Monday, August 30, 2010

Online professionalization (by professionals ofcourse)

DSC05184Last week I gave two workshops 'online professionlisation' for the learninglane, a yearly three days event in the Netherlands. (together with Josien who replaced Sibrenne). It was a good opportunity to test a new theory. We have done a lot of webwork workshops where we teach professionals social media tools. The focus is thus on the tools even though having a goal to work with the tools helps to see the link and persevere. Therefore this workshop was organized around five strategies:

* Cooperation/collaboration
* Personal Branding
* Online conversations with peer professionals
* Networking
* Information processing and scanning

Although the strategies are intertwined (if you're blogging with colleagues to get input and exchange ideas, it can also work as personal branding), they can help you to gain focus. They can help to find a good entry point and may help you decide where to insert your/more energy.

I started linking professionalisation to informal learning and autonomous knowledge workers in my presentation with prezi.
Here is the video I showed about motivation of professionals (Autonomy, drive, purpose). This is the real basis which explains why social media are important for professionals who are autonomous learner and eager to master an area or craft.

Reflecting on how it went: what struck me is that for quite some participants the thinking in strategies seemed to work out well, yet others are still in need of getting to know a number of tools, were very simple questions like 'how can I send a message to someone on twitter and others see it too?. Without this basic idea of the tools, talking about strategy seemed difficult for them. Probably there are differences in the entry points which help people to develop an online professionalisation practice, depending on preferred styles. Apart from focus and skills, participants suggested that you need enough guts to try out a new medium like for instance twitter.

I'd like to share a very nice example was shared in the group: In an organization the Director thought that employee participation should not only be shaped through the official organs like the 'medezeggenschapsraad', a sort of workers council. He has set Friday as the twitter day for his organisation. Staff from all levels of the organisation are invited to share direct questions and opinions via twitter. He is really available to respond. A good example of how social media can be deployed within your organization to stimulate new types of interactions and collaborations (I wonder now whether these tweets are public or private but forgot to ask..).