Here is the third installment of my notes and clippings from the opening chapters of Jane Bozarth's book Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning. 2010 John Wiley and Sons.
Following this introduction, the remainder of this book is devoted to an introduction to some major social media tools, providing both information about the tool and a how-to for getting started in using the tool. Tools include Twitter, Facebook and other communities, Blogs, Wikis, Other Tools, and The Bigger Picture.
In choosing technologies to use, remember that every additional site to check, every different user ID and password to remember, every new interface to learn creates a new obstacle for the learner. Try to meet your learners where they are and take them where your organization wants them to go. (page 16)
Choosing What (Tool) to Use When
Different tools have different strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right tool for the task at hand can make your work easier or harder. If your organization already has a policy about social media, that can make some of your choices more simple.
“Most tools will allow you to have discussions or do collaborative work. You’ll need to choose things that support your instructional goals, but also that your organization will allow; what your organization already has in place; and what your users are already using or will accept. (page 17)
“It’s tempting to become ‘tool happy’” (page 17) It’s best to start with a single tool, learn to use it well, and begin to design your learning strategies around it, rather than getting a half dozen tools which you barely understand and seldom use.
(Various tools) :are all a means to an end (better transfer of learning, more engagement ini the learning process, growth of a learning community, support for informal learning), but they are not ends in themselves. The point is not to “do” Twitter any more than it is to “do e-learning”. (page 17)
It is important in using social media that you move learners toward working together, building learning community, not just posting an answer in response to you. Encourage dialogue, debate and interaction. (Page 18)
Supporting the Learners
“Nothing else you do—lesson planning, careful design, thoughtful choice of technologies—will matter if your learners struggle through the training. Make the experience painless and positive for them.” (page 19)
“Make the social media site easy to find. Put your Twitter handle, blog URL, or Facebook name on handouts, your organization’s website and in your e-mail signature.” (page 19)
“Encourage collaboration; so not force friendships.” (page 19)
“…provide clear guidelines and deadlines…define regularly. Do you mean once a day or once a week.” (page 19)
Walk the Talk
“In order to be effective at using social media, you have to start participating in social networking activities and develop fluency with the tools. If nothing else set up Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Use them as you follow along with this book. Find some blogs to read. You won’t learn about Twitter by having someone explain Twitter. You need to join and participate in order to learn to use it as an effective training tool.” (Page 21)
The trainer using social media thoughtfully will find it a wonderful new means of engaging learners, extending the learning experience and supporting transfer of new learning to the workplace. Effective strategies can additionally extend the reach of the trainer and the training function, positioning training not just as an event, but part of the learners’ daily lives.” (page 22)