Learning Content Is Not Your Job Any More: The Effect of Convergence


There are two new rules for professionals with responsibilities in the generation and production of content for knowledge acquisition:

Rule One: You are no longer in the business of learning content development and delivery.

Rule Two: You are in the business of bringing dexterity to your content.


I am pretty satisfied that most of you are already aware of the convergence between “learning content” and all other “content” in your organization. Some of you may be wrestling with what the move means to your organization, while others of you may be undertaking innovations or changes in your learning technology to accommodate the change. And, for those of you who are new to this viewpoint, or who want to argue it, humor me and just read along anyway.

The urge to converge

Here’s what is happening behind this notion about convergence. As learning professionals we fostered the belief that content prepared for learning environments stands apart from other content. In fact, we’ve been so convinced of it that there is a multi-billion dollar business built around it, consisting of technology and services to reinforce the position that training and development resources are something unique. And, we managed to get away with this concept about the significance of learning content because adult education bestowed a particular credence on the content’s worth for having the label of “course,” or similar tagged reference.

However, our conventional thinking about content for learning purposes was just hijacked; and, we are partially culprits. It came about as we increased our reliance on the technology of search, and expanded our uses of technology to produce content from elemental sources. These sources range from things like Word and PowerPoint documents to more intricate authoring and editing tools that let us work with audio and video or other digital media assets. All of a sudden, everyone is a content author and publisher.

There are innumerable books and reference materials about uses of the tools and instructional design concepts to apply to the outputs. The learning industry opened up an ability to be a content developer for anyone who could pay the modest purchase price of the software. And, now we can do it real-time from just about any digital device. Don’t believe me? Look at what folks are doing for learning experiences with YouTube, Vimeo, UpStream, and now my favorite Aurasma, in the video-on-demand world.

Next, our new generation of workers, the millennials, are intensifying the speed of this change, because to them content really is just content. When it comes to how they learn, the newest online experiences find them deciding what they want and how they want it, along with where they want it. Now hold onto this concept, because the story gets better.

It’s not enough that we have this convergence of content, but there’s another situation worsening the scenario. It’s “big data.” The world is producing too much of it; and, much of this content is unlike our well-formed content in neatly packaged courses with nicely structured curriculum. This unstructured content does not even benefit from any special orchestration to make it easily accessible.

And, if you are in a “knowledge-intensive enterprise,” the chances are that your organization is slam up against these digital data mega-challenges:

  • A confluence of new technologies and business models, e.g. social media;
  • Exponential increases in the consumption and delivery of information;
  • Boundless proliferation and generation of content; and
  • An inundation of smart devices and an explosion in apps for them.

So, for you all this change provokes a must contend scenario, in which you should have shifted gears to wrestle with a myriad of issues around understanding and managing content complexity. The hyper-complex content transformation and transmission landscape requires that we rethink our content and learning strategies and respond with an arsenal of capabilities, including the ability to create new models for providing access to, and uses of, content. The response to these challenges has everything to do with you and your work with technology to improve all aspect of the content, and especially the user experience.

Suffice it to say that you are to be a different kind of person doing very different things to support your organization’s ability to meet its business goals and to align the business with the demands of everyone in its value chain. I have two directions to take you. Are you ready?

Intelligent content engineering

First, the organization has to get a real serious grasp of its content. There are important “best practices” with which to render content manageable, to enhance its searchability, and to produce it in formats that collectively create remarkable new value for the content.

I call this “intelligent content engineering,” a concept defined by and belonging to Joe Gollner (among a select few). In his blog in January this year, Joe explains intelligent content this way: “It is content that has been consciously designed to be manageable and reusable such that automation can be efficiently applied to the discovery and delivery of the content in an unlimited range of contexts and in formats that satisfy the intended purposes of the content consumers.” (See the references at the end of the article.)

If you can produce content for your organization as Joe defines it, you just satisfied a big outcry from our millennials, when they petition you to give them what they want. You might note that nowhere in the definition is there a word about courses, curriculum, or learning management. Joe does underscore two concepts – search (discovery) and distribution (delivery), while also promoting contextualizing content.

I’m not about to advocate abandoning what we formally do to produce, manage, track, and report on content use and users. Mostly, the value has as much to do with the analytics, as with the impact on what the learner took away from the learning event. It’s important to know that we prompt and persuade our folks to encourage their learning, and that we have indicators about the use and results of use of learning experiences.

Yet, the reality is that the investment and efforts for formal education and training represent only 10% of learning and development, as espoused by Robert Eichinger and Michael Lomdardo of The Center for Creative Leadership. They further point out that 20% of learning occurs through other people informally, or formally through coaching and mentoring; and, 70% takes place from real life and on-the-job experiences, tasks, and problem-solving. So, let me jump back to Joe. Before we expend resources of whatever magnitude to produce any content, we must give regard to what it is, where it is going, and what it is to do for the organization and its consumer.

Build a strategy

For content to be intelligent, you begin by building a content strategy. While there’s no room in this article to dig into that topic, make note of two points. One, you have to know what your audiences are looking for from your organization; and, two, you have to make sure content supports key objectives of the organization.

