I just got my new issue of T&D in the mail yesterday. Since I have turned in my final report for this semester, I was able to read through some of the articles.
One that caught my eye was by Anders Gronstedt. The title of the article is “All Aboard! The Web 3D Train Is Leaving the Station“, and it’s about how the future of learning development is all about doing. He even gives a nice shout-out about my company’s use of podcasts and vodcasts.
I knew I was going to have to write a post when I saw the section in the article labeled “The bureaucratic class”. After mentioning that over two thirds of companies block social networking sites, and even more companies than that block Second Life, he goes on to make this suggestion to learning professionals:
For this reason, it’s critical that you don’t let your legal or IT departments intimidate you. The bureaucratic class in your company—in IT, legal, human resources, and other functions—are frequently vested in the status quo instead of change, in the past rather than the future, and in preventing mistakes instead of creating opportunities. If left unchecked, they can suck the life out of a company and frighten away a generation of digital natives.
Seriously? First of all, let’s talk a little bit about Second Life. In my experience, it’s not an application that can be integrated into an enterprise environment. I tried, our IT team has tried. The administrative overload of using this application is incredible, not to mention the resources needed to build and maintain learning environments in Second Life. Maybe this is the REAL reason so many companies block Second Life from their networks.
Secondly, to introduce these collaborative tools into a work environment takes lots of collaborating, convincing, educating, and patience. Using these tools in many environments requires a cultural shift in the way people use, share, and seek information, and you will have to build lots of bridges to convince everyone to start funding and supporting these tools. Alienating functional groups such as IT or HR by treating them as the enemy is not going to help with any bridge building efforts that will give you the buy-in needed to get everyone on this 3D Train.
Just to be clear, I’m not in any way discouraging the use of new collaborative tools. I believe the use of these tools have to be tied back to the business. This means the benefits of these tools must be greater than the cost of supporting them.
Am I the only one who thinks we should try and ally with groups like IT and HR?