Friday, September 16, 2011

Blogs and Wikis relating to HPT


Many Web2.0 platforms available today provide opportunities for businesses to obtain and retain technical information.  The transition from Web1.0 to Web2.0 includes the implementation of interactive applications.  Hart (2011) distinguished Web1.0 as read-only web and Web2.0 as read-write-web.  Some of these applications include Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Myspace, blogs, wikis, and YouTube, to name only a few.  I have concentrated on two of these Web2.0 platforms, blogs and wikis, as they relate to the Human Performance Technology (HPT) field.

HPT related blogs

Numerous blogs are content driven, meaning their written for the sole purpose of publishing content related to a specific discipline.  A blog, as described by Bozarth (2010), is “an online space for posting chronologically ordered comments or ideas that can include text, photo, video, audio, and links to other sites, blogs, or documents” (p. 83).  McAfee (2009) highlighted blogs as being easy to update, easy to view or reference as a separate web page, and are permanent records.   

I searched for five blogs relating to the HPT discipline.  One such blog was Donald Clark’s Big Dog, Little Dog blog, designed to post content related to instructional design and performance (http://bdld.blogspot.com/).  A second blog is Jane Bozarth’s blog titled bozarthzone, which covers a variety of topics relating to e-learning and social media (http://bozarthzone.blogspot.com/).  A third informative blog is Donald H. Taylor’s blog dedicated to performance, learning, human capital, and talent management (http://donaldhtaylor.wordpress.com/).  A fourth blog is Harold Jarche’s blog with the mantra of ‘Life in Perpetual Beta’.  This blog is dedicated to informal learning principles in the workplace (http://www.jarche.com/).  The final blog researched was Mitch Joel’s blog titled Six Pixels of Separation – The Blog which is dedicated to marketing but covers a vast amount of information relating to social networking (http://www.twistimage.com/blog/).

One interesting and effective twist to blogs is a blog carnival.  Blog carnivals are where bloggers interested in a common content area pool together and post monthly, or quarterly, posts on a specific topic (check out my blogpost on blog carnivals at http://johnrturnerhptresource.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-carnivals.html).  The host for a blog carnival varies from month to month.  This is a great way to find other bloggers interested in the same content and it adds a new way to get your content out to different viewers (http://blogcarnival.com/bc/).

HPT related wikis

Wikis provide a different type of interaction than blogs.  A wiki is a web page where everyone with access can change the content (Bozarth, 2010).  McAfee (2009) made the point that wikis have the ability to capture and spread knowledge as well as being an effective tool supporting strongly tied coworkers.  In the area for training and development, Bozarth (2010) identified 4 ways to employ a wiki:
1.     include learner-built development of a permanent, takeaway record of the particular course session;
2.     a record of the course over various iteration or offerings across time;
3.     a compilation of FAQs or good practices for those coming into the role that the training targets;
4.     or a single project aimed at improving overall company or work-unit operations (p. 109).

One of the most popular wikis is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/).  The content on Wikipedia can be changed by anyone by selecting the ‘edit’ button next to the written content on the page you wish to change.  The ‘discussion’ tab gives you a history of what changes were made to the content, when they were made, and by whom.  A second wiki is Psychology Wiki, which provides almost anything related to psychology: learning, cognition, personality, statistics, education, and industrial (http://psychology.wikia.com/).  A third wiki is called Human Science and provides knowledge from a human perspective.  Topics covered on this wiki include development, personality, management, and spirituality, to name a few (http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki).  A fourth wiki is an index of wikis called WikiIndex (http://wikiindex.org/).  Here you can find other wikis, wiki communities, wiki ideas, and wiki people.  Another new twist to the original format of a wiki can be found at WikiAnswers.  WikiAnswers allows you to type in a question and it will give you a list of answers that have been provided by others (http://wiki.answers.com/).

Precautions

Security is always a concern with regards to corporate knowledge.  Prior to deciding which platform you want to utilize you will need to determine whether you want an open access platform or a restricted platform.  One thing to remember when deciding who you want to access these Web2.0 applications is that the more restricted you make a platform the less it takes on the features of a Web2.0 application.  The advantage of a Web2.0 application is the ability to have outsiders view the content so they can comment and add to the conversation.  If you restrict access this too much, you are defeating the purpose of using an open access platform.

Within a corporate setting specific policies and guidelines should be made available so that everyone understands what is an acceptable contribution and what is not an acceptable contribution.  It should be made clear that participants should respect the opinions of others and that all references to ‘other’ content should always be referenced or a link should be provided to the original content.  These policies and guidelines can be a working document, which can be added to as the Web2.0 platform becomes populated.  In most cases, these policies and guidelines will become self-regulated among the users of the Web2.0 platform.
  
References

Bozarth, J. (2010). Social media for trainers: Techniques for enhancing and extending learning.  San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Hart, J. (2011). Social learning handbook: A practical guide to using social media to work and learn smarter. Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies.
McAfee, A. (2009).  Enterprise 2.0: New collaborative tools for your organization’s toughest challenges.  Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
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