Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ad-hoc Social Learning Environment Version 2: BaseCamp 2011

In an earlier post, I described an ad-hoc social learning environment where a blog was set up to drive learning for a group of 40 executives in a company, spread over multiple locations.

Recently, this environment was put to use again to conduct a program titled BaseCamp 2011, where nearly fifty managers got together to learn select topics in strategy, finance and leadership. The online social learning program was conducted over a duration of six weeks.

This new experience helped us gain some more insights in social online learning. Here is a brief summary.

1. Interactive presentations work great
Posting presentations online and sharing them amongst program participants is useful in its own right. What is more, the ability for learners to interact around individual slides of a presentation adds significant value and enhances the learning experience notably.

In BaseCamp 2011, the presentations were hosted on TeemingPod, a social interaction tool. Each slide had a 'comments' tab where participants could go and add comments, raise questions or answer questions related to that slide. This in-context learning interaction was very useful in clarifying ideas being taught in the presentation.

2. Multiple online discussions scale better
The class had a business case study to work on, and given the class size it was necessary to make multiple small groups that could discuss the case amongst themselves. With the TeemingPod discussion feature, it was a snap to create ten small groups. Each group had its own online discussion area where they could post their views and read others'.

3. Not everything needs to be public
In this class, there were several questions where we felt the participants would answer more openly if we were to ask them to submit their answers directly to the instructor, rather than post them on the portal for everyone to see. Accordingly, unlike BaseCamp 2010 we did have a few assignments where answers were submitted directly to the instructor.

4. Learning can be combined with new process rollouts
As part of the leadership curriculum, the BaseCamp also rolled out a new one-on-one process. People not only learned how to conduct effective one-on-one meetings with their direct reports, but they also received process documents and made a commitment to participate in the new one-on-one process.

Overall, BaseCamp 2011 continued to build on top of BaseCamp 2010 and gave us additional insights into exploiting online social learning environments.

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I was fortunate and the lucky one to be participant of this inititiative Ver 1.0 in 2010. Vikas Sir is a visionary and person keen to share knowledge with all employees. he believes in using technology and in-house products to the maximum.
    This Basecamp is a forum which benefits colloaborative learning in a sharing manner. It basically elevates the benchmark for individuals and groups as a healthy progress.
    I was glad and happy to see the updates on ver2.0.