Social Computing for Workplace Learning - Your views sought

Dear fellow Learning and Skills Group members,

A recent IBM study of c1,700 CEO's in 64 countries identified the challenge of a connected and collaborative world as a top priority for business leaders. As one respondent said "In a collaborative environment, organisations will need new models of working - ones highly dependent on technology", I believe the same applies to workplace learning.

But just how effective is social computing as a means of enabling workplace learning? Is it a fad, just a new way of doing what human's have already done, or does it add real value to business?

There is little research on this subject and scant empirical evidence beyond annedotal stories and a few case studies, so I have decided to embark upon a research project for my MSc in Management, focusing on the effectiveness of social computing for workplace learning.

 

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a £50 (UKP) Amazon or iTunes voucher, I would appreciate your help in my research by completing this questionnaire: www.surveymonkey.com/s/3HD7JQW

Additionally, every participant who leaves an email address will receive a 'thank you' in the form of a $10 (USD) store credit to spend with National Geographic's partner www.novica.com - a great way to support artisans in developing nations.

The questionnaire will be available until 20th July 2012 and takes about 10 mins to complete. 

Participation is anonymous (unless you wish to leave your email address), and all my findings, conclusions and recommendations will be published in October, and sent to those who wish to receive a copy.

Paul D Jagger PgDMS CITP FBCS 
44 (0) 1462 641 454
twitter, skype and linkedin: pauldjagger

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With my MSc research questionnaire only a day old, I'm beginning to see some trends in the data. Here are a few snippets of what I see so far:

1) Management are not getting in the way of employees use of social computing for workplace learning, with none of the respondents saying their line manager discourages their use of social computing for workplace learning.

2) There is little measurement of an employees use of social learning going on in business, with only 18% of respondents stating that their line manager included measurement in any sort of employee performance review.

3) Periodical learner feedback surveys still appear to be the favoured means of monitoring the effectiveness of social computing for workplace learning, with 60% of respondents stating this method is used in their organisation. Perhaps this is a hang-over from the days of end-of-course student evaluations?

 

My research continues and if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a £50 (UKP) Amazon or iTunes voucher, I would appreciate your help in completing this questionnaire www.surveymonkey.com/s/3HD7JQW

The questionnaire will be available until 20th July 2012 and it takes about 10 mins to complete. Every participant who leaves an email address will receive a 'thank you' in the form of a $10 (USD) store credit to spend with National Geographic's partner www.novica.com - a great way to support artisans in developing nations.

Participation is anonymous (unless you wish to leave your email address), and all my findings, conclusions and recommendations will be published in October, and sent to those who wish to receive a copy.

Three days in to the questionnaire phase of my research and some clear trends are emerging among the respondents.

Before I launched the questionnaire I interviewed 20 IBM L&D practitioners at various career grades and in various countries to get their insight in to social computing for workplace learning, both within IBM and among our clients. Those interviews resulted in my framing the resultant web based questionnaire - and limiting its scope to a manageable series of questions. One early lesson I learned was that there are many potential benefits and disadvantages to social computing for workplace learning, but among them are some recurring, systemic benefits and disadvantages that seem to transcend organisation, culture, language and technology. That's where I have focused my reseach.

A few, perhaps surprising early discoveries.

1) Despite the pervasive availability of Smartphones, well over 90% of learners use a laptop to access social computing for workplace learning, and over 80% identify their laptop as their most frequently used social learning device. Smartphones are used as a primary device by less than 5% of respondents.

2) Some organisations must take a charitable view of access to their corporate social learning resources, with 6% of respondents claiming that they can access their employers social computing for workplace learning resources via the Internet without authentication or a virtual private network.

3) Difficulty in search for the right learning turns out to be a high impact limitation of social computing for workplace learning among 46% of respondents. 

My research continues and if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a £50 (UKP) Amazon or iTunes voucher, I would appreciate your help in completing this questionnaire www.surveymonkey.com/s/3HD7JQW

The questionnaire will be available until 20th July 2012 and it takes about 10 mins to complete. Every participant who leaves an email address will receive a 'thank you' in the form of a $10 (USD) store credit to spend with National Geographic's partner www.novica.com - a great way to support artisans in developing nations.

Participation is anonymous (unless you wish to leave your email address), and all my findings, conclusions and recommendations will be published in October, and sent to those who wish to receive a copy.

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