As I near publication of my book on Informal Learning, I notice that there is a lot of misleading information and misconceptions floating about. Just yesterday I commented on a blog which was quite rightly extolling the virtues of Social Learning, but had a very narrow view of just what it is.

Social Learning is certainly the flavour of the month, and so it should be. But what a lot of people forget is that Social Learning has actually been the flavour of the last few hundred thousand years. It is our primary way of learning and always has been ever since we as a species could engage in learning. It was the military and then the industrial revolution that brought about training and the attempt to create lots of people who knew the exact same things and have the same skills.

What social media technology has done is expand the reach and power of social learning beyond your immediate ‘tribe’. Social learning is definitely not an ‘outgrowth of social media’ as many think. It predates everything. Some would even argue that it was Social Learning which began the rise of Homo Sapiens.

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews – Speaker/author/Consultant on Informal Learning, Management and Leadership.