternalism, I’m going to carry on ignoring that advice. L&D practitioners need the learning evaluation network.

All of which amounts to some philosophical musings about what is really a very concrete proposition – members who subscribe to LEN connect to experts and practitioners in learning evaluation from all over the world, get free information, advice and resources, and the scope to accomplish much more. I think it’s a great concept, and I commend it to you.
Followers of this blog can join the Learning Evaluation Network at a discount of 10% from the published annual subscription by quoting promotional code TL420 when they register at

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