These points might seem like a no brainer. We often conduct requirements analysis in our professional practices. So, here’s some numbers to consider. Above 70% of enterprise organizations have a LMS and use various learning technology methods for 40% of learning hours, including mobile, but less than 20% of them can produce a formal learning strategy document, with only 6.5% having defined a content strategy within it. (See Gerry Kranz’s article in the References.)

In times of dramatic change, like now, the shift occurring from the digital disruption introduced by mobile technology demands nothing short of a transformative strategy in what we are doing with content. Regular news stories on mobile and broadband topics confirm it.

Produce intelligent content for mobile learning

Therefore, a strategy to produce intelligent content must represent the means to build skill and agility at exploring, exposing, extracting, and exploiting content value – especially if the output is about gaining new understanding, insights, or skills. You have to know how to move content into, through, and out to your consumers in forms that engage and ignite use in the ways that your consumers need and want. Successfully undertaking intelligent content engineering will keep the organization on top of its game and in front of its competitors in these times of incredibly accelerated content expansion.

What does intelligent content look like? The actual manifestation goes back to the Gollner definition. The content has “… an unlimited range of contexts and in formats that satisfy the intended purposes of the content consumers.” With that in mind, I’m going to narrow the response particularly to mobile learning.

A big part of what your content strategy for mobile will do is commit you to what Dr. Gary Woodill describes as: “relevant activity from which the learner is able to gain new insights and knowledge.” The quote is from Chapter 3 (page 66) in The Mobile Learning Edge where he goes through seven principles associated with producing “relevance” for mobile learning and advances the argument that context matters.

Mobile technology is a tool for augmenting the learner experience. The value of the technology goes up when the device supports what is already going on in the learner’s experience. The content can have situational and possibly locational context. The relevance in this case can be job specific, project or task specific, or work-collaboration specific. And, what the learner is able to retrieve from the smart appliance is in a particular format suited to the situation. But how does that happen?

A case in point

Remember Rule Two! Bring dexterity to your content. Here’s a business case to explain.

A global enterprise manages a huge portfolio of properties – many are world-class office buildings and office parks with some unique office campuses. The corporation’s business is predominantly three channels – brokerage (leasing space), real estate sales (selling the buildings or complexes), and property management (caring for and maintaining facilities).

A particular population with critical content requirements is the operating engineers, who supervise and oversee the property maintenance from landscaping to waste management and from HVAC to elevators. Any one engineer may have responsibility for five or more properties. The professionals have a dependency on facility maps, diagrams, equipment and system manuals or schematics, details on electrical and plumbing, and also layouts of the physical facilities and floor plans. In addition, there are regulatory and compliance management requirements to satisfy: fire and public safety, traffic management, and government building codes.

The leading obstacle historically was Internet access through a computer to information sources in the corporation. Too often engineers experienced firewall blockage and poor connectivity. With mobile technology – smartphones and tablets – the corporation undertook a process of content transformation. The effort took seven months to complete.

Today, these engineers carry out their jobs without barriers to connectivity and are using content based on geo-location and situation. Two selections from their device produce all appropriate and available content – physical property coordinates and purpose at the location. Users turn on the GPS and select the action for being at the location. In addition, the regulatory and compliance system, supported by the corporate LMS, provides access to that information, manages updates and alerts, and orchestrates managing the engineer’s compliance certification. An investment of $1.9 million annually improves job performance by a measurable 30%, which translates into almost $4 million in recurring savings. This is bottom line net new dollars for the business.

This is a classic example of the promise for the just in time, anytime, and anywhere use of mobile technology. It’s not training and development, although it can be; but, it is about knowledge acquisition when you need it.

There are professionals adept at the approach to creating a system for intelligent content. There are a number of resources for exploring more about the topic. Here are the benefits that I recognize. The engineering …

  • Provides effective content management automation and processing sophistication;
  • Increases content value rapidly, as it improves throughput efficiency;
  • Creates a product far easier to use, support, and maintain;
  • Incorporates meta-tagging for search and discovery;
  • Optimizes content structuring for multi-modality use, reuse, and repurposing;
  • Permits single-source publishing for multi-channel distribution;
  • Creates content with device-specific sensitivity; and
  • Produces content with contextual awareness.

Know your content consumer

The second direction is an exploration of the content consumer. These folks are the “learners,” among other consumer roles. To start us on this exploration I’ll begin with a quotation from New Social Learning, by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner: “Learning is what makes us more vibrant participants in a world seeking fresh perspectives, novel insights, and first-hand experiences. When shared, what we have learned mixes with what others have learned, then ripples out, transforming organizations…”

The point is that learning happens, and we need to do nothing. Remember Rule One: you are no longer in the business of learning content development and delivery. So, what are you?

Digital disruption is not solely about cultural, business, or social impact. It gets very personal. In the case of content development, and most specifically instructional design, the disruption is introducing changes that require realignment of how you consider your job. Processes remain important, but processing is now about content ingestion, aggregation, cataloging, indexing, orchestration, curation, transformation, and transmission.

