I’m delighted to have been asked to run an unconference session at the forthcoming Social Learning Conference on 8 March in London.

The event is actually a mix of conference and unconference and features a range of great speakers and case studies including Nick Shackleton-Jones from BP and Clare Norman from Accenture.

I’ll be facilitating discussion in an unconference session entitled From Learning 2.0 to social learning. It will be interesting to see what delegates will make of the title and how they interpret it and what we understand social learning to be.

My thinking will be based around what social learning looks like and what the implications are for the organisation.This is based on my experiences co-founding a knowledge sharing event at Reed Business Information using a range of tools including Yammer and blogs – more on that here and here.

Clearly, social – networking, business, recruiting, HR, learning and so on – is the buzz, but what does it really mean for learning within the organisation?

I thought this 20-minute film of Noam Chomsky talking about the purpose of education is worth looking at as he describes the two main concepts behind our eduction system:

The Enlightenment

This interpretation of education system says that the highest goal in life is to inquire and create and search the riches of the past and try to internalise the significant parts and carry them forward in your quest for understanding. Education is to help people determine how to learn on their own. It is up to you how you use it and learn and create new things.


The concept of indoctrination is about creating a framework for young people in which they learn. This educational environment is controlled and promotes conformity.

There is a constant struggle in education between these two concepts, Chomsky says.

Workplace learning
Why is this relevant to workplace learning? Because there is a tension within organisations around needingĀ  to share with colleagues what the organisation needs them to know and colleagues discovering what they need to know for themselves (wherever they might find it).

Jane Hart has written a great post on social learning, which I would encourage you to read. I also enjoyed this post on the value of social by Sukh Pabial.

I would also add that how L&D professionals learn is a part of this mix! Last year, whilst working at TrainingZone, I asked four L&D professionals how they learn. The answers highlight the range of different ways in which we learn on the job, which I think is important when we talk about social learning in isolation (you will need to login for free to see the articles in full).

You can also follow the event on the conference hashtag, which is #slconf.

If you are coming to the conference, then I look forward to meeting you there.