Jay Cross on Informal LearningAs a follow-up to yesterday's post on facilitating informal learning, I'd like to call attention to thoughts on the subject that consultant Jay Cross, offered in the same October 2008 issue of Chief Learning Officer as contains the article I highlighted yesterday.
Cross provides a Before-and-After case study of knowledge management and informal learning at CGI, a Canadian IT outsourcing firm.
The Before situation was one of overly elaborate knowledge management infrastructure that didn't work.
The After situation was what CGI dubbed "Internet Inside," an enhanced intranet constructed internally using mostly open-source software. The purpose of Intranet Inside, which has a distinct Web 2.0 flavor, is to consolidate and make easily accessible the collective intelligence of CGI employees located in the 16 countries in which the company has offices.
As Cross explains,
CGI has dozens of communities of a hundred or so like-minded professionals. Groups have formed around topics such as Java, enterprise architecture, banking, insurance, dot-net and business intelligence. ...Presumably, a further phase of informal learning at CGI will involve helping employees effectively tap into the expertise so identified.
Admission is by invitation only, limiting participation to like-minded individuals and keeping the groups to workable size. Participation in a community is based on need and qualifications.
... Every item that is shared as news is screened by a knowledgeable person before distribution to the group. ...
CGI has begun tagging all dialogues, not just by topic, but also by roles of the participants. A few years hence, CGI will have sufficient information to identify in-house experts based on past discussion.