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It’s not about the tool

October 28, 2009

I just spoke at a conference for HR issues relevant to credit unions and my topic was on 21st Century Learning in Action: using Web 2.0 to train, develop and support your employees.  One of the points that I hope I got across is that it isn’t about the tool.   

Here’s an example: I worked for an organization who had identified that producing some screencasts (they called them “videos”) of common errors as a reference for employees when they became confused over how to complete a task on a piece of software.  They were novel at the time and stood out, but not for the right reasons.  We were bombarded with requests for “videos” and other groups were dazzled by the possibilities.  We had to take each request and pull it apart, to determine if the video was the right solution.  Guess what?  Mostly it wasn’t. 

So, for everyone trying to figure out if Twitter is worth the effort or how youtube might be used in an organizational setting, STOP.  Think about what your learner needs.  This is how I see it.  If you are in the field of learning and development (or training), then your job is to figure out what people need and match the right tool, not to pick the tool that everyone seems to be talking about and reverse engineer a use for it. 

3 circlesI believe, employee’s or learner’s needs fall into connected and overlapping areas and that most of the web 2.0 tools can provide learning and/or help and/or connection.  If you want to know more about it, you can read my opinion here, or come to my webinar on November 24th.

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