Content is coming from sources inside and outside the organization. Often the content is outside your control and is the product of processes that are very different from the well-formed and structured methods of the ISDworld. Your importance to the organization could be how well you contend with the exponential expansion of content. Are you going to rule content? Or, is content going to ruin you?

Your role is going to require the production of content with delivery through the formal and informal channels of interaction that have the greatest appeal to the organization’s consumer world – lifestyle and workstyle, not the methods of formalized learning technology. Success will require an ability to facilitate an organizational-specificmodel with variable options for content access and use, including end-user abilities for authoring, publishing, and distributing content. You are going to need provision for managing the content generation from virtual communities, social networks, and exchanges outside organizational control (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, industry blogs, and ad hoc media sources).

You are going to continue formal learning with added features for social learning and personalization of learner use. Your world has to offer convenience and efficiency in a secure environment where you can develop sharing with content consumers, along with levels of governance and control to protect the integrity of your organization and its content.

What’s it all mean for our work?

This last sentence introduces my final say about the content consumer. Self-expression is the new online entertainment. People don’t want to just be consumers of content. They want to be participants in creating content.

It’s an impulse that means your biggest new role and responsibility is harnessing and cultivating the content inputs and their uses. You become the “content curator,” choosing how content sources make inputs, how the inputs of content mix and move into some cohesive collection of knowledge assets.

And consider this: by 2015, we can expect that 90% of content production posted on the Internet will be some video format. And, blogs are going to produce more audio conversation than text. What will be your methodology for monitoring, capturing, curating, and cataloging these rich content media? How do you know that those new assets don’t just pile up like so much of the content stored by our organizations? Most content is not recyclable. It is collecting in digital dumps of stuff that we cannot find, access, or use.

I had a conversation today with an innovative thinker about the future of learning. We were kicking around how to reasonably manage unstructured content. He pointed out that my intention is to turn it into some structured form with catalog structures, indexes, and tags. He is thinking that we’ll evolve new algorithms that sniff out the value and believes it is human uses that decide what is worthwhile showing up in a search in some usable form or not. While he and I wrestle with the future, I leave you with the following.

Better content is better business. And, if the content has the expressed purpose of advancing knowledge acquisition, it should be intelligent content in order to produce the greatest learning value. It’s now your job to take care of it.


  • Bingham, T. and Conner, M. (2010) New Social Learning – A Guide to Transforming Organizations through Social Media. American Society for Training and Development. p. 20.
  • Gollner, Joe. “The Business of Intelligent Content,” January 31, 2011, Fractal Enterprise .http://www.gollner.ca.
  • Lombardo, M. and Eichinger R. (2001) The Career Architect Planner, 3rd Edition, Princeton University Press.
  • Kranz, Garry. “eLearning Hits its Stride, ”Workforce Magazine Online, February, 2011.
  • Woodill, Gary. The Mobile Learning Edge (2011) The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. p. 66.


Rick Wilson   Entreprise Collaborative   Ecollab ContributeurRick Wilson is an enthusiastic advocate for "intelligent content engineering" as an important proposition for how to expose, expand, and exploit the knowledge value of content. Rick is a Senior Learning Architect and Intelligent Content Strategist, who works with knowledge intensive enterprises on innovations with learning, web, and mobile technologies and now the development of frameworks for contextualizing and capturing social learning experiences. He contributes his opinions and perspectives periodically on "interactive knowledge enablement" and performance support for web and mobile user experiences. He collaborates with recognized thought-leaders in strategy workshops on mobile learning and intelligent learning content engineering.

This article originally appeared on Learning Solutions Magazine


The Non Formality of How Work Gets Done in Organizations


How does work really get accomplished in organizations?

Work usually doesn’t get accomplished the way management sees it formally. The problem with formality is the fact that you really cannot foresee every circumstance that takes place in an organization, especially unanticipated circumstances. For example, a mid-level manager is called into his boss and she says that “we need to do a project and my idea is to do it in such as way, now go ahead and put it together and let me know if you have any questions.”

You will typically see that mid-level managers going back to his or her section and calling people together where he needs participation on a project.  The first thing they will do is try to figure out exactly what the instructions entail. The thing to keep in mind is that every person has to interpret something in their own way. There is no way that two or more people see something in exactly the same way. The management needs to interpret those instructions and have an interaction with his/her people and try to determine what needs to get done.

Most likely, he will probably go back to the next level supervisor and say “is this exactly what you said you thought needs to get done?”

What you really have at work is what Charles refers to as ‘muddling through’, which is not a bad definition. You get things done, but not exactly as how we first laid things out.  The old saying is that the best laid out plans and programs never work exactly as anticipated.

What are organizational sweet spots?

Charles published his last book called the ‘Organizational Sweet Spot’ in 2009 with Springer Publishing. Essentially, a Sweet Spot in an organization, there are in fact more than one, is where the formal organization overlaps with the informal organization. We need to realize that every single organization has an informal network where 70% of the work takes place.

The Sweet Spot can be understood by visualizing three overlapping circles.

Sweet Spotimage

1. The first circle on the left-hand side is composed of systems, processes, the technology used, and the management structure. This is your wire diagram for your organization.

