SoMe, Smart workers and the impact on workplace learning (ASTD Webinar notes)

Having just had a great ASTD Webinar conference with @JaneHart, I thought I’d share my notes on what she had to say about the impact of Smart Workers, Social Learning and Social Media on learning in the workplace. Or rather:


Given how Smart Workers work, what is the impact of learning in the workplace?


(Note, these are my notes, but not my thoughts – all credit must go to Jane!)

(Unless I quoted her badly 🙂 )


First of all, Jane shared 8 key features of what defines Smart Workers as “smart”. The slides from the Webinar will appear here soon, but for now, here’s what I grabbed (somehow I missed 1 during the kids dinner time!):

  • Learns continuosly and is aware of this
  • Wants immediate solutions to performance issues
  • Is happy to share knowledge
  • Learns best with and from other people
  • Keeps up-to-date with own industry and profession
  • Constantly striving to improve
  • Thrives on autonomy


What does all this mean for workplace learning? And for L+D professionals?

  • A lot of learning takes place under the L+D radar
  • SoMe can be used for formal AND informal learning
  • People cite the best learning tools as free social online tools
  • Smart Workers use SoMe tools to find, join, share and improve
  • Learning solutions must be embedded in the workflow, not more than 1 click away
  • …and L+D professionals will need to show that formal learning is VITAL if they expect people to jump out of the workflow to join in
  • L+Ds future role may be to support people in idetifying and using the best resources – as @JaneHart says: “the guide on the side, rather than the sage on the stage” (see also link from @BillCush)
  • Informal learning will become more and more important as the knowledge working era continues to grow and take shape
  • Although L+D people sometimes worry about quality control with SoMe based learning, most people who actually implement such learning solutions in their companies say it is not an issue (eg Peter Butler from British Telecom’s Dare2Share project)


There are tons more resources kindly shared on this page: notably including links to the work of @JayCross and @CharlesJennings, the @JaneHart survey on top tools for learning and youtube videos about Intel and BT’s knowledge sharing efforts.


Thanks to @ASTD for the invitation, Citrix for the simple and effective Webinar experience and @JaneHart for the presentation.


Feel free to comment


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Published by Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

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