Here at Rhizome Live you will hear us talking about Connected Learning a lot. It is at the heart of our training philosophy, and the raison d’etre of our web platform.
In its simplest form, Connected Learning is education from social interaction. It is about learning with and from others.
The value of social interaction in education is well established. In the 1970s Albert Bandura brought together several strands of educational thought to flesh out his Social Learning Theory. This lays out how a learning from others is an engaging process. The learner pays attention to the action and remembers it in order to decide whether or not to recreate it based on the expected consequences.1
This is how we learn as children. We observe the behaviour of others around us, particularly our parents. So we learn to cross the road when there isn’t a car coming, and to eat all of our dinner so that we get pudding.
Connected Learning is about applying Social Learning Theory principles to online training.
The approach was pioneered by our co-founder, Jonathan Worth. On his acclaimed Phonar photography course, Jonathan used social media to expand his reach. Students interacted not only with each other and Jonathan, but also with anyone interested through Twitter and blogs.
At its height, the course had 35,000 participants, ranging from curious amateurs to industry leaders. Jonathan’s students had access to the thoughts, opinions, criticisms and feedback of all of these participants in real time. This massively increased the value of their learning, and the course quickly became the most oversubscribed course at the university.
At Rhizome Live, we apply this same connectivity to online workplace training. Why have one trainer or facilitator (or faceless e-learning module) pushing material at your employees, when you can harness the collective intelligence of your entire workforce? By pooling knowledge and experience, we allow participants to learn from each other. And by learn, we mean really absorb, understand and retain. Social interaction provides the basis for
1 Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.