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mLearning: Thinking Social

In talking about the 4C’s of Mobile, the last one I usually mention is ‘communicate’.  Communicate isn’t last because it’s least, but instead because it leads us furthest afield, into the areas of social learning, which has many ramifications in many ways: organizationally, cognitively, culturally, and more.  However, it is of importance for mobile in terms of thinking about how and when to take advantage of it.  It is also something that the Internet Time Alliance is wrestling with.

We strongly believe in performance consulting, that is getting to the root cause of the organizational problem, and determining whether the problem is skill set, information, motivation, or whatever.  This is a necessary step before you decide your intervention. However, the current models of performance consulting seem to be  missing a couple of things.  For one, they are not particularly good at engagement, at least in the formal learning setting, and trying to understand the audience’s interest.  More importantly here, they also seem to lack consideration of when a social media solution might make sense.

As a preliminary step, I went back to some material I have from my workshop on mobile learning design.  One of the activities is thinking about when you might want to consider a social solution, to connect to someone to communicate, rather than have a prepared solution.  My initial thoughts were that you might want to connect when:

  • the content is highly volatile
  • the situation is likely unique
  • the cost of access is low
  • the need for personal touch or mentoring is high

These make sense to me, but I’ve no reason to believe the list is comprehensive.  However, it is a starting point for thinking about when you might want to provide access to a social resource, whether a directory of appropriate people, or consider providing communication tools.

I might extend the list with:

  • when the situation is likely new
  • when there is an expert
  • when the situation is likely to be complex.

Here’s a tougher one: when would you think the situation would likely need a collaborator, instead of an expert?  What’s the trigger?

As I said, I’m just starting to wrestle with this.  What ideas do you have?

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