I break with thee oh old LCMS – enough! As we move to support people at the point of need the key focus should be on the tools that help identify the need first and then guide the solution to those in search. ~95% of an employee’s time is not spent in training, they are in the context of their role and have a need @Point of work so why must we continue to implement and develop for these monster systems? To be clear, I am not recommending we return to the days of big honking 3 ring binders on the desktop nor am I discounting the good attributes this type of tool offers including a data repository, a delivery and tracking mechanism, and tracking/reporting capabilities. However we now have integrated collaboration tools that can be used to analyze the conversations taking place and quickly connect content, people, problems, and solutions to those seeking success.
Let’s focus on our professional purpose, I like Gary Wise’s goal, “ you are trying to do is get the right “stuff” into the right hands when it’s needed in order to get something done without screwing up.” That means the solution is probably something short and focused on the problem, what he calls a Performer Support Object (PSO). LCMSs let you create, modify, and reuse content but “are used mainly by course developers, rather than by learners. Typically they offer features such as object repositories for learning objects where they can be searched, reused or adapted.” And here is where we need to move past the SCO model and to the PSO. SCOs (shareable content objects) traditionally have a goal/objective, have the content, and an assessment all neatly wrapped up together, in my past I had a 20 minute rule-of-thumb model we built around. It was good, it proved time and money could be saved, it brought consistency to many areas of the business and it works for training – but to re-focus, please reference figure 1 again.
We should return to our roots as Farb Nivi, Grockit founder, recently stated that social learning “was the dominant way learning occurred before the industrialization of education in the mid-to-late 1800s” so let our past be our present. In a recent study employers stated that three of the top five skills desired were verbal communication, teamwork, and critical thinking/reasoning (problem solving). Grockit reports that students engaged in its social learning experience study longer, answer more questions, and get more questions correct.
But here is the trick where social media platforms need to learn the lessons painfully acquired during the daze of LCMS implementations and focus on how learners will find the answers, how they will search effectively and how we can support them best. Many organizations do not understand how important metadata and keyword taxonomies are for the searcher, is not clearly understood and not a high priority, design teams included. This is where the true ROI is and the ultimate business case is built because without a sound search capability (done upfront by a lot of people!) a few months after implementation the user community will complain that they can’t find the content and the number of user will trend down on the platform. Suddenly the upfront planning and resources, along with associated costs and time to design a taxonomy, will not seem as costly when compared to an enterprise system not being used.
Now this might be a buzz-kill for the cool SoMe (social media) advocates however Christian Buckley, Director of Product Evangelism at Axceler made the point when he wrote, “Metadata is what defines our content, puts it into context for collaborating across teams, it is what drives our social interactions, and it is what powers workflow and other forms of automation. It is the fundamental building block of every collaborative platform. Metadata can be structured (taxonomy) and unstructured (folksonomy, or end user-generated keywords). Social tools utilize it, and add to it, which in turns improves the overall search experience. You cannot search (and expect to find anything) without it. And yet simply adding to it is not the answer — you must actively manage it, massage it, cut and trim it. Metadata management is not static, but an ongoing activity.”
So here is where we get to be cool again, everyone should have the ability to “tag” the content and create a blended “tax-folksonomy” (hmmm, what about “flaxsonomy”?) so we can customize how we find what we want to find, this allows regional dialects to increase searches and help people solve the problem no matter the location, the time, or the tool! This supports the model Jane Hart talks about and “we should we be employing the very same (social) tools or platforms that are used by individuals and teams in their daily workflow to do their jobs. This might be an enterprise social collaboration platform (if one exists) or else other social tools - or even a bit of both. But, by doing this, it will ensure “learning” becomes much more embedded in the workflow than it has ever done before.” Embedded, in place, easy to find quickly – now we are cool again! What Masie is calling “Learning Together”, is what I think we need to do to ensure we get the right stuff into the right hands at the right time. We need to include the back-office “flaxsonomy” that will enable our user community to solve the problem at the point of need be it work, home, or someplace in the middle.
So out with thee oh old LC and bring on the new SoMe – but please make sure it is able to use my flaxsonomy!