Who Woulda Thunk It? – Networking’s Metamorphosis into Learning

by Sue Schnorr on September 27, 2010

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

New school: Networking is a professional competency that helps us DO a better job. 

Networking has become synonymous with informal learning.  How did that happen? Well, sale today’s business world moves rapidly. Change is a constant and new technologies emerge daily. 

To stay “ahead of the game, approved ” individuals and organizations need to be current with the latest and greatest ideas and information. The Internet makes it easier to access information and to get acqauinted with people in far away places.

It’s a more competitive than time than any other point in history. For instance, by the time an article goes to print, much of the information it contains is no longer current. Similarly, by the time a course is designed for learners, the content is out of date.  One has to be connected to stay on top of things.

In the past, most learning took place through formal, instructor-led training. Relatively recently, advancements in technologies with the Web and e-learning began to change the way we offered training programs. After 2001, between the decreased travel due to 9/11 and a weak economy in the years that followed, less formal training took place. 

The trend is moving toward on-demand, learned-centered “un-training” where learners/workers are highly engaged and collaborate more. Studies show that people learn far more from peers on the job, than they do it formal training programs. Their facile search and find skills systematically enable them to identify what they need to know and who the go-to people are so they can combine people and technology to get up to speed quicker than ever.  

With today’s technologies available, engagement and collaboration have become prevalent; information and best practices are shared more often. 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.

In this competitive, rapidly-changing world, one “wins by a nose” and those who are not “in the race” and are not leveraging Web 2.0 technologies and with their face-to-face relationships will be left behind.

Professional networking skills foster engagement and collaboration within companies and silos are breaking down.  Whether you’re in the job search mode, or looking for advancement within your company, read more about others have to say about networking and informal learning.

Read more:

Tony Karrer    

Jay Cross – Informal Learning

Jane Hart 

Charles Jennings

Harold Jarche

Clark Quinn 

Jane Bozarth 

Make Your Contacts Count

Keith Ferazzi

Michael J. Hughes

Bob Burg

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