When we talk about self organizing systems, that management structure goes away. It is not an absolute necessity within an organization. What is a necessity are the systems, processes and technology, otherwise you wouldn’t get anything done.

2. Management Informal Networks: In the uppermost circle you can see what Charles refers to as the management informal networks. Management themselves have informal networks, primarily to figure out what needs to get done in an organization and how we need to manage to get the workers to participate as we like them to.

3. Worker Informal Networks: The final circle is referred to as the worker informal networks. They exist to help workers try to figure out not only how to best survive in this organization, but also what exactly is required in the organization and how do I fit into getting these things done.

At the center of these 3 overlapping circles is what Charles refers to as the ‘Sweet Spot’.  This is where the actual work takes place and where the interactions take place.

Another vital point is realizing what you can and cannot manage in an organization.

1. What you can manage in an organization is the formal organization – the systems, process and technology. You can also manipulate and build the management structure any way you want.

2. What cannot be managed is the Sweet Spot and informal networks, both on a management side and a worker’s side.

The Sweet Spot is emergent. People come together and ask each other questions such as “have you thought about this thing?” and the other would reply “no I haven’t thought of that”… You can sit back and come up with examples to experience your self. It is very important to keep in mind what you can and cannot manage. The Sweet Spot and informal networks are out of bounds. The best you can do to run an organization as best as possible is to play with that formal system and try to see if the emergent system, the Sweet Spot, fits better into it as time passes.

How do organizations make the transition from the old to the new?

This is the most difficult thing to accomplish within an organization. In his first book 10 years ago, titled Unleashing Intellectual Capital, Charles divided fundamental organizational context into 2 categories:

1. Controlled Access System

The controlled access system is pretty much what we are all used to in a top down organization. It is defined as “where access to the resources and activities of the group are controlled by one or few select individuals.”

2. Shared Access System

The shared access system is defined as resources of a group and its activities are impartially dealt with by all members of the group. That usually is a preferred social context for people, believe it or not. However, most of the organizations are run in control access mode.

What you are trying to do is to go from a controlled access mode to a shared access mode. That is very difficult because we are so used to the top down structure. Charles has put together a few principles that help to transition an organization to that shared access mode. These are not pre-scripted principles, but de-scripted principles. The reason for this is very simple. Every organization is different. Even different organizations that produce the same product or provide the same services have different people and chemistries.

The following are the four principles Charles developed over the last 10 years:

1. Individual Autonomy

What you want to do as best as possible is give every individual a lot of elbow room. This means you need to be very selective on who you invite to work in a self-organizing system. You can’t just ask anyone off the street to come in and to self organize. We all know what transpires after that. Having the right people in place is one of the most difficult aspects of running or converting into a shared access mode. This does not mean being snobbish. Autonomy is very important and the people you invite in need role responsibilities and need to be committed. They need empathy and attunement for the people they work with. Obviously, they need the right talent and skills in order to get the work done.

2. Shared Identity

The key word is belonging. You need to develop an organization where people feel they belong, almost as a family atmosphere. This is the key to success and you can only do this comfortably with organizations that are not much larger than 150 people. The first question of course is that if you have a organization with thousands of people, how do we apply that principle? The simple way to look at this is that you need divide that organization into comfortably interacting groups of 150 people and then connect these people in a meaningful way.

The other part of shared identity is that people accept different identities. They value differences and they have a synergistic relationship.

3. Challenging Aspirations

The key word here is possibilities. This goes beyond the traditional mission statement. Challenging aspirations means that you are always looking for the best possibilities on how to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. The focus is on possibilities.

You also need shared aims and incentives and individual aims and incentives. This is extremely important and we tend to forget it. You always have organizational goals and incentives, but we forget about the individual. Each individual has different goals and objectives, as well as different incentives.

Another thing that is almost invariably ignored and we have talked about it a little more lately is periodic reflection. Most people’s reaction to sitting back to discuss where we are and how well we are doing will be to say it is a waste of time. “Time is money, we can’t afford to do that.” Charles believe this is very wrong.

4. Dynamic Alignment

The final principle is dynamic alignment and is run as ‘catalytic leadership’. You have transparent decisions, you promote interdependent thinking, and you constantly anticipate change. This whole thing runs on catalytic leadership, which is a new term that Charles came up with. It is a new type of leadership which was included in the ‘Sweet Spot’, the last book he published.

Catalytic leadership is founded on leadership based on expertise, not position power. This is very hard to think when in a traditional organization. True leadership has very little to do with position power. True leadership is based on value added knowledge facilitation. There is nothing in the foundation of value added knowledge facilitation that says you are bossing people around.

Catalytic leadership is defined as encouraging others to participate in value added activities that they are either not aware of or hesitant to initiate action on their own, that would benefit everyone involved. There is nothing in that definition that is about bossing people around. It is convincing people what needs to get done and helping them to think things through. At the same time it is being receptive to advice from others.

What is a self managing organization?

