Monday, June 11, 2012

Quinn’s 5 Benefits of the Web for Social Learning

By Danielle Slatinsky

Clark Quinn, who has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, held a webinar on May 23, 2012 titled “Best of mLearnCon: How Mobile Enables Social Learning.” He focused on the strong connection between learning and computers, and how technology offers the two converging factors of the social web and user-generated content.

This blog post highlights key points Quinn made during the webinar.

Quinn started out the webinar by saying how there are five types of things which give users the power of the web. These benefits are:
  1. Things are findable or searchable.
  2. Things are editable; we can modify and improve existing information.
  3. Things are linkable, and we can link to the ever-changing content instead of simply sharing the content.
  4. Things are tagable, so you can edit information around the content.
  5. Things are feedable or subscribable; users can choose what content they want to see.
Quinn went on to say how formal learning is declining, and it is considered novice. A mix of formal and informal learning is considered practitioner. And informal learning is rising and considered expert, because people need to collaborate with other people and share ideas.

The two main points of the webinar were eCommunity and Broader Distribution. Quinn focused on various forms of social media, and how they can be used to enhance social learning.

The Importance of Social Media

Quinn emphasized the benefits of utilizing social media, and it mainly boils down to this: the more people working on a product the better the outcome.

The power of social media is shown through the ability to update information after a problem is solved. When there is a breakdown in available information found on a topic, people need to have an avenue to find the desired information. At this point, people go into problem solving mode, and they search for information through data, models, people, etc. Once they solve the problem, they can reflect on the new information and update it online. They can edit existing information, or add new data they found while searching for the answer to their problem. After the information is updated, people that come across the same breakdown in information later will be able to solve their problem easily by using the updated resource.

In addition to sharing new and updated information, you can also use social media to improve an idea for a product. Once you have an idea, you need to go through a process before creating a product. Multiple people need to look at what you want to produce, and they can create a response team. Then you can integrate their responses into the creation of your product, and with the outside viewpoints the product will ideally be improved. This can be accomplished in a few ways; for example, a very effective one is blogging.

In my next post, I’ll outline social media platforms Quinn suggested using for learning such as blogs, forums, wikis, online profiles, and microblogs.

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