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Martin Couzins

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Social learning – an impossible dream for L&D?


TrainingZone caught up with Clive Shepherd, one of the UK's foremost experts on e-learning, at the recent Charity Learning Conference, which he was chairing.

Shepherd reflected not only on the conference but on some of the broader themes that have been emerging from recent L&D conferences. His views make for interesting, and potentially uncomfortable, listening for learning and development managers.
Shepherd has sympathy for L&D professionals tasked with delivering more with less as the economy continues to stumble. As those in L&D figure out how they are to keep their jobs, so they will be looking at bringing social learning into the organisation. But this learning will not be delivered by L&D, Shepherd says.
He goes on to say that using social media in the workplace for learning seems almost like an impossible dream because there are so many cultural obstacles and so many priorities that would get in the way.
But Shepherd warns: "If we are cut down to lean L&D teams we can no longer pretend that we will be the people delivering learning. If we can't find a way to get sharing to take place in organisations and people to teach each other then we will never meet the need [of organisations]".
Shepherd contends that employees are happy to learn using social media and social learning techniques but L&D managers are nervous at giving up control.
Watch our video with Clive Shepherd.

Do you agree? Are L&D professionals fearful of giving up the control of learning in the organisation?

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