Tools for a learning organization

Lennart Helmbold is responsible for the Future Learning project at Media Evolution. The text is taken from our publication “Sharing is learning”, about how we generate knowledge together.

Tools

Goal-oriented courses and training programs
Both traditional courses and e-learning are distributed and administered using a Learning Managmnent System. Moodle.org is an open web-based system that is free. Shorter goal-oriented courses can be quickly produced with programs such as Articulate.com. Web meetings can be quickly organized and broadcast using the free software Skype.

Job-oriented learning
Learning material can easily be uploaded and distributed using the platform Drupal.org. It is web-based and free. PowerPoint or Keynote presentations can exported to Articulate.com and the inflow of information and knowledge can be organized using the free service Netvibes.com.

Collaboration and Communication
The social web service Ning.com can be used to get started with knowledge sharing and collaboration. To build and share common knowledge, try the web-based Wikispaces.com, which is similar to Wikipedia. If you want to produce and upload videos, try Ning or streaming on YouTube.

Interview

It would be no exaggeration to say that Johan Skoglöf, CEO at LearnTech, is a leading e-learning consultant and learning trendspotter in Sweden. He has worked with several major organizations from different industries at varying levels of maturity with respect to learning.

What distinguishes mature learning processes from the more traditional?
“Traditional courses and e-learning courses are often handled via a Learning management System (LMS). You administer courses and do reporting. More mature, target-driven and flexible learning is based on standardized process support for systematic skills management. What skills are needed for future business development? Which skills does it require? And what skills activities should be implemented operationally?”

“In mature learning processes, objectives are set at the individual level, activities come on time and e-learning is mixed with traditional courses. One new trend is to integrate evaluations based on the impact of the activity at work.”

What do you do if you want to approach learning at work?
“The purpose of work-oriented learning is to support staff on the job, like sales representatives with a certain product, or a group of financial advisers, and then the information is more contextualized directly on the web site in the form of screenshots, etc. The trend is to achieve what is known as a personal learning environment (PLE), in which the flow of knowledge is configured in a personal overview for blogs, Twitter flows and so on.”
How do you take the step to collaborative learning and what does it entail?

“Collaborative learning is completely user-driven and situational. It involves building a culture of learning from the knowledge and experience of others, while contributing one’s own. You generate your own forums or wikis online that, for example, programmers often use. But the driving forces vary, depending on the organization and role. In some cases you use grades, or focus on specific items. But just having the opportunity to relate personal experiences and become visible in the organization is a strong driving force.”

“Openness in the large organizations is still quite limited. Communities are built inside firewalls, even though little of the information involves trade secrets. An example of the opposite is Cisco, which has open forums for developers.”

“Creating Facebook or LinkedIn groups at work, which are work-related, is also becoming increasingly common since companies are realizing how difficult it is to draw the line between work-related learning and other things.”

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