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Just how effective is social computing for workplace learning?


Social learning is the latest buzz in the world or corporate learning and development. Some organisations have embraced social computing as a means to enable employees to create, share, search for, access and use 'learner created content' at little or no cost, breaking down the barriers of the corporate LMS (much loathed by many a learner). My own employer (IBM) is at the vanguard of adoption, enabling employees around the globe to share knowledge, ideas and build new skills by learning from their peers.

IBM's recent study of 1,700 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 always done, or does it add real value to business?

There is little research on this subject and scant empirical evidence beyond anecdotal 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. I started my research by interviewing 20 fellow IBMers with L&D backgrounds at various career grades and in various countries in order to get their insight in to the use of social computing for learning at IBM and among our clients. The next stage is to conduct a wider piece of research inside and outside IBM based upon the findings from those interviews...

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:

The questionnaire will be available until 20th July 2012.

The questionnaire takes about 10 mins to complete, and every participant will receive a 'thank you' in the form of a $10 (USD) store credit to spend with National Geographic's partner - 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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