Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Social Learning, Simulations and Networking

Today I was at Tetra Pak in Lund, Sweden for a network meeting with Swedish Learning Association (in Swedish). The theme of this meeting was simulations but we also got a chance to talk Social Learning for a while. Malm√∂ University has published a report on how Swedish companies are working with new tools for learning. To summarise it very shortly, it doesn't look very good, at least if you have the same interest in Social Learning as I have. After the presentation of the report was presented we had the chance to discuss our views on Social Learning and the available tools.

I would say that 1/3 of the participants were for SoMe for learning and 2/3 were against. And I am so glad I have read the book "New Social Learning" by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, because now I have the arguments needed to discuss with those who oppose the change (that I believe will come no matter how hard they fight it). In the very first chapter in the book Tony and Marcia mention seven things that often is said by opponents. After ten minutes of discussion I heard and responded to five of these:

  • People will say inappropriate things - check
  • People will post incorrect information - check
  • Our people need training, not socializing - check
  • This can't be goverened - check
  • This can't be measured - check

 This means that I have already got ROI on this book. If you, like me, are interested in SoMe and learning it's a must-read.

The thing that really scared me was that the people at this network meeting are all working in the L&D field and I expected them to be more visionary than they actually were. I think it is one thing to hear these arguments for people not working with L&D since they don't have the knowledge nor interest on learning matters.

After the discussion we were shown two different simulations, one sales simulation (from Ericsson) and one Change Management simulation called EIS (not sure who is actually behind it) that for example we at IKEA uses.

The Change Management simulation is very interesting and I have participated in a Change Management training were this simulation was used as a base for the training.

The Sales simulation was a bit tricky to understand, probably because I am not a sales person at all. But it was impressing never the less. The amount of background data used in the simulation was astonishing.

So what is my view on simulations? I think they can serve a purpose when done in the right context and with the right facilitation. My major concern is that, as most simulations are game-like in their construction they really encourage people to constantly try to alter things and after a while you tend to just sit and click away without sticking to your original plan and strategy. Not sure how this could be done differently without making the simulation slow and boring. Any ideas?

Over and out!

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