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on September 13, 2010
If your profession is learning and development, The New Social Learning is a must read.

Even if you are one of those people who are suspicious of social media or one who thinks social networking is a place for wasting time or if you think Twitter is a place where people tell you what they are eating for lunch, you will read the book and understand exactly how social learning is a new imperative for how we enable organizational learning. You will find this book to be a practical guide to implementing social learning in your organization.

At the end of each chapter, there is a list of common objections and how to overcome them. I found this to be the most useful part of the book. Just like a sales person needs to overcome objections from prospects, any organizational leader who intends to implement a new thing, must prepare for the inevitable objections that arise from the skeptics and curmudgeons. And there will be many. The list of objections and the ways to overcome them are, by themselves, worth the cost of your time to read this book.

The other idea that I infer this book is that people will learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it despite our best efforts to design and deliver training. Too many L&D professionals are hung up on the need to control the instructional design and training delivery process, believing that people simply do not learn properly, unless proper instruction is used in proper training delivery. Well this book is one step in the direction of proving that idea wrong. Our job is to not deliver instruction, but to enable people to learn what they need to learn to get their jobs done now.

Although the New Social Learning does not propose that instructional design and classroom training will be replaced (far from it), Tony and Marcia weave tales of company's that are using various elements of social and collaboration technologies to enable people to learn and most importantly grow and improve job performance....which is what this is all about in the first place.
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on September 30, 2010
It is well known that social media are good for keeping in touch with friends, networking with business contacts, disseminating your opinions, sharing embarrassing photos, and wasting idle time. However, they can also be important tools in the field of collaborative learning, according to Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner in this book.

Social learning, the authors say, is learning with and from others. It occurs at conferences, in discussion groups, and over tables in the café. Now, with social media tools, it can happen over Twitter, via Facebook, or through the agency of a myriad of other tools, in a manner unconstrained by geography or time differences. The book goes on to describe a number of examples of companies implementing virtual communities which have enabled connections and sharing between people who would never have been able to connect without social media tools.

Notwithstanding the various examples given, I still wonder whether most organisations can be "transformed" through social media as promised in the subtitle of the book. Social media certainly facilitate connections in very large organisations, but I am less persuaded by the use of Twitter as a serious learning tool. Video is undoubtedly a powerful teaching tool, but video is not necessarily "social media". On the other hand, immersive "Second Life" type environments seem to have enormous potential as interactive learning environments. I would recommend this book to anyone involved in workplace training.
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on September 13, 2010
The NEW Social Learning (@newsociallearn) is a guide to creating your own "community of learners" by embracing and integrating social and mobile tools in the training and learning process.

This book offers real examples and guidelines in how to implement engagement, listening skills, and most importantly, how to build collective intelligence from within and outside of your organization's silo.

Some professions are ahead of the curve (marketing pros and educators come to mind), but there are many cubicle centers and manufacturing mobs, retailers and customer service sectors who are keeping their blinders on tight, doing training like it's still 1989.

The NEW Social Learning can assist in a transformation that makes sense and creates a learning environment that makes meaning.

Whether the boardroom or the classroom, this book should be in your hands and under your yellow highlighter - and definitely part of your organizations training & development curriculum.
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on September 14, 2010
It's five am this morning. My eyes are glued to the page. I'm excited. I'm writing down ideas on my legal pad about how I can collaborate with clients and friends using social networking tools. I'm already using Twitter to learn from my social network. But as I dig deeper into this book, I realize I can learn more from my social network. And so can you. If you're like me, this book will give you flashes of inspiration you can use in your small business.

The New Social Learning: Transforming Organizations Through Social Media includes pages and pages of examples about how the CIA, IBM, Intel and others are incorporating social learning into their organizations. Here's one example.

"Josh Bancroft, technology evangelist and blogger at Intel, tells of an experience when one of the people he worked with needed to accomplish a task. To do so, she needed to use a piece of software no one in her group had ever heard of, let alone knew enough about to use. It would have taken months to learn the software and complete the task. Instead, she searched the organization's internal wiki system and found someone who had done a project using the software. She contacted that person and asked for help. Within a matter of weeks the project was done. How many wiki pages was the efficiency gain worth? Add up not only the time saved by one person, but also the advantages of a quicker time to market for this project."

In a smaller organization, you could do the same thing on Twitter. If someone in your business needs to learn how to solve an issue and no one else in your business knows how, then ask your network on Twitter. You'll get answers with links in minutes.

The downside is that most examples featured in the book are from large organizations. But it doesn't matter. Blogging software and Wiki software is free. Bulletin board software is free. Any web design firm can set-up this software quickly and easily for you. You're also able to use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to accomplish the same goals. But if you want something password protected, you'll need to talk to a web design firm.

