The New Social Learning

It is summer and my business-related reading has slowed to a crawl in favor of beaches, bike rides and vacations. My first book review in nearly two months is of The New Social Learning by Marcia Conner and Tony Bingham.

I enjoyed this very practical book of ideas and advice around how to use new "social" technologies in support of a key need in organizations: ongoing learning at the individual, group and organizational level.  

This is what the authors tell us in their introduction (one of my pet peeves about social media discussion is that it is so often about marketing):

This book is for people who are specifically interested in how social media helps people in organizations learn quickly; innovate fast; share knowledge; and engage with peers, business partners, and the customers they serve.

And then they really peaked my interest in the opening / overview chapter with a great discussion of learning and organizational learning and how training only covers a small part of the "learning" problems that organizations find. 

Training often gives people solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.

The remaining chapters cover several general areas where social learning applies: sharing stories; microsharing; collective intelligence; immersive environments; and then using these technologies to enhance in-person meetings. All of the chapters follow a similar pattern with the basic setup - usually with a story to bring things to life - and then more detail around how and why the idea works, followed by dealing with frequent concerns/criticisms of the approach (many of which are "that won't work here"), and finally a set of recommendations on how to get started.

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