By Lorri Freifeld
OK, I admit it. I enjoy sci-fi movies and am intrigued by both benign robots such as Star Wars’ C-3PO and R2-D2 and the destroy-everything-in-my-path Terminators. So my creative antennae started vibrating when Nike Global Talent Director Joe Campbell and General Physics Corp. VP of Knowledge Management Solutions William Finegan proposed writing an exclusive story for Training magazine headlined, “Dawn of the Social Cyborg.”
I immediately set our art director to looking for cool Terminator-like images for the cover, and he didn’t disappoint. And while the young learners soon to flood the workplace are not robots, they are infinitely more attached to their computers and mobile devices than any other generation in the past. In fact, I would swear my 13-year-old niece’s BlackBerry is surgically attached to her right hand—or maybe it now is her right hand. The blur of movement from her constant texting makes it hard to tell.
Campbell and Finegan use the term, “Social Cyborg,” to describe people who have integrated social networks and information technology into the way they think, learn, and solve problems. “It’s helpful to think of these people as a distinct species, one that has evolved unique capabilities to take advantage of networked people and information systems,” they say. (Visit http://trainingmag.com/article/dawn-social-cyborg to find out how to both recruit and best leverage Social Cyborgs in the workplace.)
This means some significant shifts in mindset—even at Trainingmagazine. We recently reformatted our Training Tech Talk e-newsletter to pull content from our Twitter feed, allowing readers to see and participate in real-time, on-point dialogue among their peers. And we created a brand-new conference called Learning 3.0 to explore the training industry’s next transformation and how it will affect your organization. The event took place October 4-5 in Chicago. Visit www.learning3point0.com for valuable takeaways.
Clearly, not everyone is jumping on the social learning bandwagon just yet. Training’s recent social learning survey found 75 percent of 905 respondents never use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to deliver training. We received 292 different definitions of social learning, while another 350 respondents said their organization did not have a definition of social learning. Our Training Top 10 Hall of Famers tackle the pros and cons of the thorny topic and offer best practices in their first-ever white paper, “The Emerging Role of Social Learning in Training and Development.” They will present the white paper and results of our social learning survey during a special keynote at the 2012 Training Conference & Expo, to be held February 13-15, 2012, in Atlanta, so be sure to mark your calendar. Visit http://www.trainingmagevents.com for more information.
Of course, there’s only one way to end an editorial that started with a mention of the Terminator: I’ll be back…in November/December, that is, with our 2011 Salary Survey and Industry Report results.