Social Media and YOUR Learning Context – or Contexts

Here is a first for me – reuse of Content – in my Blog Postings, not just a slide or two, but all.

Hmmm? Cheating? The more I read about Twitter and Facebook as Learning Tools (versus Performance Tools) the more I am unconvinced of their utility in that domain – Context depending…of course!
Check this out from Guy (no relation, just kidding) Kawasaki: Twitter as a tool—specifically as a marketing tool—for my website Alltopand my book, Reality Check. If the concept of using Twitter in a commercial manner interests you, keep reading. If it doesn’t, then you can continue to send and receive tweets about how cats are rolling over and the line at Starbucks.

Well, that’s the Marketing “utility” – but what about for Learning?
This post suggests an answer – but doesn’t provide one. For me it’s still a stretch to label this as a Learning Tool:
Quote from the Post above: “Twitter has a lot of learning tool potential. It can be used by trainers to keep students informed about coursework, reading materials, and provide a place for discussion. I don’t think you can create groups though, which would mean forums and Facebook still trump Twitter for that purpose.”
I don’t buy those first two sentences. 140 characters limit – means: it is not a place for “discussion.”
And, of course, it depends on your definition of learning. 
Most of these overly broad definitions of learning suggests that the Dewey-decimal-systems’ card files at every public library when I was a kid in the 1950s was a “Learning Tool” – good for searches that lead to learning. My Schwinn bicycle then was a learning app on top of that Library system learning platform.  The baseball card in the spokes? An app for an app.

Here from Wikipedia, definitions of Social Media…
Again from Wikipedia, the distinction of Industrial (Mass) Media…
As one who has spent his adult career in Enterprise Learning,with a fair amount of experience in Educational Learning and Personal Learning – I think it helpful if other writers would refer to what kind of Learning Context one is speaking about before they over generalize and muddy/mash it all together.
At least IMHO.
And as I am on this kick to label things as Performance Tools versus Learning Tools – when that is what they really are – let me define the three contexts I see for both Performance and Learning…in this next graphic…
So how do Social Media – and specifically Twitter and Facebook – both of which I have about 60-90 days worth of Performance/Learning experiences – fit with those 3 Learning Contexts?
See the next graphic…
1- As Personal Learning can be almost anything, using Social Media as “one tool” can be helpful. 
2- As a Educational Learning tool Twitter might help one conduct brief 2-way communications, but is so limited to that 140 characters that it might lead the recipients somewhere else – but then email could have done that just as well – at less than or more than those 140 characters. So- maybe.  
3- Ditto to #2, but in the Enterprise Learning domain. So- maybe.
4- Again, as Personal Learning can be almost anything, using this Social Media app as “one tool of many” can be helpful. But again, it is limited.
5- As an Educational Learning tool, Facebook can help one create a network to be connected to. But other Social Media may be a better fit. So- maybe.
6- See #2 above, and again, in the Enterprise Learning domain. So- maybe.
Other Social Media…
7- Given all of the “other Social Media” of Web 2.0 – there are many Personal Learning applications – such as learning how to Twitter, how to make digital movies, edit them, and post them. Or learn how to bake a cake. Or raise cats. Can you learn to ride a bike? Or to water ski or to snowboard? Not really. But you can make a start.
8- In the Educational Learning context, many Social Media allow you to form a group and share with others. 
9- See #8 above. 
Here is an important distinction – at least for me/I/i – if one can forget (and not remember) the content, procedures, etc., from the search results – of any media/mechanism – then all that one is LEARNING is how to search, how to get answers to questions.
Is that Learning? Or is that Learning how to search and find?
Or to “follow” someone else’s posts? How does that compare to many different folks involved with the “Miracle on the Hudson” two weeks ago when on TV everyone saw real LEARNING kick-in by trained emergency response folks – police, firemen, harbor patrol, and even Ferry Boat Operators (my favorite heroes of that day) who stopped what they were doing/supposed to be doing and went and did something else. 
Darn few checked their online learning tools to see “what to do now!!!” 
For they couldn’t be allowed to forget the specifics and allowed to look it up when needed.
It is not that learning how to search Enterprise procedures/polices isn’t Learning. It is. It’s Learning how to find answers to questions. That enabling “how to” – not the terminal “how to.”
Which is really the important thing – sometimes.
One personal example: I have used the paper phone book to find someone/something. I have used the Internet – 1.0 and 2.0 and Social Media such as Facebook to find someone/something. 
But then I bookmark my source – and then I forgetaboutit.
Was that Learning? And then…Learning “what” exactly? An enabler to Performance? Or the terminal Performance?
Let’s not oversell the Learning Aspects of Performance tools as Learning tools.
Guy Kawasaki’s post suggests to me that Twitter is a Marketing Performance tool – and less-so a Learning Tool.
Otherwise – Texting on your mobile phone is just as valuable a tool for Learning as Twitter and Facebook.
At least IMHO.
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One comment on “Social Media and YOUR Learning Context – or Contexts

  1. Pingback: L&D: Quit Blaming ADDIE for Whatever | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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