In my intro post, I mentioned that I am interested in trying to find ways to use social media to capture "water cooler" learning in a corporate environment. I got the term from an article entitled "Your co-worker your teacher: collaborative technology speeds peer-peer learning" by E. Frauenheim in the journal Workforce Management.

"Water cooler learning" is the informal learning that happens between peers. Where I work, if you are lucky enough to sit at lunch with the right people, you pick up many of those tidbits. Or if you are traveling with them, or you are on a project with them, etc. But how can you capture all of those tidbits so that everyone in the organization benefits from that knowledge?

Steve Hargadon linked to this article. It is the text of a presenation called "Learning, Working & Playing in the Digital Age" given by John Seely Brown. The article has several points I am interested in investigating more:

1. The idea that learning ecologies have systemic properties. (I need to think about and research learning ecologies as they pertain to corporate training).
2. The Web is a medium that is able to honor multiple forms of intelligence—abstract, textual, visual, musical, social and kinesthetic.
3. "Tacit knowledge can be distributed between people in terms of a shared understanding that slowly emerges from working together, a point that we will return to." (is this a technical definition of what I am calling water cooler learning?)
4. "Learning to learn happens most naturally from being situated and participating in a community of practice". (I think the learning to learn is the hardest thing to teach a person). :)


7. "Troubleshooting is really story construction, not abstract logical reasoning"
8. "The community is the expert system"
9. "An ecology is basically an open, complex adaptive system comprising elements that are dynamic and interdependent. One of the things that makes an ecology so powerful and adaptable to new contexts is its diversity".

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Tags: John_Seely_Brown, communities_of_practice, learning_ecologies, watercooler_learning


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