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OPINION


chairman, Learning and Performance Institute @DonaldHTaylor


This month Don 


Donald H Taylor W


hen I started training in the mid-1980s it would have sounded like science fiction.


Now it’s a reality: four people share a video conversation with colleagues from around the world listening in. At the end of May, Jo Cook, Bever-


ley Aylott, Sunder Ramachandran and I began TJ’s Week of Webinars dis- cussing the current state of the learning and development industry. Joining us, via microphone and via text chat, were colleagues from around the world. Tere was no script, just Jo Cook


relaying the audience’s questions and adding her own. So far, so normal. But here’s the difference: the partic-





ipants were not only asking questions. Tey were sharing observations, opin- ions, experiences and resources. And they were not only sharing these with the speakers, but with each other. Te conversation on the virtual stage had triggered multiple shared conversations,


of course, must be a willingness to be questioned oneself, and to share information and resources that support a particular viewpoint. Social broad- casting occurs not only on webinars, but also in conferences, where speak- ers and audiences – in the room and beyond it – share using a variety of back-channel tools, including Twit- ter. It happens at home on the sofa, when watching Te Great British Bake Off, Eurovision and Match of the Day, when a wide community reflects via social media on what it is seeing. We barely notice it, but it is a new set of habits, it results in a rapid distribution of information and ideas, and it rests on an ease with sharing which did not exist before the advent of social media. Unwittingly, then, in our TJ


The conversation on the virtual stage had triggered multiple shared conversations, all taking place


simultaneously via text


all taking place simultaneously via text. Tis is new. A broadcast combined


with simultaneous social activity. It’s a phenomenon I have observed over the past few years on the webinars I host for the Learning and Skills Group. For want of a better term, I call it social broadcasting, something that is made possible by technology, certainly, but also by attitudes to authority and information, and new habits of sharing. In our world of instant information,


anyone’s authority can be questioned, and so it should be – courteously and with patience. Te other side of this,


www.trainingjournal.com


webinar discussing the future of L&D, the medium had become the message. L&D is moving from being the gatekeepers of information to being the facilitators of conversation. In every well-run webinar, as well as the speaker’s broadcast, a vast amount of tacit knowl- edge becomes useful, share- able and explicit in the chat area. Te webinar format is incidental. It is the ease of sharing, and the value of what surfaces that matters. Given that, L&D


professionals must ask themselves some search- ing questions: how can we improve the workplace sharing of information and curate and share the results more effectively? L&D’s role is changing, being master facilitators is a crucial part of it.


Donald H Taylor is a 25 year veteran of the learning, skills and human capital industries.


| july 2016 | 5


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