Saturday, June 27, 2009

Netgens or Millenials and Web 2.0


Business Times p.B1

Saturday, June 27, 2009



By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM

Netgens and Web 2.0 social media


The vastly unbeaten ASTD 2009 Conference & Expo held in Washington, D.C. early this month had ASTD president's Tony Bingham delivering a very thoughtful keynote speech on Day 1. He talked about the increasing presence of millennials or netgens (those born between 1977 and 1997) and how they are forcing organizations to change their management and leadership styles to suit their working, thinking, relating and learning needs.


Tony Bingham said that most definitions of informal learning describe it by what it isn't; as in, informal learning is any learning that isn't formal. Informal and social learning is appealing to netgens.


Tony asked and answered, "When you typed a query into Google or Yahoo, is this informal learning? Some contend that this is not learning, but information gathering and, that information gathering isn't learning. Learning professionals say that social media is helping people connect with the right information at the right time in the right way to better serve the customers. That is a very compelling reason in itself to facilitate social learning.


ASTD and i4cp conducted a research study on informal learning in 2008 to answer the question, "Are we tapping the real potential of informal learning?" and some of the findings were:


• Ninety-nine percent of the respondents saw that it was occurring to some extent and 34 percent said to a high extent.


• What is the expected change over the next three years? More than 56 percent expect it to increase over the next three years. (Doesn't the number seem low?)


• Ninety-eight percent of those surveyed say that informal learning enhances employee performance—39 percent to a high extent.


• Thirty-six percent dedicate no money to informal learning and 78 percent dedicate 10 percent or less of the training budget to informal learning.


• The percentage of informal learning occurring in organizations is between 70 percent and 90 percent, yet, amazingly, most of the money is allocated to formal learning.


This study tells us, Tony continued, that we have a lot of informal learning occurring in our organizations. It's going to increase, it works, and there is no budget assigned to it and most of it is occurring outside of learning's purview. We definitely have a great opportunity to make an impact with informal learning based on this research and one key impact area is knowledge retention from informal learning. Organizational leaders and those professionals who facilitate and drive informal learning must ensure that this knowledge is captured.


One best practice is to have a way to catalog the information, search it, and also locate subject matter experts—the information resides where it is readily accessible and impacts customer service and employee effectiveness. Another is to have all the tools in place to input and retrieve the information.


So far, we know that the netgens are bringing with them a new style of working and learning, and as a result, organizations are going to have to change. The sheer size of this group will force that change even if organizations are uncomfortable with it. Organizations are now financing informal learning and see it working.


Tony discussed how the netgens are using Web 2.0 technologies as well as the impact of these technologies is having in organizations. Web 2.0 technologies are the enablers of social learning. They are the tools that support collaboration and social learning; they don't cause it to automatically happen. You can design how Web 2.0 technologies are implemented to support learning in your organization.


Here are some stats on Web 2.0 social media technologies and why we must pay very close attention to them.


• Twitter had a 1,382-percent increase in traffic to its site from February 2008 to February 2009.


• Facebook, which has recently taken over the popularity contest from MySpace, has more than 200 million active users and more than 100 million users who log on at least once per day. The fastest growing demographic is age 35+. Seventy percent of Facebook users are from outside the US making it an international success.


• LinkedIn has more than 40 million professionals.


• In the Global Enterprise Web 2.0 Market Forecast study, Forrester reports that organizations' spending on Web 2.0 technologies will "surge" over the next five years, growing 43 percent each year to reach $4.6-billion globally by 2013.


While the social media venue may change in the future, it's clear, as the numbers illustrate, that people want to collaborate, and they're investing in it.


We'll have more of Web 2.0 next column.


 Search Moje in Twitter and Facebook using her email addy and visit her blog at

No comments: