Get Strategic with Social Learning

Get StrategicI am an organisational learning practitioner, currently working in Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA). In October 2014 I spoke at the Learning@Work conference held in Sydney, Australia about the development of my social learning skills and how this was impacting the application of social learning in my business unit.

When I was approached to speak at this conference an organiser asked me to describe what I was doing that may be of interest to the audience. She then wrote a session description and gave it a title. Unusually, this was not sent to me for review before the conference brochure was published. I was surprised by the session title that she chose – “Sneaking In The Social.” Gosh, I thought I was experimenting and role modelling!

Reflecting on the title and preparing this presentation was a turning point – it was time to move from ‘sneaking’ to ‘enabling’. It was two months before the conference, and I wanted something useful to share. I decided to get strategic with social learning. CCA adopted the 702010 framework at least four years ago, however we had applied social learning in a limited fashion in the context of this framework. In April 2014 we added ‘continuous workplace learning’ as an explicit element of our Supply Chain Capability strategy which expanded the endorsed role of our Capability team beyond structured learning programs to supporting informal learning. In September 2014 we defined a specific social learning initiative to contribute to a high priority initiative in our business unit strategy. This was the point at which we moved from experimenting with social learning to enabling it.

In a series of upcoming posts I shall write about this initiative – developing a Community of Practice in Maintenance and Engineering.

For now please enjoy viewing the presentation below as well as some videos that Vanessa Wiltshire kindly published of segments of my presentation.

Presentation of Slide 9 – My Social Learning Professional Development

Presentation of Slide 15 – Capability Strategy & Roadmap

Presentation of Slide 17 – Our SharePoint Sites

Presentation of Slide 20 – Maintenance & Engineering Community – Analysis Phase

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Social Learning Skills Review

Personal Social Learning Skills

I last reviewed my social learning skills in March 2014 when I commenced the Social Learning Practitioner Program.  In this time I have become a regular user of Twitter for professional development and networking, and shared examples of my work as an organisational learning practitioner on this blog and through webinars and conference presentations.  My post on Becoming A Social Learning Practitioner summarises key social learning activities and tools that I now use on an ongoing basis.  Of these, the ones I use most often are:

* Twitter – for fluid networking, sharing of resources, participation in Twitter chats and conference backchannels

* Feedly – a reader that collates posts on blogs that I follow plus presents resources from Google Alerts that I have set up

* Diigo – to bookmark links and summaries of online resources on topics I am researching, or that I may want to use in future

* Evernote – to gather my thoughts on topics and projects

I particularly enjoyed Harold Jarche’s online Personal Knowledge Management course (PKM in 40 days) and find the seek-sense-share model a useful framework to organise my ongoing learning activities.  I would like to improve my learning by establishing a daily / weekly / monthly routine of seek-sense-share and ‘housekeeping’ activities.

I have also become more resourceful in using the internet to find resources to learn new skills or address performance problems.  I also draw upon my larger, more diverse professional network to seek specific resources or answers to questions.  Opportunities have started to arise to collaborate online with others, and I’m looking forward to co-hosting an asynchronous Twitter book chat #LrnBk commencing 19 January

Team Social Learning Skills

I have been applying my social learning skills in my workplace and introducing some of the tools and practices to the Capability Community in my business unit.  In the ten months since I last reviewed my team’s social learning skills the group has largely continued to communicate and support each other in the same way – via email, phone and teleconferences.

We upgraded from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 mid last year, and have been migrating shared files from servers to SharePoint document libraries.  This has moved us to a common document repository, and increased sharing of links to documents and document-centred collaboration.  A OneNote notebook has been added to our SharePoint site which we have started using like a wiki to keep meeting notes and project status information.  These are extensions of existing ways of working, hence not a big leap for the group to take.

WOL BarriersWorking Out Loud is a bigger change in behaviours and work practices.  There has been a slight increase in people talking about what they are working on and sharing resources using SharePoint, and we have completely replaced status reporting with knowledge sharing in our fortnightly Lync meeting/teleconference sessions.

Common comments about Working Out Loud online reflect the need to build desire, support new behaviours and develop skills across the group to fluidly use our online space to connect, share resources, and collaborate to solve problems and improve work practices.  I shall soon post about the Work, Connect and Learn guided social learning program that we will launch in mid-February to enable this.

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2015 Blogging Goals


My Goals for this blog in 2015 are:

  1. Complete the Social Learning Practitioner Program – write at least one blog post for each activity (by March 2015)
  2. Support completion of 702010 Practitioner Certification through the 702010 Forum
  3. Reflect on what I am doing in work and professional development, the results I am getting, and develop action plans for improvement; hold myself accountable by reviewing progress against these plans
  4. Deepen learning from other activities (especially conferences, webinars, Twitter chats and reading)
  5. Build and contribute to my Personal Learning Network
  6. Build a long-term archive that I can use to remember what I’m learning and see differences over time (my thanks to Sacha Chua for this goal – it’s from “A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging” which I am using as a resource to improve my blogging).

Key Topics I will focus on this year (yes, I do intend to be focussed this year…):

  • social learning
  • showing your work / working out loud
  • Communities of Practice
  • Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs)

Specific Improvements I will make to my blogging:

  • shorter posts
  • more frequent posts – minimum two per month
  • visual representation of content, especially Sketchnotes and mind maps (I am a novice so expect big learning curve)
  • create and maintain outlines to sustain pipeline of blog posts

What about my SharePoint blog on the internal ESN?

To minimise duplication of effort I shall write as much as possible on my public blog and link from SharePoint where the subject matter supports organisational goals (which should be the majority of posts).

Additionally I will use Sharepoint blog to:

  • communicate internally about Supply Chain Technical Academy activities and programs (Monday Weekly Wrap / Featured Program)
  • encourage others within my organisation to show their work / work out loud ( post daily tips as a micro-learning flow)
  • acknowledge and thank others (especially, but not exclusively, through Thank You Thursday campaign)
  • share links to relevant external resources (similar to Harold Jarche’s “Friday’s Finds“)

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Thank You PLN

Twelve months ago I didn’t know how to spell PLN, let alone what the term Personal Learning Network meant.  At the end of an amazing year of professional development, I’d like to thank everyone in my PLN for connecting with me, sharing expertise and resources, and encouraging me to keep learning, improving and trying out new things.  At the risk of omitting someone, there are some people I’d like to specifically thank (don’t read anything into the order in which they are listed below).  Each of these people or groups has helped me to try new things and learn, and has been constantly generous.

Jane Hart – You have been my guide to becoming a SJaneHartocial Learning Practitioner.  Your SLPP Program has given me a path to follow as I have taken my first steps in online social learning.  This has completely changed how I approach my professional development, and helped me to build new skills to apply in my work.  I will always look back fondly on our October brunch with a group of Sydney-based learning practitioners.

Harold Jarche – I enjoyed your Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) workshop at the AITD 2014 National Conference and the online PKM in 40 days program.  Your Seek-Sense-Share framework has helped me to build regular practices that give me confidence that I can manage my knowledge amidst the deluge of online content. From you I also learned to trust in serendipity to connect me with the people and ideas that make a difference as I need them.

John Stepper - Thank you for the opportunity to review Working Out Loud and your encouragement to set up a WOL Circle.  Above all, thank you for role modelling the openness and generosity which you prescribe as essential to build an impactful network.

Charles Jennings – You introduced me to the 702010 framework several years ago, and I have continued to learn from the resources you publish.  These resources have also helped me to broaden my organisation’s understanding of 702010 and willingness to try new things to improve workplace learning.

702010 Forum – Thank you Heather Rutherford, Andrew Gerkens, and the Forum team for your ongoing work building the 702010 Forum.  Your resources have accelerated improvement of learning in my business.  To those forum members who have participated in community activities and webinars, keep it up as it is through those interactions that we learn more.  I’m looking forward to the certification program being launched early in 2015.

Jane Bozarth - Show Your Work is a delicious book – so much so that I bought it twice (had to replace it as someone Stole Your Work from my desk!).  You were one of the first people to open my eyes to the value of social media for learning when I saw you speak at an AITD Conference several years ago.  Thank you for every time you have responded to a mention in my tweets.  I look forward to helping out with #lrnbook next year.

Helen Blunden - You inspire me.  You role model many things for me – independent learning, collaboration, community-building.  Your energy, passion and positive outlook are infectious.  I am excited about the work we are doing together on CCA’s Work, Connect and Learn program and look forward to continuing our partnership.  Thank you also for founding Third Place – the Meet Ups have been invaluable for me to deepen relationships with Australian learning professionals.

