Do Social Media Eliminate the Need for Learning Management Systems?

Do Social Media Eliminate the Need for Learning Management Systems?

There's a large and vocal group of learning pundits who are vehemently anti learning management system. They view LMS as metaphorical feeding tubes rammed down the throats of learners, force-feeding them information they'll soon forget. Within a LMS learners are, they believe, like geese on a foie gras farm. In these pundits' eyes, a more ethical approach is for these learners to roam free, munching on the content they encounter on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and elsewhere.

Social media provide exciting and engaging learning opportunities and can play a central role in blended learning programs. But, these don't replace the need for a centralized learning environment.

Within almost all organizations, you have:

  • Super keen overachievers who will immediately head off and learn what they need to learn with little support and direction. Just make a passing mention that it would be good for them to have some project management skills and they'll be up until midnight surfing the Web to find out everything they can about the topic.
  • The no-one-told-me-I-need-to-know-this type, who will only interact with learning content if it is mandatory and clearly assigned to them.
  • Everyone else on a continuum between these two extremes.

The super keen overachievers do really well roaming free, munching on the content they encounter in social media sites. Members of the no-one-told-me-I-need-to-know-this group will want to know the specific URLs they must go to on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and elsewhere. And, they'll want to be guided in what they should do when they get there.

The bottom line is that I'm thrilled that maintenance technicians within a medical device company might have a Facebook learners group. I just want to make sure these technicians are all qualified to service their company's devices before they are inserted into me. Regardless of whether they are keeners orno-one-told-me-I-need-to-know-this types, I want all these people to have met the learning requirements to perform their duties well.

Next week, I'll be presenting some ideas on how you can empower learners by allowing them to select preferred content types as well as integrate interactions within social media into your LMS.

Stay tuned.

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