You have to remember that all life forms, not only self-organizing systems, by design self organization constitutes the primary process by which all organizational entities interact with one another. For example, if you take for instance the concept of homeostasis - which is essential about blood pressure and temperature which our bodies automatically maintain. This homeostasis extends beyond our bodies. If you think about it a quite famous scientist suggested a few years ago that we are only aware of one millionth of what takes place in our brains. We don’t pay too much attention to this. However, we have certain innate drives and pre-dispositions that we follow and don’t’ even know.

Self organization is the insight that we cannot control and think of everything all the time, but things come together. The main points of self organizing systems include:

1. An entities intrinsic ability to change itself as it interacts with its environment and strives to maintain its identity. For people, identity is extremely important. It is more important than maintaining a job or doing what the boss tells you. It is an intrinsic ability to change as conditions change.

2. Interactions that produce self-referential patterns, without the need to be designed or managed. As we interact with things and people in our environment certain patterns develop. A good definition of a pattern is habits you fall into. You need to be very careful with the assumptions you start making.

3. Evolving patterns of both sustained and transformed by spontaneous interactions. As we interact with other people we sustain certain patterns and certain things are in flux.

4. Creativity and destruction of part of the emergent process as attraction and repulsion.

These are our ‘automatic’ things which we don’t’ even consciously pay attention to. We are an emergent system. That is how we react internally and externally. What you don’t want to do, which is a critical point, is to have an organization that restrains that self organization. Charles is not referring to criminal activity. Only 1 to 5 percent of people have intrinsic patterns that are things which we don’t want to associate with. However, the average individual needs to have that autonomy to really be able to function properly, as well as to be able to contribute towards innovation.

If you restrain an individual and tell him, similar to your own children…you want to help and lead them in a certain direction but obviously you eventually want them to take control over situations by themselves. You can’t be there all the time. The same thing is true for management. The best option is that the shared access mode of operation is beneficial to both productivity and increasing an organization’s innovative capacity.


Charles Ehin   Entreprise Collaborative   Ecollab Contributeur

Charles Ehin is an author and recognized innovation dynamics and management authority. He is emeritus professor of management at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. where he also served as the Dean of the Gore School of Business. His latest book is The Organizational Sweet Spot: Engaging the Innovative Dynamics of Your Social Networks (Springer, 2009). His website is: www.UnManagement.com


Holistic Approach to Learning


I've recently read the post by Frédéric Domon at the Socialearning blog site. He describes in a very precise manner the origin and the consequences of the 70-20-10 approach to the design of learning strategies and budget allocation.

The concept is not new to me, but something caught my attention in this particular post. As Frédéric puts it:

"Rather than think of these three forms of antagonistic professionalism, rather than leave the informal to other aspects of the company, the model should be thought of as the cornerstone of organizational development. As the Princeton group advises, imagine a holistic approach integrating both formal and informal. An approach that enables strong development of that 70% of experience learning, that takes advantage of the relational 20% and that designs using the yardstick of the 90% informal and 10% formal training."

The word holistic here is not a metaphor. It means that learning professionals must consider the full experience and the learning environment to design and adjust their strategies. As a consequence, it is necessary to consider not only the 70-20-10 paradigm, but also the culture of the organization, the past experiences with learning resources, the available technologies, established KPIs for learning, the predominant leadership style, and so forth.

I´ll give an example to illustrate my point. Recently, we visited a big construction company who is facing a major problem on workforce education. Their need is not to build knowledge management nor to introduce some sophisticated new tool, their problem is plain and simple: they need to recruit around 4000 new professionals, such as masons and foremen in 6 months and there is simply no availability of those professionals in the region they are building their new operation.

Plus, in Brazil there have been some serious problems in big infrastructure constructions, including riots, because of work conditions and lack of systemic coordination of such constructions. Learning is only one of the challenges being faced by such companies.

Going back to my client, we´ve made a proposal that included utilization of the good professionals they have internally to start a learning program that had a very important informal component (since there is no time to format and deliver formal programs). The reaction was surprising. The HR person seemed not to understand what we were talking about and we had to present the proposal two more times. We had presented a totally unusual approach to learning! The culture and the environment in that company could not fully understand what we were talking about, and so our proposal was refused.

Sometime later, me and my fellow consultant sat down to chat about it. We had read on the paper about the problems the company was facing which were, in part, caused by their poor response to this kind of problem. But hey! We had also lacked a good holistic understanding of their learning environment! Mea culpa. We too had come with a readymade pill! We can´t just go and introduce the 70-20-10 model into the construction business of an old Brazilian company!

So that is my point: the great challenge of this model is not only to build learning strategies around this idea, with which I totally agree by the way, but having the sensibility to understand the conditions under which a certain system can absorb this idea.

When I read Frederic´s post it immediately brought me back to my clients table, and the face we had when we presented our sophisticated thoughts. We are hoping to find open minded organizations and have good conversations to solve the problems we have in this country around educations and learning. The model might be something we keep under the table.


Luciana Annunziata   Entreprise Collaborative   Ecollab Contributeur"Our great desire to accomplish changes in human systems calls for an equal amount of humility to understand complexity."


Luciana Annunziata is a Brazilian social learning and innovation designer, director of Dobra Learning and Innovation consulting agency. Passionate about the emerging possibilities of social innovation based on the combination of social media and open conversations.


