Creating social networks for learning and sharing ideas

Fairhurst P, Miller L | Opinion Paper OP24 | Institute for Employment Studies | Oct 2011

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Organisations' ability to adapt and to learn to operate in changing circumstances are critical capabilities. Learning continues to shift from being just thought of as formal, away from the office programmes, to an on-going process where learning is continuous and embedded in the workplace.

Whilst it is tempting to think of new technology as offering the same content in a new delivery forrmat, it can provide opportunities for people to learn at different times and in different situations than they did previously, accessing the material in a just-in-time basis. More fundamentally, recent advances in technology have helped people connect and collaborate more easily with a wider range of colleagues, and enabled them to seek out and find learning for themselves.

This paper discusses the potential for new technologies and social networking to facilitate new ways of learning. It presents key themes from research carried out for the NHS into establishing new social networks for knowledge and idea sharing, and also offers hints and tips for establishing a new online community.