Is Twitter really good for learning? (reply to @MiekWouters)

Reading @MiekWouters post about Twitter this morning on @KluwerOpleiding blogspot http://www.learninglive.be, I’m wondering: WHAT can be learnt on Twitter? Can it really increase competence? These are the questions I spend my time debating with non-Twitter lovers..

If we define competence as knowledge, skills and attitude, its clear to me that Twitter usage/benefits differ greatly per each one…

 

For knowledge, its really great. I have learnt so many new things via Twitter. The possibilities are endless …which leads to some of the issues with Twitter: How can you filter quality? Are you getting “the whole picture”? Who is right and who is wrong?

These problems are not new with Twitter and can be seen in all knowledge-sharing systems. Some organisations are tackling this issue by defining “knowledge coaches” who act as a hub or connector in the organisation to help people find their way through the masses of available information. Its clear that there is plenty out there, but how can we be sure to get the right stuff in?

 

Regarding skills, I already think Twitter is not as useful. I of course agree that new skills can be learnt outside of a formal training environment and some Web 2.0 tools are great for this. I recently learnt how to make Scoubidou’s for my 6 year-old using YouTube. If I didn’t have YouTube, I’d have had a crying daughter! …but Twitter already performs less well for me:

  • It is mostly only a hub to other places and therefore not the answer in itself (although its still a great hub)
  • With online skill-learning, it is very important to get feedback on your performance – Twitter can be a feedback channel, but that is not about the technology itself, rather the users using it ..and I think other forms of feedback will always be better
  • All I do on Twitter is share and discuss, not actually practice (unless its communication skills and the ability to make short messages)

 

I think Twitter can be useful for attitude. It’s a great base for conversation, discovery and sharing. As with almost everything in our creative era, Twitter can give you access to new cultures, new points of view, new information, discussion, border-crossing… This is brilliant news for open-minded people who want to reflect on their own approach, beliefs, processes. In the last few months I have followed some great TwitterChats with @C4LPT and @RealWpLearn on learning in the organisation and “met” some really interesting people with some really interesting views. This allowed me to learn new knowledge, but also to think about my attitude, my assumptions. Twitter is not the only tool for this attitude-based learning – any communication can help – but the sheer potential of the network of people is blinding.

 

In summary, Twitter is great! …but you can’t learn everything with it.

…fortunately, because I’m a trainer 🙂

 

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Visit www.infinitelearning.be

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About 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.

Posted on November 9, 2011, in Communication, Learning Management, Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dear Dan

    I absolutely agree with your comment on “Twitter & knowledge”. I can say that in the last 2 weeks I learnt more than in 1 year : thanks to Twitter – withe immediate access to interesting blogs and articles. And reinforces the feeling to make part of a “community”.

    Bu about “skills” : I think that you can develop a skill using Twitter ! You have to make your point in a limited number of characters. Interesting ! More information on : http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=259998

    @dan_steer

  2. Example of Twitter as a hub to skills learning…

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