João Pedro Bourbon's scenario for in-company use of a learning social media
Cloud created by:
João Pedro Bourbon
30 January 2013
This is a scenario I crafted for a possible practical application of the project proposed by Marcos Tenório. http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/7157
A company identified a lack of business management skills by the majority of its technical staff, and those skills are a mandatory requirement for career advancement and access to management roles. Those roles are filled at the moment and are guaranteed for the next year, but vacancies may appear in the next. The company figured it would be too complicated to set the logistics to train them in-house in the traditional way, due to the time and effort it would require from managers and technicians, who would be away from their regular tasks for too long, and too expensive to hire external consultants for the classes. The HR department was informed of a new learning system they could use: a learning social network where they could build mini courses for their employees, setting up the goals and objectives of the learning, but leaving the learning process to the learners, so they could define their own learning strategies at their own pace, in a continuous process. That learning network was social because the learner could connect and interact with each other inside their company and outside it, share resources created by the company or from outside websites, like blogs, social media, etc.
That way, every member of the staff could apply for the courses provided, either going through a linear set of activities, readings and project works, or by choosing his/her own activities to reach the set goals of the course. The company would, however, have to invest in hiring learning design specialists to work in cooperation with the HR department and set up the process, creating the base courses and activities, planning the objectives and goals to attain, and train specific staff in assessing the output from the learners.
Cyrus Miller is a 38-years old senior programmer at Z4Y3., a medium-sized software development company based in Madison, Winsconsin, USA, and he is aware that his career as a programmer needs a change. Over the last years he has advanced to become a leading programmer, but he feels his skills are getting outdated to quickly nowadays, and he can’t keep pace with younger programmers who adapt quicker to new technologies and programming trends. He know we’ll eventually have to change his career path to management, if he is to keep working at a company he loves and was one of its first members.
Over the years he did many update courses and workshops in programming and technical subjects, but never focused a lot in management. He doesn’t have the time to spare to do an MBA, even if it is an online one, because it is very time consuming and, really, a lot of what he’d learn would be generic and hardly useful for his own company experience.
His company just started offering a new option for those who intend to advance to management: an innovative web-based series of courses crafted in-company with its own specificities, goals and activities, which could be done in a linear way or substituted by the student’s own suggestions and autonomous work. That web platform was a social network as well, and the student could have access to resources and connections to experienced people and collegues in the company and outside it, and could use social media features for his benefit and that of the other learners. He thought that may be a good idea, because it allowed him to keep his own pace, choose his own learning path, socialize and build upon knowledge both in company and all over the internet, he could even join a team of other learners to collaborate with them, and they would all benefit.
In less than one year Cyrus kept to his goals doing projects and researching on his own and sometimes doing activities proposed by the course he had chosen, management, and the assessment team was happy to certify his skills and put him on the pool of the able candidates for the next round of managerial promotions. He didn’t get an MBA, but if he were to do it now, we would be very well prepared for it, since he had covered a good part of its subjects.