Learning Management Systems Turn Social

Knowledge_sharingIt looks like Web 2.0 online training and eLearning systems have reached another plateau and they’re in need of the next stage of development: the integration of social and collaborative tools to enhance the learning process.

From a technical point of view I find this very exciting because historically Learning Management Systems (LMS) offer a relatively static one-way learning experience from content –> learner. The bundling together of what I consider to be more ‘fun’ social concepts like wikis, blogs, social networks and microblogs in with an LMS not only transforms it in to a more dynamic offering for teacher/learner, it also gives the learner a voice to contribute, share their knowledge and become part of a collaborative learning program. It’s that idea of ‘transforming people from content readers into publishers’(Wikipedia).

A recent study I read, which I can’t seem to find again for the life of me, (will update this post when I find it again) showed that people using social media enjoy sharing knowledge and answering people’s questions, not because they selfishly enjoy knowing the answer, but because in sharing they help educate and raise the level of knowledge of their connections. I find that to be a very hopeful message because it supports the notion that people will happily and actively engage in knowledge sharing if given the opportunity. Maybe people won’t have to hate training?

Now all of this resulted in the team at Litmos having a long, hard brainstorming session a wee while back to nail down the next steps in development for our LMS. It’s like the barriers have come down and a new era is unfolding where online learning can become a two-way process because the concept of social, collaborative learning is now being endorsed by many learning professionals such as Harold Jarche here in this quote “Successful collaborative efforts are the measure of a successful organization.”

We’ve got some exciting developments on the way to compliment our current formula for course delivery, so watch this space as we prepare to incorporate ideas of knowledge sharing and collaborative learning.