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L&D Professionals Should Crowdsource Learning

From time to time, there comes along a tool that is so powerful yet so accessible that everyone – from the President of the United States to the most scrappy of start-up CEOs to the most humble human beings found in the most remote corners of the world – can all use in order to amplify their voices.  


I’ve written before about the value in expanding one’s personal learning network (PLN) through active participation in tweet chats and simply by following or interacting with other L&D professionals. (Here are 18 people to follow if you’re looking for thought leaders to connect with!)

Crowdsource Learning on Twitter and LinkedIn

Over the past week, I tried to crowdsource learning for the first time (I’m not sure what took me so long to try this… maybe I’ve always been anxious about how embarrassing it would be if I put a question out there and nobody answered it). It was pretty cool to see thoughts come in from all corners of the globe (literally).

On Tuesday, I’ll find myself in Williamsburg, VA, where I’ll be facilitating a presentation on how to build a training program/department from scratch. I had plenty of ideas on what I wanted to present – the content – but that was kind of the problem. I had plenty of ideas. What was the best way to narrow them down?

And now that I was thinking about it, what if I was missing something important?

I decided to throw a question up on social media – I used both Twitter and LinkedIn to ask my question:

I got a handful of responses from LinkedIn, but I ended up getting a couple dozen responses on Twitter. And there were some quality responses – some of which validated what I was already thinking, some of which I hadn’t included in my original plans but realized I certainly needed them, and some of which I’d never thought of before. Here are several examples:

This was such a valuable exercise for me because suddenly I didn’t feel like I was sitting alone in front of my computer, trying to come up with new ideas. I could get outside of my own head, outside of my own world and hear what others had to say about the topic.

How Will You Crowdsource Learning?

The fact is that he’s leveraging a medium (Twitter) that is available to many of us if we so choose. It offers access to worlds far beyond our desks, our offices, our companies and even our countries, and allows us to hear what others think.

Whether you’re looking to engage with others in a more formal sense (organized tweet chats) or simply looking to throw a question out to the universe and see what kinds of answers come back, I’d recommend giving Twitter a whirl.

Now it’s your turn – is there a tool or medium you’ve found helpful when you need some assistance getting ideas? Have you tried to crowdsource learning? Let’s hear what you’re using in the comment section!

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Brian Washburn
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