LEARNING & INNOVATION
By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Facebook and Twitter as informal learning venue
The ASTD 2009 International Conference & Exposition, under the auspices the American Society for Training & Development, just ended (May 31-June3) here in Washington, D.C. It was, as usual, a huge success despite a smaller attendance of some 5,000 training and development leaders from all over the world.
Half of the 1,270 foreign delegations came from
Indeed, professionals in the learning and performance field advocate the same passion, speak the same language, use the same tools and techniques, share the same issues and have a common fear of the global recession and swine flu.
The opening keynote speech by ASTD president Tony Bingham centered on engaging the net generation or those born from1976 to 1998 when the Internet became the arena of choice for everything and anything. It was the era of e-commerce, e-everything, dotcom, Internet games (remember Super Mario?), e-mail, desktop publishing, search engines, and many others.
The NetGen learned to use the computer and navigate the Internet by discovery and hands-on experience, not in a formal classroom training. They were the first early adopters of the search engine Google and social networking sites like Friendster, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Of course, they were also the first ones to discover and use extensively the texting function of the cell phone.
Traditional classroom venue for learning will always be there, yet training and development professionals need to explore and make use of informal learning as Web 2.0 technologies to engage the NetGen. The old fashioned e-mails will not be enough to communicate with them.
On the other hand, Annie Griffiths Belt, multi-awarded photographer of National Geographic, author of best-selling books of photography, and a Fellow with the International League of Conservations Photographers, cautions about too much use of modern technologies.
She recalls those times in the past as a news photographer of various magazines and as a White House news photographer when she and her fellow photographers would gather in the dark room to develop and print their pictures. They shared, not only the foul smell of the chemicals, but also and more importantly, funny and exciting stories of how they shot the pictures. They laughed together, the critiqued each other's pictures, helped each other pick their best pictures. They enjoyed a lot of ribbing and camaraderie which they carried through in their personal life as friends.
With the coming of the digital camera and the end of the dark room, they have lost the opportunity to get together in person, to bond, to develop friendship and to grow as persons in and outside of work. She seldom sees her colleagues nowadays.
She said that the best pictures she took were those when she made a connection with her subject in person and when she was able to communicate above their language and other cultural differences. To this day Annie still uses the good old fashioned 35mm camera even as she envies her young colleagues using cameras with the latest technologies. I remember a retired pilot-friend who said that the last pilot's plane was the BAC111 which required the pilot's skills, knowledge, alertness and leadership and team work with co-pilot and flight engineer.
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