Works in the intersection of organizational development, innovation and group facilitation, especially for multinational companies in Brazil. Editor ofideastoinnovate and ideiasprainovar blogs. Loves arts, literature, laughter and believes in sharing and building a more sustainable world.



Enterprise Social Networks: contribution, trust and loyalty


The latest feedback shows that the contribution remains the question mark as to the implementation and success of an enterprise social network!

Today, a rate of 20-25% of active contributors is considered a success and it is probably unrealistic to expect a "natural" growth rapid participation.

The enterprise social network is heavily loaded in writing and we are not many willing to take the time to express ourselves publicly on these platforms.

How to reach a threshold and quality of contribution that attests to the success of this type of initiative?

Should we institutionalize the chatter?

The corporate social network or "chatting at the cafeteria", this may be the subject of debate and our daily business is quite often made of these informal discussions.

These chats (which we feast all) are important because they contribute to social life in the company.

Yet there are often sterile because the opinion leaders at the "cafeteria" are not necessarily those that contribute most in official plans, but by their attitude, they  “nip in the bud" the expression of different and interesting opinions.

The social network company must develop the chat (not gossip) simply by putting subjects and themes available without sacralization of trade.

The exchange in a social network business is not comparable with official conference presentation: the emotional and personal development have no place there.

By denying that the "cafeteria" is the only forum for exchanges between employees and by enhancing the debate and chat in social spaces built on social software, the company values ​​the capital and intelligence of its human resources.
But the chatter and uninhibited contribution (with respect to good manners and etiquette) can not be truly "productive" if the company is loyal towards employees, whose loyalty it will also receive back!

The Return of the learning model

It is likely that cultural differences between Latin and Anglo-Saxon influence on behavior in social networking business. It seems that the Anglo-Saxon focuses more creativity, sharing that knowledge.

Delphine Manceau returned quickly to the subject and I suggest you read more about this in the note posted on TheHyperTetxtual (in French only) .

It is a training model that goes beyond the transmission of knowledge: learning.

It is true that this model is often considered patronized by the "intellectuals", especially in France and in contrast to Switzerland or Germany.

It is in learning much more than technique, it is primarily in trade, human relations, humility, successes, difficulties, but never, nor loneliness, nor the withdrawal.

Learning works well only in relationships of trust and desire (to discover and give) and it can transmit "naturally" what Thierry de Baillon called the renegade knowledge ! 

But learning is a bit of chatter and lots of concrete scenarios (actions, methods, strategies, etc..), And it also agreed not to know or get it right the first time and get to know advice and assistance.

When participants of social networking companies will have the humility to contribute, not to flatter their ego, but simply give, exchange, forward, share and receive, as in the learning model, then the social software projects will have reached a stage of maturity justifying their deployment within the organizations.

But does it again, as in learning, giving responsibility for these spaces to those who are most likely (experience, knowledge, talent, desire, etc..) to keep them alive but also giving participants the "tools" most appropriate and truly useful and usable. (Appeal to vendors for a little more innovation!)

Difficult without a team

A corporate social network can be characterized by the interaction and engagement.

The commitment is not an empty concept in the business world, as the confidence without which it is impossible.

It allows, beyond the cross-platform knowledge, recognition, to discover other but also to arouse, to assert themselves to contribute to the success of a team.

Sylvaine Pascual recently published a note and some opinions (in French) about this on her blog highlighting the essential value in team sports including rugby (Aupa Biarritz Olympique, but here I digress!).

The success of an enterprise social network is certainly made of knowledge and experience, the praise of individuals, and above all a real "team spirit" and true leaders !


Claude Super   Entreprise Collaborative   Ecollab ContributeurClaude Super is an international consultant serving many companies and organizations in the implementation of policies and solutions for managing information assets, content management, but also enterprise social networks.

He provides a method and a diversified experience of managing and developing small and medium enterprises, acquired throughout a career of business owner and manager of business services companies.

Claude Super has a pragmatic, business-oriented. His knowledge of the processes 2.0, social software and technological environments and understanding of business challenges contribute to Claude's recognition as an expert for the quality of his publications and his achievements.

Informalizing Formal Learning


Our relationship with technology is changing the ways we live and work. We connect digitally with our mobile devices, social networking tools, and various computer devices more than ever before. We are constantly connected, and we must manage our relationship with technology differently than we managed it in the past. This presents some challenges for users and for educators, instructional designers, and others who design, create, and manage online instruction.

Implications for learners

New devices such as the iPhone and iPod have changed expectations of usability. Users expect a very low learning curve to perform their goals with a product. Products that present a steeper learning curve result in ever-greater levels of user frustration and apathy. Furthermore, users expect solutions to their problems to be ever-more convenient and readily available. Blogs, wikis, social media sites and services such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and others too numerous to list, have sparked user-created learning aids, tips, tricks, and workarounds.

Users have come to expect complex products to become more and more simple, linear, and easy to learn. The emergence of different Web media has made that possible.

Implications for educators

As educators we need to put ourselves in the learners' shoes and figure out ways to address their needs, because their relationship with, and expectations of, technology has changed.

Businesses now recognize both the challenges their products provide to users, as well as the ease with which they may deliver solutions via the Web. Extending beyond their own support systems and sites, many companies are reaching into social media destinations and providing their own measured, structured learning aids in the form of video, cheat sheets, online help and user forums.

These methods serve to provide users with quick and effective solutions to their problems and help them to rapidly become more successful with products, within hours or even within minutes. The “instantaneous” character of social media is undeniable and it is creating users who expect to become experts in a hurry and with no barriers to entry.

Benefits of informalizing learning

Formal learning content is good and relevant, and repurposing it brings many advantages. Informalizing formal learning content brings it closer to the learner and provides for more learning that is “accidental,” or unplanned. Doing this can require changing the learning content in various ways. Putting it in places people visit on a daily basis, such as the sites and services named above, is one big, yet simple step.

Increased appeal to learners
Rich content delivery through social media sites is more appealing to the user in appearance and content. This approach also tends to present complex information in ways that invite students to learn in a casual environment. Users feel that they have more choice in the matter: when to learn, what to learn, and how to learn it. All of these factors are contributing to escalating growth rates of informal learning.

Draw learners into formal instruction
ELearning animated assets, for example quick product demonstrations, are ideal for posting to a site such as YouTube or Vimeo. Not only do these sorts of demonstrations provide concise, targeted training but they can also be teasers to draw people to more formal learning, such as a full training course, of which the demonstration is just a part.

Obtain information about learners
One of the other key benefits of providing these short eLearning assets online is the wealth of information that is collected about the users. This is data that you can access and use.
For instance, YouTube and Facebook offer businesses demographic information about their users, as well as their daily and monthly activity trends. The more effective and relevant your information, the more traffic your Facebook page or YouTube channel receives. In this way, you establish an immediate and symbiotic relationship. Users get the most relevant and up-to-date training materials. The educator receives valuable information about the users, in addition to receiving direct feedback from users about content.

Simplified format
Public social media sites and services provide another benefit that large businesses appreciate – a simplified format. Every Facebook page and YouTube channel offers the same general layout. This has proven to be comforting and predictable to users, who quickly learn how to navigate every channel or page as well as how to expand, collapse, or increase quality of content, such as videos. The user is truly in control. They can build their own custom playlists, tag audio and video favorites, and subscribe to users and channels based on their own needs for information.
When the decision is between searching the multiple layers of a corporate Website, or tuning in to your own customized list of videos, the decision isn’t a difficult one. As users flock to public media sites to reap the benefits, educators are not far behind.

Provide advance organizers and prerequisite knowledge
Users gain valuable and free information from online media and services. At the same time, instructors gain a means to gather users into formal classes where they can truly engage the product and learn in an in-depth manner. Users can go from learning general or typical product objectives online to the classroom where the objectives become more complex and require more interaction between student and instructor. In the classroom, students can ask specific questions about how to implement our products in their businesses to help them achieve their personal business goals.

Establish learner-to-educator-and-topic links
As educators “recruit” users through social media sites, the educators can become closer to their users. Many sites and services offer more than just multimedia; they are a way to capture users’ attention and whet their appetite for information. Users receive links and paths back to more formal training, which often contains a larger sampling of the media which users have seen free online. In this way, educators persuade users to trust their education materials and encourage them to pursue formal training.

Our company is now posting instructional videos that present both general product usage and specific product scenarios on YouTube. These videos and their objectives are included in and elaborated on as part of the formal training.
For example, our in-house course on Enterprise Architecture is a demonstration showing how to set up, configure and navigate the interface. This instructor-led course presents students with a hands-on lab where they can perform what they see in the demonstration, as well as learn how to apply it to their specific business environment after leaving training. After their formal training is complete, the videos can serve as reference material on the job. Our learners, who often request additional videos after completing the formal classroom training, many times confirmed the value of videos as reference tools.

Reposition learning closer to the moment of need
Another easy way to informalize formal learning content is to reposition it closer to a product rather than have it stand alone. It is possible to convert portions of a Web-based eLearning course to “digital cheat sheets” and to incorporate these in product documentation, or embed them into the product itself. These can also serve as teasers to draw people back for additional or advanced formal training.

Why bother?

You may be asking, "What then is the difference between informal and formal learning content?" The main difference is that informalized learning is simple, concise, rich, and easy to find and understand. It starts many users down the path of learning. Once their learning process has begun, users may choose to take advantage of more formal learning media.
We are all learning at a much more rapid rate than before. Learning new concepts and adding new skills, on what sometimes seems like a weekly or monthly basis, is coming to be the norm in an increasingly globalized economic order. The world is full of ever-growing complexity, while at the same time the desire for simplicity drives much behavior. Learning is no exception. Engaging users simply, directly and quickly via informal methods is key to recruiting them into more in-depth and traditional learning formats.


Jason Green   Entreprise Collaborative   Ecollab ContributeurJason Green is currently at IBM Software Group a Rational courseware developer specializing in Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Modernization, Previously he worked for various technology companies in areas such as object oriented modeling including UML and SysML, storage area networking optimization software and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.


