Book Review: Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning by Jane Bozarth

Are you a learning and development professional who is hearing more about social media lately and quietly wondering how it will affect your role?  Are you an instructional designer who believes that social media is a passing fad and one that cannot be incorporated into training programs for learners?  Think again.

Jane Bozarth’s new book is a resource that provides tips, techniques and activities for incorporating social media into your training.  Love it or leave it, social media is here to stay and as learning and development professionals, we need to look at its possibilities and its uses and incorporate it into our learning programs to create communities and inspire collaboration andapplication to learning in the workplace.

Chances are that if you are reading this book review, you’re likely to have a Facebook account or maybe even a Twitter account but have you stopped to consider how you may use these popular social media tools into your training?

The book opens with ‘What is Social Media’ and distinguishes between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 technologies and then asks the question of why social media should be considered in training.  She provides arguments for the need for trainers to be networked.  That is, to be effective in social networking, trainers need to use the media and tools themselves, that is, be a ‘networked trainer’.

Following chapters focus on the individual social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Wikis, Blogs, and other tools such as YouTube, Skype, Virtual Classroom tools and Mashups.  What is distinctive about each chapter is that she provides the reader with instructions on how to get started in that tool and how it could be used in a training situation.  She offers engaging and interactive activities that can be used pre-class, during class or post class.

One of the highlights of the book is that she has a chapter on how to look at social learning from an organisational point of view and how the learning department may support it.  She talks about the value of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and Communities of Practice (CoP) as the new view of training and the challenges ahead regarding encouraging the change towards social learning.

I highly recommend this book for any learning and development professional who would like to learn more about social learning and how they can incoporate it into their training programs today.  You don’t need fancy software, systems or tools – much of it is free and in use today but requires a co-ordinated approach and support from management to use these tools as part of employee training.

About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
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