Can Web 2.0 Be Utilized For Corporate Learning?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 02.22.08

There have been many definitions for Web 2.0 but perhaps the easiest one is by Tim O’Reilly, who first coined the term at the O’Reilly Media conference in October of 2004. He referred to this new web as a collaborative network characterized by the participatory and cumulative experience of users.

Let’s break down the three major components of Web 2.0:

  • Collaborative: Supports extensions to itself, is not a finished product but always a “work in process.”
  • Accessible across multiple platforms: Meaning, Web 2.0 can be accessed by devices of all kinds from PCs to Mobile Phones to You Name It…
  • User-generated: Rather than viewing content as static, the well-established boundaries between professionals and amateurs are eroding and content is open and continuously updated.

Listen to Tim O’Reilly, often called the father of Web 2.0, as he describes the concept on YouTube.

Now let’s step back and ask if this user participatory experience, which is at the heart of Web 2.0, can be incorporated inside corporate learning departments. As you consider this question, five issues come to mind:

  • What happens to the instructional design process?
  • What is the role of subject matter experts versus professional instructional designers?
  • How do Learning Management Systems need to be adopted?
  • How do learners continually add their experiences, stories and lessons to formal learning programs?
  • What new processes and methods need to be created to take into account the “wisdom” of the crowds?

If the cardinal rule of Web 2.0 is that users add value - then how does this fit into the current way you design, develop and deliver corporate learning programs?

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