Web 2.0 technology provides a plethora of tools to promote and enhance learning. Some of these tools enhance collaboration, others promote communication, and others enable convenience.
Web 2.0 provides a new frontier in learning design. It allows learning to move outside the classroom and become an integral part of learner’s everyday lives. It also has the potential to move education out of the instructor’s hands and place it firmly in the hands of the learner.
In my line of work, corporate learning & development, this last point is especially poignant. According to Gu, Churchill, and Lu (2014), “80% of what people learn at work comes from flexible and self-regulated informal learning activities.” Web 2.0 allows L&D departments to harness and direct this learning, while still keeping it self-directed and asynchronous.
This blog has investigated several web 2.0 learning tools. Among these are blogs, wikis, social media, mobile tools, and gamification.
Blogs allow learners and instructors to become authors. They allow sharing of thoughts and information. They also allow students to critique each other’s work. They are easy to use and are customizable to the author’s preference. The drawbacks of blogs is that they one of the least collaborative of the web 2.0 tools.
Wikis are similar to blogs in that they allow learners to become authors. The difference is that wikis are much more collaborative. Blogs typically have one author. Wikis can have unlimited authors.
Blogs and wikis could be very useful in a corporate learning environment. Blogs or wikis could be set up around different learning topics. Workers could create posts giving their thoughts on the topic. Other workers could comment and a conversation could develop. In my organization I see real potential for blogs and wikis among the L&D team.
We are in eight disparate locations. Often, it is difficult to get everyone together to work on material or to discuss educational topics. Both blogs and wikis provide a great means of enabling interaction and collaboration.
Social media is another tool that could be leveraged in a corporate environment. Twitter or Facebook could be used to push reading material, charts, infographics, or other content out to learners. This allows the learner to view the material on their own time, but still provides some direction from the L&D team.
Mobile technology is even more exciting to me. Our personnel have limited time to study. After all, they all have day jobs to perform. Mobile allows them to learn while waiting at the airport, during slow periods, or while commuting. It allows employees to access material when it is needed. A salesman can’t wait until he is back at the hotel to find the answer to a customer’s question. With mobile technology, he has the answer at his fingertips.
Lastly, gamification, especially scenario tools, allow learners to practice skills in a safe and controlled environment. This is not only fun, but it gives the learner more confidence once they are doing the real thing.
In my organization, this would be great for all levels of employees. Floor workers could practice on virtual equipment. Salespersons could try to close a sale with a virtual customer. And leaders could counsel virtual employees.
Web 2.0 provides many methods to enhance corporate learning. Many organizations across the world have already embraced many of these tools. The remainder need to begin developing programs ot risk being left behind.