Friday, September 30, 2016

Book instead of blogposts

My last blogpost is almost 4 months ago. I admire people like Richard Millington who blog faster than I can read.. The reason that I did not find the time to blog is that I have written a book with Sibrenne Wagenaar called 'Leren in tijden van tweets, apps en likes'. You can almost guess what it means: Learning in times of tweets, apps and likes (and yes we have driven our editor crazy with the amount of English terms in the book).

We have written for almost one and a half years. It was great fun to do, but it costs a lot of time, in addition to ordinary consultancies, our courses and private life. It was certainly a difficult book to write: more difficult than our previous book called 'En nu online'  which gave tips on how professionals, teams and organizations can use social media. Learning in times of tweets, likes and apps is more descriptive and examines the changes in society as a result of social technology and its impact on professionals, the opportunities for organizations and what this means for learning professionals. What I really liked is that we had a group of 20-25 people who wanted to think along for instance with a facebook exchange and/or reviewing the models.

Writing this book was almost like sculpting a model (which I did once). We started brainstorming and writing to reflect on the main themes. This was supplemented by interviews, reading and case studies. I guess we have rewritten each of the five sections at least eight times! In this blog I would like to share in a nutshell what the book (of 250 pages!) has brought me in terms of new insights:
  • First, I got to love the term social technology. I want to use this more frequently and consistently. We started with Ennuonline almost 10 years ago talking about 'web2.0' then 'social media'. Followed by 'new media'. The beauty of the term social technology is that the word is social has return. That is our focus and passion. We are not experts in individual e-learning modules.
  • Secondly, I like the distinction we started to make between different types of professionals: Knowmads, Googlers, Followers and Hobbyists while we started with the Knowmads as an ideal type. I have used this typology already in several sessions and it helps to see that not all professionals are the same. I think it is a good framework which I'm going to use in my future work. You can facilitate the groups in a different way. Informally we already did that, I believe, for example, by always look for the pioneers.

  • I see more clearly or understand better why often the communications professionals and IT specialists are taking the lead concerning social technology within the organization. This is a huge frustration of mine. Many learning professionals do not yet have a social lens and have no affinity with technological developments. Despite the focus on 70-20-10! I think that learning professionals in the future will have a much higher involvement with social technology in the organization. I also understand that the technology has helped to put social learning into focus. When I started in 2005 with communities of practice, few organizations were interested. There is now much more buzz around learning in communities. 
  • We distinguish different stages of how organizations embrace social technologies, for instance organizations focused on online and blended learning versus social learning. It is still a question of where we want to focus our advisory practice. On both? Or should we specialize? At least this justifies reviewing the websites and our learning trajectories. 
  • Social Network Analysis is one of my passions, but I always felt it is an odd one out in my advisory practice. In the book I tried to find a place for it and found it. Doing SNA is a super important step in social learning. I'm looking for a situation where I may apply this in full. 
  • The chapter about the future made me dive into developments like artificial intelligence, machine learning, experience API. Areas that I'm not an expert in and more importantly I don't have experience with. My conviction is that I like to talk and giving advice on things I have experienced, I'm not sure what to do with this. Or is it the doctor's case who doesn't need to have undergone malaria in order to treat it? 
Enough lessons to justify writing 1.5 years? One way you can help is responding whether you think we should translate this book in English or not and what may be creative ideas of translating it, for instance by crowdfunding or crowdsourcing.