"And so my question to you is simple: are you preparing learners for the organizational ecosystem of today? Or are you helping them develop networks so that they're prepared for the organizational shifts that are coming?"
The above quote is the conclusion from a talk danah boyd gave at a conference that was organised by the American Society for Training and Development. This is a very interesting take on why we should adopt networked learning in teaching and training. I've always argued there are two reasons why secondary school teachers cannot afford to ignore the Internet and its social networks. The first one is about the technical affordances the Internet has for learning, its instrumental value for education if you like. The second one is a pedagogical one. As a teacher, you need to know your students, what drives them, what interests them. danah boyd's story shows there is a third reason. Our society is changing in the hands of young people and we had better adjust ourselves to those changes, in education and in the corporate world. This is how her story unfolds.
First, she takes her audience through two cultural memes she herself researched, young programmers and teenagers. She notices how young programmers, also from different companies, quite naturally share code with each other, through online means, but also by sharing open office spaces. The companies they work for have decided not anymore to try and lock these programmers within their organisational boundaries. It wouldn't work as the programmers wouldn't let them, but the collaboration also turns out to pay dividend to the companies.
This attitude of sharing also characterises current youth culture (along with other things such as a desire to exert control and protect privacy). To them, online social networks are a means for independence, creativity and self-expression. It is not so much that they willingly ignore such constructs as copyrights, rather it does not make any sense to them.
Hierarchically structured organisations that make a strict distinction between inside and outside the company, are anathema to these young people.Their attitudes and culture, acquired through their participation in online social networks, makes them inapt to function is companies thus structured. Organisations therefore had better adapt, if they want to profit from these young people's creative insights and energy. And where else should this start if not with education and training? (@pbsloep)