Here is another example from the book:

"Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM Software Sales, uses microsharing tools to narrate part of his work and share his whereabouts with various teams. When he posted on IBM's internal microsharing tool that he was heading to a town where he hadn't been before for an important customer meeting, within a few minutes an IBM sales rep asked if Picciano might have time to meet with another customer in the same city. Picciano met with both customers that day, helped close a sale he didn't even know about when he woke up that morning, and established a new and now long-standing relationship with another part of his organization."

If you've only thought about using social networking for marketing, you're missing out. I recommend this book if you want to expand your thinking and grow your business through learning and collaboration.
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on January 15, 2014
If you're looking for a good read on social learning that will generate excitement and serve as a thinking launching pad for your next adventure in implementing social media learning tools, then this is the right book for you! Up front, this book is not a how-to. You won't find explicit instructions on how to get started or specific technical details. However, the content in the book will inspire you to dig in for a journey of exploration on leveraging the power of collective, collaborative, and multi-person learning exchanges.

The short book is very-well organized into seven chapters. Chapter 1 is an introduction/overview, providing you with some of the instructional and learning theories behind social learning as well as with some of its wonderful benefits. Each of the subsequent chapters considers a social medium by defining and describing it, describing its benefits, and providing at least one powerful, amazing use case. Each of these chapters concludes with a practical "How to Respond to Critics" section to help you defend against the common critiques of the naysayers as well as provide you with ideas on getting started and promoting the use of that particular medium. The use cases and responses to critics are the best sections in each chapter. By far, the most amazing use case presented is the use of wikis by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). After reading that, it gave me hope that almost any organization, even ones as monolithic as the CIA are capable of implementing tremendous change of thought and practices with regards to organizational learning.

The six media considered in this book are: (1) social networks (online communities), (2) rich media (like videos), (3) microsharing (tweets), (4) wikis, (5) immersive environments, and (6) live events.

The most useful approach to reading this book would be to read the first five chapters. I found the last two chapters (immersive environments and live events) to be the weakest. It may be that what is currently known about immersive environments has not reached a maturity level that would make it easier to impart more practical, tacit, and experiential knowledge. That is, perhaps the use of virtual worlds, gaming, and simulations has not quite reached the major mainstream within organizations' learning and development circles. The last chapter on live events seemed more like a string of ideas thrown together about social learning at events. It did not do a good job of synthesizing the unifying ideas of social learning as a whole (although the authors did attempt to do it in the last chapter).

Despite the lackluster of Chapters 6 and 7, this is well worth your time. I found this book to be timely in my current professional growth and career level as I look to innovate with some new ideas to spice up our training products line where I work. This book has successfully launched me on the path to exploring and implementing social media learning tools.
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on August 21, 2012
If you know nothing (like me) about social media, but you NEED to learn fast - buy this book. GREAT! Tons of info and great insights. Made me re-think my negative view of social media. We all need to "evolve" and allow new ideas to take hold. This is a great book.
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In the afterword of this social media primer for the business set, authors Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner explain that they tried to walk a "fine line...between being alarmist and simply expressing excitement about the radical changes occurring" due to the array of social media tools available to businesses. The authors exude a quiet, knowing confidence that entices the reader. Here you will find instructive stories, ideas to reinvigorate a workforce from the ground up and talking points to address doubters' concerns. The book simplifies some of the startup costs, both tangible and intangible, of implementing corporate change through social media, but it also details such initiatives undertaken by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and IBM. Bingham and Conner recommend their book to senior executives and managers because social media shouldn't be separate from the inner workings of business itself. getAbstract particularly recommends it to human resources professionals and corporate learning specialists who might help provide social media on-ramps for their organizations.
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on June 27, 2015
Must read for anyone in a management position.
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on August 24, 2010
Marcia Conner (@marciamarcia on Twitter) and Tony Bingham have filled this accessible read with stories and anecdotes featuring my entire community of learning profressionals; a literal "who's who" of practitioners, innovators and thought leaders in professional learning, education and training.

What is a surprise for me is Marcia's gift of story. As a blogger, public speaker and writer, I'm humbled by this work: it is the book I wish I had the skill to write.

Marcia masterfully crafts distinct narrative threads into a compelling "State of the Practice" of Social Learning; the keyword being *practice*. Marcia cites example after impressive example of organizations that are opening themselves to and embracing social media to augment, reinforce, replace and extend their learning and training programs. Who are these organizations? The CIA, EMC, Grainger, JetBlue, Pfizer, TELUS and a host of other major companies and government organizations have employees getting smarter by connecting with each other.

You might be a senior leader in your organization. Are you enabling your people to be your information network?
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on December 18, 2011
This is a great introduction into using various social media platforms to help facilitate learning, by experts in the learning and development field.
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