In the Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, there is a classic scene in which Luke Skywalker asks Obi-Wan Kenobi why he told him that Darth Vader killed his father, when in fact Darth Vader was in fact, Luke’s father. Obi-Wan does some verbal tap-dancing to get himself out of what was – in this fan’s opinion – a bold-faced lie, ending with a popular Star Wars quote:
So here’s my two cents on the topic… slightly adapted from a comment I left on Clive Shepherd’s blog.
That’s not a statement against formal training. There is and likely always will be a need for it. Every situation is different, and every performance improvement need should be addressed using the most effective tools for that specific situation.
Keep in mind, this is not the first time we’re having this discussion. It’s no different than when computer-based learning first became available. We were wondering then too if it would reduce our reliance on classroom-based training methods – and it did.
In any task, you are always best to use the most appropriate tool for the job. Social media tech has advanced to the point that it is now an excellent tool for learning and performance. Does it replace all other types of training, formal or otherwise? No. Do social media tools occupy an increasingly larger piece of the overall pie? Yes, and that subsequently makes the traditional formal training piece of the pie smaller.
And what I’m telling you here is true… from a certain point of view – mine. Your point of view may be different, and that’s OK. Hopefully as we continue having these discussions, we can find the common ground.
To me that’s the main benefit to discussions like this. Looking at both sides of an argument gives us all a better understanding and helps us meet somewhere in the middle, in the gray.
I definitely recommend further reading and participation in some of the discussions currently taking place regarding social learning’s impact on more traditional learning programs. Here are a few links to get you started:
The e-Learning Debate: Summer 2011 – in this posting, learning professionals vote and debate on the following motion: The house believes that as social learning grows, so the requirement for traditional training departments shrinks.
Clive Shepherd’s blog post: Give Cruella a Chance – Clive Shepherd was one of the speakers participating in the e-Learning Debate mentioned above. In this blog post, he goes into greater detail about why he is against the motion.
Be sure to check out the comments added on both pages, where the outstanding discussions are taking shape.