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Clive Shepherd: Ignore social media for L&D at your peril

London, UKLearning NewsCharity Learning Consortium

Clive Shepherd outlines four areas that L&D can look to harness the power of social networks, in a recent article for the Charity Learning Consortium’s eNewsletter and blog. Clive, chair of the eLearning Network, warns that even if organisations don’t embrace social media tools, their staff – and competitors - will.

“L&D has a tough job introducing social media tools into workplace learning; they are fighting not only the prejudices of senior managers but their own,” writes Clive Shepherd in a recent eNewsletter and blog post for the Charity Learning Consortium.

“But whatever the obstacles, social media tools will become ubiquitous because our use of these tools outside the workplace is becoming so pervasive that it will be unimaginable that we will not try to realise the same benefits at work. All that's necessary is for the key decision-makers in organisations to become avid social media users themselves – and that is only a question of time – and the doors will fly open....The stark truth is that, even if they don't, it will happen anyway.”

Should senior managers and those in L&D want to try and direct the use of social media to ensure a positive impact on learning and business performance, then Clive suggests that there are are at least four areas in which they can look:

Formal learning eg the use of forums to discuss issues and share ideas; sharing research using podcasts and videos

Non-formal learning eg the use of communities of practice to share new ideas and debate issues; the use of micro-blogging to quickly update peers on new developments

On-demand learning eg the use of social networks to find sources of expertise or offer your own expertise to others; content sharing (text, screencasts, podcasts, etc) YouTube style.

Experiential learning eg blogging about personal experiences

He gives a stark warning to those organisations that are ignoring the social media revolution: “We have got by without all these techniques in the past and many organisations will make a determined effort to get by without them in the future. They may do this with the best of intentions, but they will be missing opportunities - opportunities that their competitors may well be exploiting.”

You can read the full article on the Charity Learning Consortium’s blog. To sign up to receive our eNewsletter, enter your details in the Stay Connected section of the Consortium’s website homepage at

The Charity Learning Consortium is encouraging its members to embrace social media for L&D, and will be focusing on ways to do so at the CLC members meeting in London in June.

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