What makes an e-learning forum tick?
This is the crux of social learning for me, what John Seely Brown calls ‘learning at the periphery’ or Cox calls ‘vicarious’ learning and I have dubbed ‘learning through serendipity’.
As a result of taking part you acquire knowledge, you develop your thinking and understanding.
It was no different for me learning French. The school way was hopeless, what I required was total immersion, which is what I got in my late teens turning up in France on an exchange, making friends and returning … then working a gap year as far from English speakers as possible. This is how I learn, many of us prefer this informal approach.
Is it something that corporate e-learning companies and corporate learning departments have yet to tap into?
Gilly Salmon introduced the idea of the e-moderator and e-tivities in 2002.
It still takes excellent moderation, what the French call an ‘animateur’ – someone to host the event and keep it bubbling along nicely.
The mix of attendees matters too. 100 minimum sound like a big number but observation, experience and research show that around 95% observe, 4% take part and only 1% are more actively engaged.
Whilst this 1%, even the 5% are necessary what does this say about the contributions the other 95% could be making?
This is where events need to have a long tail, to be stored, aggregated, developed, talked over and blogged at greater length. What Grainne Conole calls ‘meaning making’.
Perhaps because it lacks measurement, that there appear to be no parameters.
There are many ways to get content noticed. All the traditional tricks of promotion are required here too.
Email databases, events, trade promotions, press advertising and business cards; online is not a panacea, neither is it replacement technology. It is part of the world we live in, a choice, something else, that complements other ways of doing things.
The ‘long tail’ refers to the way content has a life before, during and after being posted.
There is a story to tell in its creation and promotion; its release should factor in for a long shelf life, then there is this ‘after life’, how once posted content may then be picked up by others and developed into different, better and alternative things. Keep tabs on this and content online becomes more like street theatre, or talking from a soap box on Hyde Park Corner, it is an opportunity to engage with an audience.
I like to blog, use Linkedin and Twitter.
Better to be the master of some platforms than a jack of all trades.
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