My Ozlearn buddies – Thank you Con Sotidis for founding OzLearn.  The monthly Twitter chats have attracted some top global learning leaders.  There is a big overlap with the Third Place network and many people I have most contact with online participate in both groups – Ryan Tracey who is always quietly supportive; Tanya Lau who ensures everyone feels welcome, and is authentic and curious; Matt Guyan who works out loud with generosity; and Vanessa North who challenges, extends and amuses me.

Elizabeth Robinson and the AITD team – I appreciated the opportunity to speak and write for the Australian Institute of Training & Development this year.  Than you for the good work you are doing to enhance the AITD’s services and events.

Anne Bartlett-Bragg – When I think of innovation I think of you.  Thank you for your generosity when I was seeking input on a SharePoint design question earlier in the year.  It was the first time I went to my Twitter network with a specific request for help and you responded.

Mark Britz – Gosh I enjoy our little conversations on Twitter.  I feel like a kindred spirit, trying to make a difference to performance via social on opposite sides of the globe.  I always enjoy reading your blog posts – they are thought-provoking and well-written.  You encourage me to keep it real, although your Halloween avatar was a little freaky.

Rachel Burnham – My PKM in 40 days buddy.  You are another prodigious sharer, and encourage me to keep reading, learning and tending to my veggie patch.  I loved your Seek-Sense-Share drawing.


Rachel Burnham’s diagram of Harold Jarche’ Seek-Sense-Share PKM Model

Sacha Chua – I dip in and out of your blog, always curious about your semi-retirement experiment.  Your example of living consciously and creatively inspire me.  I love your Sketchnotes and aim to develop the skill to create my own sketch notes in 2015, although I shall give EMACS a miss.

Lynette Curtis and Justine Jardine – You made me feel less like a lone voice in the wilderness within our organisation and encouraged me to keep going.  Thank you.

Jeff Maguire – Thank you for your unwavering trust and support as I brought new ideas and approaches to our organisation this year.  I appreciate the autonomy, the space to experiment and learn by trying things out, and your confidence in me.


Jawbone – my personal micro-coach

I was given a Jawbone for my birthday five weeks ago (nice 21st gift I hear you say!). A Jawbone consists of a wristband with a motion sensor which gathers data on my activity levels and sleep, and sends it to the UP application on my iPhone.  I manually enter mood information – when the mood strikes me to do so…  I could also enter information on my food and drink intake if I chose.


My wristband transfers data wirelessly to the UP app.  While I don’t fully understand how Jawbone works, I do know that it’s a great example of how micro learning (a series of short learning activities) combined with personalised data-based feedback can enable behavioural change. In this post I’ll focus on how Jawbone has helped me to learn about my well-being and adopt healthier behaviours.

UP1 goals

I set goals for daily hours of sleep and number of steps.  (I have also set a weight goal, but have not bothered to monitor it.)

UP2 SleepWhen I wake each morning I open UP to check on my sleep.  UP has gathered enough data (it keeps 9 months of data) to detect my sleep patterns and gives me personalised feedback and tips.  In response to this I have increased my sleep target from 7 to 7.5 hours.  Because I enjoy achieving goals, my average sleep has increased in pursuit of the target.  Finally, after years of wanting to improve my sleep, I no longer feel lethargic by Thursday.  There is still room for improvement – UP recently recommended that my bedtime needs to be consistent, and provided a link to an article on how much sleep is enough.UP3 Sleep tip

UP4 StreakAs I have a big dog that needs to be walked twice a day I rarely miss my 10,000 step target.  I like to monitor my step progress during the day, and get a kick out of feedback that I’m doing well.  I have have not accepted UP’s suggestions to increase my walking target as I have heard from many sources that 10,000 steps is enough to keep me in good health.

UP Weekly Summ3I receive a weekly summary email which reports overall progress, highs and lows of the week, compares my results to the previous week and my historical averages, as well as sometimes to average data for women in my age group.  The fact that I often walk over 60 kilometres per week demonstrates the cumulative effect of daily goals.

In addition to goal tracking and customised tips, microlearning also comes in the form of generic well-being tips with links to more detail.  I read all 3 to 4 tips daily, and click through perhaps 3 times a week.  I find the tips relevant and helpful to making minor adjustments to build a healthier lifestyle.

I’ve not turned on the feed to Twitter or Facebook from UP – I don’t need the public accountability to motivate me, and I don’t want to bore anyone with my statistics.

