Networked Learning and KM in the workplace: how to measure the impact?

by alison

I’ve been reflecting on my project plan as it relates to collective learning, which is critical for the learning organisation. I’ve also been discussing my project plan at length with a consultant colleague at work as part of that process. She is pushing me to organise myself in a project management-style format with key stakeholders and deliverables explicitly identified and everything being tied to organisational goals and the intended outcomes, etc. This is slightly terrifying to me but I can’t help but wonder if this is what Mezirow describes as being a part of transformational learning—it’s uncomfortable! I should also thank Kevin & Kelley who echoed that explaining the ‘why’ of this added process for planning will help my colleagues and clients to understand the format and its potential value to each of us.

As part of this refinement ofmy plan—sorting out how my measures complement my outcomes—I’ve been doing some thinking about the outcomes themselves. What am I trying to do here? Could it just be about making networked learning a more comfortable, familiar experience? Providing an opportunity to practice networked learning?

Part of what led me to think about this an article tweeted by Kevin that refutes the idea of digital natives. I agree with the article’s suggestion that anyone can become technologically savvy with practice—we all have the same learning curve.

“Those who were not “born digital” can be just as connected, if not more so, than their younger counterparts.”

So it’s really about learning how to learn in a network with knowledge management strategies in place (thanks swedinbalchik!). Networked Learning according to Veen, Lukosch, & Vries (2008) is becoming increasingly important in workplaces:

This new labour force will rely heavily on technical and distributed social networks. Networked Learning refers to a context in which internet-based information and communication technologies are used to promote connections: between participants; between participants and experts; between a learning community and its learning resources, so that participants can extend and develop their understanding and capabilities in ways that are important to them, and over which they have significant control. These connections vary from face-to-face to distributed, across a variety of media, and with various degrees of time shifting. Crucial is the connectedness of participants.

Could it be this concept that I’m introducing and primarily trying to measure? And my measures would be changes in perception of comfort levels or ability to seek out resources (physical and human) before and after the planning process? But how do I measure quality of knowledge shared? Will self report data dig deep enough? I don’t have much time to sort this piece out because I need to distribute my initial survey next week.