The advantages that the connectedness of the internet can bring are obvious. What’s not straightforward is how to connect people in a manner that encourages learning. Fittingly, the youth are showing everyone how.
Learning through communication
In August 2016, teams from around the world competed in the richest online gaming tournament ever held, the The International 2016: Dota (Defense of the Ancients) 2 Championships. Sixteen teams battled it out for almost $20US million in shared prize money, with even the last teams sharing more than 50k between its five members.
The game involves two teams battling it out to destroy a structure called ‘the ancient’ in each other’s territory. It calls on individual skill, strategy and team coordination to win. The internet allows them to practice and to form teams, often with members from all over the world.
To communicate they use every tool their bandwidth will allow, especially social media, including watching live streams of better players. They use these tools to learn from each other – both their game skill as well as how to manage people:
I’ve personally struggled through many frustrating weeks trying to get teams to even scrim (a practice match) … Every member has to understand that there will be rough times, and that the team has to stay together, and overcome difficult obstacles. EnernalEnVy 2012
These same tools are available to educators. It’s up to us to try find interesting ways to get students engaged in the curriculum.
In the coming months an experiment will be held in South Australia to try and achieve just that. Students will be introduced to future career paths and jobs by combining emerging discovery technology with real life experiences.
They will be formed into teams and will have to work together to solve clues and work through problems as they discover information about careers such as robotics, programming and engineering.
They will all be connected on a social media platform and learning record store (lxHive). This will encourage and track interaction and allow students to build portfolios of learning. The platform will facilitate the interaction and record the learning, which can be evaluated by educators. This interaction can be taken a step further in organisations trying to capture knowledge.
Interaction between peers can be analysed to track the learning of an organisation. Deficiencies can be discovered and remediated. Leaders in subject areas and fields can be identified and encouraged to champion their areas of specialty.
This will allow training resources to be more efficiently allocated and results measured. It will allow communities to be formed that cross geographical and organisational boundaries.
And it will allow organisations to approach the holy grail of most administrative, IT and HR departments – organised knowledge management.
With adequate implementation, ideas, approaches and expertise can be coaxed out of the minds of individuals and practices of teams and documented.
We can look to global examples for inspiration, such as Wikipedia and customer forums for products by Adobe and even Facebook. Wikipedia.com is currently sixth most popular website in the world, above Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft’s Live. It’s owned by a registered charity and its content is primarily created and edited by volunteers.
Adobe encourages its most knowledgable users to answer questions for customers on its product forums. The company recognises the cost savings in such a setup, but also the knowledge of these users.
Relatively inexpensive tools are available to help organisations form such connections between their staff and build an online knowledge base. Implemented correctly, the open-source Totara Social will achieve this. It is built to facilitate individuals coming together in unstructured ways, to share ideas, ask questions and create and share new information.
For example, a simple interaction about the implementation of an advertising campaign between an experienced marketing professional and a graduate, can be stored, indexed and made available to all to add to and learn from.
Staff can be encouraged to add to a discussion about problems an organisation is yet to solve, or challenges it would like to meet.
With some coaxing, capturing this on social learning platforms built for organisations will build a database of knowledge the can be stored, added to and accessed ad infinitum.