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What is Social Learning?


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My presentation at the VA Learning University Social Learning Summit

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What is Social Learning?

  1. 1. VA Learning University July 20, 2011 WHAT IS SOCIAL LEARNING? Steve Radick, Lead Associate Booz Allen Hamilton
  2. 2. WHO IS THIS GUY? <ul><li>Steve Radick, Lead Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton </li></ul><ul><li>Serve on the Advisory Boards for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SmartBrief on Social Media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SMCEDU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comment on my blog at </li></ul><ul><li>Connect with me on LinkedIn at </li></ul><ul><li>Find me on Twitter at </li></ul>
  3. 3. meet Alex
  4. 4. Alex works here… U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Columbia, SC
  5. 5. He is a public affairs specialist , passionate about using his skills to help improve Veteran care
  6. 6. Alex is widely regarded by his team as an emerging leader with great potential
  7. 7. But lately, Alex has started looking for other opportunities
  8. 8. You see, Alex’s career is stuck in a rut Photo courtesy of Flickr user woodleywonderworks
  9. 9. Despite hundreds of available training courses, Alex doesn’t feel he’s advancing professionally
  10. 10. From his professors… From his friends… From his role models… … .and from people he didn’t even know When he was in college, Alex felt he was always learning From other people’s professors…
  11. 11. Learning didn’t have a beginning , a middle, or an end… The learning didn’t start or stop just because Alex was “ in class ”
  12. 12. “ Sure, I attended class because I had to, but most of what I actually learned didn’t happen there”
  13. 13. It happened here -
  14. 14. Here…
  15. 15. Here…
  16. 16. Here… Photo courtesy of Flickr user PICNIC Network
  17. 17. Here…
  18. 18. Here…
  19. 19. Here…
  20. 20. And of course, here… Photo courtesy of Flickr user amtrak_russ
  21. 21. Colleges have learned that those students who form social relationships during the first year of school are more likely to graduate on time
  22. 22. Unfortunately, Alex has gone from learning from people, conversations, experiences , and relationships…
  23. 23. … to learning from voices Photo courtesy of Flickr user quinn.anya
  24. 24. lectures…
  25. 25. files…
  26. 26. and web platforms
  27. 27. = If Alex were a sponge , these tools would work out great
  28. 28. ≠ Unfortunately, Alex is lacking the necessary sponge genes and can’t always absorb and apply what he’s learning when he needs it most
  29. 29. So, instead of learning and growing , Alex does just what’s required of him
  30. 30. While his skills stagnate Photo courtesy of Flickr user wallygrom
  31. 31. Have Alex’s skills peaked already?? Photo courtesy of Flickr user dherrera_96
  32. 32. Alex isn’t getting the professional development he needs, not because of a lack of desire, ambition, or skill Or because of a lack of courses, trained instructors, or delivery methods
  33. 33. But because the way Alex learns is different from the way the organization teaches
  34. 34. Alex should be learning every day, from everyone around him, not just at specific times from specific instructors
  35. 35. Social Learning is about creating an environment where this informal learning is encouraged , shared , captured , and leveraged
  36. 36. For Alex, Social Learning is not about blogs, wikis, Twitter, or social networking
  37. 37. For Alex, Social Learning is about creating relationships with people from whom he can learn continuously
  38. 38. QUESTIONS? 1. Can you empathize with Alex? 3. How can VA create an environment where informal learning is encouraged, shared, captured, and leveraged? 2. What advice would you give Alex?