Bruns: So close, and yet so far

This is the official reaction to our last reading in the Bruns book. The thing that drives me crazy about Bruns is he gets so close to getting it right….but then he just goes off the rails a bit.

Our last assigned chapter was titled “Educating Produsers, Produsing Education: Produsage and the Academy”.

Not everyone can be a produser in every learning situation

This is the first place where I think Bruns goes off the rails. I agree that we need to teach people how to find, read, engage, evaluate, and consume new media that is being produced. I want to explore this more in a minute.

But do learners really have time to become produsers in every learning situation? My audiences certainly don’t. They expect us to help them pinpoint the information that they need to do their jobs.

That is actually getting harder, because of the scope of information being created because of “produsage” activites. Anyone can blog about our products, anyone can create screencasts and demos. Our learners don’t have the time to even filter much of this information. Maybe our role as educators is helping learners learn how to set up their own Personal Learning Environment, so they are able to sort through the massive amounts of information available to them.

Maybe we need to act as a “Learning GPS”, pointing learners to the critical must-have information to learn what is needed to get the job done. Here’s how this GPS we design would work:

  • Fastest Available Route:
    This would be the fastest path to getting the information you need to do your job. This would be the learning we design, with all the official learning objectives we have now. If you need to know what is supported, and what is required to do your job, get on the turnpike and go.
  • Route Avoiding Highways:
    We should start providing alternative routes to that same goal that may take a little longer to navigate. These routes could meander through all the “produsage” things that are produced by everyone: podcasts, blogs, screencasts, discussion boards, communities, email distribution lists, etc. It will take you longer to get to the desired destination, but you will get lots more of the local flavor and have a better appreciation of the nuances of the topic.
  • Avoid Road Construction:
    I develop technology courses, and there are always several ways to do the same thing. Sometimes, not all of the ways are supported by my company. This information is spelled out in the official training we have, but if you are taking the back roads you may not realize that some of the “prodused” information may take you down a path that is not supported. This gets into information literacy, which I’ll cover more in a minute.

Some colleagues and I actually entered this idea in EMC’s Innovation Conference. We didn’t get picked, and I think one of the reasons could be that people thought this already exists. You have FriendFeed and other aggregators, isn’t that the same thing? No, it isn’t. I’m talking about designing an area so people are able to create their own learnscapes, and part of that learnscape are the developed learning objectives that are directly tied to their job roles. That does not exist right now, especially not in an designed electronic format.

Information Literacy

Here is a place where I can agree with Bruns – I think there is a need to teach our learners how to consume information in a world where anyone can create content.

Think about that. If anyone can create content, and share it online, what does that mean for our learners?

  • Information Overload
    There is too too much info out there. We need to teach folks how to scan and sort through this massive amount of information to get to the nuggets that will help them learn what they need to know to get work done.
  • Relevancy
    This is tied to the idea of “Avoiding Road Construction” in the Learner GPS. How do you teach learners to evaluate if what they are reading or watching has been produced by someone that knows what they are talking about? How do you know the information is relevant and trustworthy?
  • Information Production
    What if the learners benefit from producing their own version of the official learning objectives? I know I always have learn more from explaining what I know to others, that is  probably why I am in education. I also believe blogging is a important tool for reflection and deeper learning. Maybe its time for us to provide areas that our learners feel comfortable creating their own learning objects.

This is where corporate L&D is heading in my opinion. Its up to us as learning professionals to help people situate themselves in this sea of information so that they can learn what they need to learn to get their job done.

I think Bruns needs to work in a corporate L&D setting before he writes another book. Come see how people really learn, come see what its like to work on a quarter-by-quarter basis. See what its like to support people who have no time to get their work done, let alone become content creators. I also think he needs a better editor, the run-on sentence horror should not be repeated!!

One thought on “Bruns: So close, and yet so far

  1. Pingback: Lessons learned from my Web 2.0 class: we need something NEW | Adventures in Corporate Education

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