He co-manages a Rational YouTube channel and contributes regularly to Rational products on Facebook and Twitter. He currently specializes in video learning using tools such as Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia.


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An interview with Jay Cross, the author of Informal Learning

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  Jay Cross, Chief Scientist at the Internet Time Group, is the author of Informal Learning: Rediscovering the natural pathways that inspire innovation and performance, which was...

Social Learning and Customer Engagement

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      One of the approaches to improving Customer Engagement and Experiences I’d like to explore is the potential to include customers, partners and suppliers in the Social...

LearnTrends 2009: The corporate learning trends and innovations conférence

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        From 17 to 19 November 2009 will take place one of the most important conferences devoted to trends and innovation in corporate learning. The theme of...

How to formalise Informal Learning


In my last post, I asked some questions about formalising informal learning. And answered them. If: you understand that formalising informal learning will have organisation-wide consequences you use...

The Collaboration Cycle

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  In a previous instalment entitled “The Collaboration Curve”, I discussed the basic premise that over a period of time and as the use of collaboration...

Can we formalise Informal Learning

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  Ecollab ask the question for their blog carnival: Informal learning - can we formalise it? Should we? How much? How?   1. Can we? Is it practical? Any...

To Really Drive Enterprise 2.0 Forward We Need A Behaviour Change

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  At the beginning of the year, on January 2 in fact, I wrote about reciprocity. My hopes were that we’d begin using the behavior of reciprocity...

Informal Learning: Can we formalize it ?

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  Formalizing informal learning is my research topic for writing class. It may very well be the foundation of my dissertation! Recently I posted the mind...

Impact of Informal Learning: Output learning

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  How do you assess whether your informal learning, social learning, continuous learning and performance support initiatives have the desired impact or if they achieve the...

Apprenance en réseau : Entre formel et informel

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No translation available Pour Thierry de Baillon, je cite «  il est de plus en plus illusoire de vouloir considérer le savoir comme étant soit informel, soit...

From the silo enterprise to the networked enterprise

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  When an innovation emerges, there always are two steps. The first one consists in integrating the innovation in the way we work. The second one...

Creating Value from Social Learning

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  Social learning — namely, the use of social media in the workplace to foster learning, collaboration, networking, knowledge sharing, and communications — has taken on...

L'avenir de la formation et Mars

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 No translation available   Depuis plusieurs années, Mars a suscité l'intérêt des chercheurs. Des robots sont envoyés sur cette planète pour détecter des signes de vie et...

Social Learning, Social Media: Brothers in Arms

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    Is it me or does it seem that most vendors in the LMS/LCMS market still believe that with some smoke and mirrors, you won’t realize...

Social Learning: Take Me To Your Experts

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  Quick Question:  How easy is it to find another employee in your organization with a specific expertise?  Let me ask the question again another way:...

Social Learning, Collaboration, and Team Identity

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  Harold Jarche recently offered a framework for social learning in the enterprise to outline how the concept of social learning relates to the large-scale changes facing organizations...

Learning to Learn in the modern Enterprise

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  The last few days in Hong Kong have been incredible -- I saw some great sights, participated in some interesting activities and backed all of...

The Lean IT applied to the e-learning

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  The Social Learning is based on the sharing of knowledge between each individual people. Everyone can bring something into the knowledge pool of its colleagues. The fixed...

Gossip, Collaboration, and Performance in Distributed Teams

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  What do you think the typical manager might say if you told them their employees don't gossip and engage one another enough in social interaction...

What constitutes a Social Learning Culture?

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  I've often thought of social learning as a very culture dependent phenomenon. A few weeks back I read an interesting article by Thierry de Baillon, his...

At the Corner of Assertiveness & Cooperation: Collaboration

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  What do we meet at the corner of Assertiveness and Cooperation? The Thomas-Kilmann assessment suggests that it's Collaboration. Their assessment, which is the basis for many others, explores different...

From Competition to Cocreation - and Back Sometimes

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  How do you approach working with others? What is your resonant mode? Here's my two cents: Competition - "I win if you lose." Cooperation - "I will agree...

Why Best Practices Don't Work for Knowledge Work

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  I don’t recall having put together a blog post over here on the specific topic of capturing "Best Practices"; so after reading last Friday’s blog...

The Collaborative Curve

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  Now that I’m on a mission to merge the terms Social Business and Enterprise 2.0 and rephrase asCollaboration, I thought it would be a good...

Formalizing the Informal: Been there, done that

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  @Ecollab asks, “Can we formalize informal learning ?” My answer, “We've been there, done that.” Except for perhaps compliance learning programs, formal learning processes are...

Learning to formalize informal learning

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    When we don't already know how to formalize informal learning, there's a lot to learn. We can welcome the challenge if the process of learning...

From Social Media to Social Business: The social learning as missing link

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  I am often puzzled by the way organizations and agencies tackle social media, as if conversational marketing and Enterprise 2.0 were living in separate worlds,...

The Real Secret to Social Learning Success

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      For years training and development departments have struggled to compile the data they need to show value to their organizations. However, we will find ourselves...