The experience of building my awareness and changing habits through a powerful combination of an ongoing flow of information, tips and personalised data-based feedback has me thinking about how to apply this in my Learning & Development role.  Micro-learning possibilities include:

  • breaking down bigger courses or replacing part of a course previously delivered in a single ‘event’ into a series of smaller pieces of information or activities and drip-feeding them to participants. Micro-learning could be used to either replace an entire ‘event’ based course, or as pre- or post-learning.
  • asking a group of people a daily or weekly question with responses posted on Enterprise Support Network (ESN)
  • encouraging SMEs to post a daily tip or ‘how to’ instruction on our ESN
  • sharing a daily link to existing performance support materials

To identify where and how we could readily use performance data to provide an ongoing flow of personalised feedback and improvement tips I need to improve my understanding of data available in my organisation.  I’ll post about this when I’ve looked into it.

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Supporting Narration – from Role Modelling to Guided Learning

For a number of months I have been using a strategy of role modelling, encouragement and positive reinforcement to support others in my work team to narrate their work.  I have written previously about the Working Out Loud 3 Habits experiment that I tried.  This strategy has had mixed results.  Three of the ten group members are posting on our ESN at least once a week.  On one hand, a 30% online community participation rate is relatively good.  However, we are aiming to build online communities and encourage people across the business unit to share their expertise via narrating their work.  As the Capability Community are key learning change agents, it’s important to increase their online narration as part of shifting their mindset and skills to enable them to lead and support others.

Recently I’ve been working with support of an external consultant, Helen Blunden of Activate Learning, on analysis and planning of a Community of Practice (COP) for our maintenance and engineering teams. During discussions with team members we have asked them about their view of narrating their work.  Their responses have been similar to feedback from the Capability Community.

Narrating ReactionsPeople don’t necessarily see the point of narrating their work.  They’re unsure of the benefit to themselves or others.  They can’t see how to fit it into their work flow when they are busy and it just feels like another task to do.  They don’t know how to do it – either how to use the online tools or how to talk about their work.  There are also psychological barriers – concerns about what others will think of them and read into their motives.

After discovering John Stepper’s Working Out Loud blog I have been thinking that a guided mastery approach could help to address these common barriers.  Last week in her Learning@Work keynote address on learning in a social workplace, Jane Hart provided the term I have been looking for to describe the approach that we shall adopt – Guided Social learning.  This semi-structured approach ‘scaffolds’ an online social learning process for participants providing them with some content/guidance and activities to get them started connecting with others and narrating their work.  The intent is to enable them to transition to continuous, autonomous online social learning either as a team or individuals.

We shall be designing and developing our Guided Social Learning program which we will launch internally in early 2015.  Although the program will include curated resources from the internet, it will be customised to our organisation – our tools, people and context.  I’m looking forward to working on this as I complete the Guided Social Learning Experience Design Program offered by the Modern Workplace Learning Centre this month.

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SharePoint Capability Team Site – An Example

This post describes the team site we’ve set up on SharePoint 2013 for our internal Capability development team.  The purpose of the site is to:

a) Support the work and knowledge sharing of the core Capability Community in our business unit. This is a virtual team consisting of 10 people spread across Australia.  This group develop and execute Capability strategy and programs.

b) Publish learning program content other than eLearning which is hosted on other platforms – to which we link from this site.  Used by everyone in the Business Unit.

The site front page is a standard template set up when a team site request is approved.  We have then designed and setup the site using the standard navigation features and web apps which our IT department has made available to us.  Key features and how the site is used are described in the series of labelled screen shots below.

We generally keep all content open for everyone to access, and for all members of the Capability Community to edit.  The exception to this is skill assessments and budget information to which we restrict access via permissions.

Front page layout

SCTA Front page

Front page menu

SCTA Front menu


OneNote Notebook

SCTA Notebook

National Page

SCTA National page

Blog Site


Academy Training Courses and Assessments

SCTA Courses dashboard page

Learning Program Page – Example

SCTA Program page


What Could We Improve?

A couple of ideas that spring to mind are:

  • Adding a Welcome page with a link from front page and moving the Business Unit Director’s welcome message from the National Page to this page.  Also linking to the Welcome page from the Academy Training Courses and Assessments page.  This would make the Welcome message more accessible to broader audience rather than being tucked away on a page visited almost exclusively by the Capability Community.
  • Expanding use of the blog, which is primarily used to communicate regular updates regarding programs we are working on in Capability.  We could use it for education about key elements of our Capability strategy, including use of links to internet content.  We could also feature people involved in Capability (e.g. operators who are training and assessing others, learners who are completing our programs).

What are your suggestions?






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