Spontaneous Social Learning: Trigger, Content, Action, Outreach

Leadership soft skills training

This post started out with a management/leadership topic. And you can see the video below that resulted from serendipitous social outreach. Management/Leadership is an important topic and one that I think should be discussed in greater detail. But in this post, I’d like to highlight the process. The process highlights the amazing power of social connections for starting conversations. The technologies enable spontaneous collaborative events in ways we have never seen. In a way, understanding this process is also a glimpse into the future of management/leadership as well.

Let’s start by laying out the events from a high level. The entire process took shape very quickly without thinking too deeply about it. I went from Trigger to Inspired action very quickly. And having already experienced this set of tools, I new immediately what actions to take. This is where I find the value in experimenting with new technologies. You may not think you’ll ever need them.  But when inspiration strikes its good to have some prior knowledge to help craft a quick solution.

The Trigger – Twitter

Everything starts with a trigger event. In this case it was a tweet highlighting a LinkedIn article published by Josh Bersin about eLearning Not Being Successful at Leadership and Softskills Training. The tweet was from Mark Britz (@britz) a trusted colleague in my professional network. This is important because just seeing the same tweet from an unknown source may not have triggered a response from me. Knowing your network, and building relationships is critical for social success.

The Content – LinkedIn

After accepting the validity of the link from a trusted source I clicked the link and read the article. In this part of the process the inspiration to take action was reinforced because I already had a great deal of respect for the work of Josh Bersin. And this content was typical of his exceptional work presenting data on whatever topic he writes about. There were some very interesting points made with data to back them up. The curiosity triggered by the tweet got the process started. But the strong content triggered the desire to take action.

The Action/Event – Blab.im

I was a very early adopter of blab.im from it’s very early days. I discovered it from the king of social streaming Brian Fanzo (@isocialfanz). In those first few weeks I met many other inquisitive experimenters trying to understand this new video streaming service. My point is that in order to take action, it was extremely helpful to make the connection between my need and the blab service. Blab made taking action very quick and easy. In a matter of minutes I had gone from trigger to content, to action, creating an event without any technology friction at all. I setup the blab for 30mins out so I had a little time to prep, and begin my outreach.

The Outreach – Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook

Blab makes outreach very easy with buttons for posting to both twitter and Facebook. I also posted an update on LinkedIn just to cover the bases. It didn’t take long for 2 subscribers to appear. This may not sound like a lot, but considering the spontaneous nature of the event I was not expecting many more. The outreach is important if others might be available to engage in a conversation around a recent piece of content as well. However, having others on the blab was not a primary concern for me. What I really wanted to do was capture my thoughts and feelings around Josh’s article immediately. Blab is a live streaming service, but it also records the event if you want too. So capturing my thoughts about the topic of eLearning failing Leadership Training was the most important element for me.

Watch the video to see what ended up happening. It was much more than I could have hoped for.

Because of today’s technology I was able to integrate multiple services to create a spontaneous social learning event. I went from trigger, to content, to action, to outreach within an hour. The event itself went for about an hour. And when it was over I had a video artifact of the experience. This is why I love technology and why I see much more value in technology for learning than what the L&D industry currently offers. Your intrinsically motivated learners will take action if you let them. But only if the content is accessible, and the technology is available to support it. As an L&D professional you can do more. Get started.