The instruments of Web 2.0 make it possible to conduct corporate training in a social and participatory way, as they turn participants into active creators of contents and enable them to interact and collaborate remotely. It will thus become easier to create informal learning contexts to supplement what is learned formally. These new technologies transform the traditional corporate trainer into a facilitator/tutor and give rise to an innovative training pact between:
- Participants, who undertake to be more active and to follow up educational initiatives, even after these have ended: They thus continue on their own path through self-study (which may be online) and share informally what they have learned
- Trainers, who enable these processes of knowledge co-construction, working as guides and moderators
- Organizations, who promote this fusion of informal and formal learning.
Often cultural and technological obstacles get in the way of such innovation, but Web 2.0 tools can be introduced into traditional education gradually, in small easily implemented steps. Let’s look at three first steps for converting a traditional classroom into a Web 2.0 learning opportunity.
- Sharing of teaching materials: Let us make teaching materials (e.g. slides) available on online platforms like Slideshare or on the corporate platform or intranet.
- Guiding self-study: Invite all participants to identify one of their own training needs and to share their questions with others. Instead of replying immediately, let us provide the tools for finding the answers independently and let us invite them to investigate the issue further (not just through further training materials, but also through exchanging ideas, observation etc.)
- Foster after-class online activities: If an online environment is not available in which this activity can be conducted, a dedicated Linked-In group could be opened as the environment in which to continue to discuss and reflect after the training initiative, in which knowledge arising from self-study can be shared. The trainer spurs participants on, continuing to foster the environment by means of periodic (weekly or monthly) and short stimuli: stories, articles, images, news etc. A periodic email (monthly or bi-monthly) containing a summary of what has emerged from the online discussion over the previous weeks, may be sent to everyone with an invitation to continue making their contributions.
What other initiatives can be implemented for an initial introduction to Web 2.0 learning in organizations? What are the first steps to be taken, in your opinion? Share your accounts and your experience with us in the comments section.