Networking = Learning?

by Sue Schnorr on April 11, 2010

Networking has become synonymous with informal learning.  How did that happen? Well, case today’s business world moves rapidly and change is a constant; new technologies emerge daily. We’re more connected and networked and share more information than ever before.

Old school: Networking is a “necessary evil to get a job.” 

New school: Networking is a professional competency that helps us DO our jobs well. 

The Internet makes it easy to access information and to get acquainted with people in far away places. To stay “ahead of the game” in this current environment, treat individuals and organizations need to be “up to the minute” with the latest and greatest information. 

Business is more competitive than ever and information changes sooner. By the time an article goes to print, much of the information it contains is no longer current. Similarly, by the time a training need is identified and a course is designed, the content is out of date.  

This phenomenon has paved the way for the growth of informal learning. It is imperative to be connected so you can stay on top of the latest and greatest.

In the past, learning took place through formal, instructor-led training. In the late 80’s and 90’s, changes began to occur with the advancement of Web and e-learning technologies. In 2001, between the decreased travel due to 9/11 and a weak economy in the years that followed, less formal training took place due to travel and budget restrictions. 

Companies looked for less expensive alternatives and the trend has moved toward on-demand, learned-centered “un-training” where workers are highly engaged and collaborate more. Working =  Learning and Learning = Working. “Un-training” must be easily accessible, more relevant and meaningful.

Studies show that people learn far more from peers on the job, than they do it formal training programs (70 20 10). Their facile search and find skills enable them to systematically identify what they need to learn and who the go-to people are so they can combine people and technology to get up to speed quicker than ever.  

New technologies emerge daily, and engagement and collaboration have become the norm. Information, resources and best practices are shared more often and more easily. Standards and expectations are higher than ever. People don’t stay in jobs as long and take valuable information with them when they move on.

It’s a competitive, rapidly-changing world where one “wins by a nose.” Those not “in the race” who are not leveraging Web 2.0 technologies and with their face-to-face relationships are left behind.

Read more about how  emerging technologies, social media, engagement and networking impact the way we learn and succeed in today’s world.

Social Media for Knowledge Workers: eLearning Technology   (Tony Karrer)

Informal Learning (Jay Cross)

Training and Social Media Handbook (Jane Hart)

The Future Business of Learning for Suppliers (Charles Jennings)

Seek, Sense, Share  (Harold Jarche)

Informal and Formal Learning Tool (Clark Quinn)

ADDIE Wasn’t Even There to See It   (Jane Bozarth)

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Harold Jarche » Emergent Social Media
April 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

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