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February 22, 2010

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Simon, you make great points. I agree with you that the distinction between knowledge management and social learning is blurring. And will continue to blurr. The goal of both is to provide a degree of order to the chaotic reality of unstructured trusted content. The difference I see is that KM sought to achieve this through the rigid workflow, process and tools. Social technology can remove these barriers and allow those with the most to gain from using the content to provide the necessary structure (through tagging, sharing, rating, etc). To your second point, I think social learning (and all social enterprise tools for that matter), are at a nascent stage and much will evolve in the coming months and years. My impression is that most companies are not adopting a single monolithic software deployment model for social media. Rather, they are taking a more Darwinian approach of working with multiple vendors who can bring enhanced value to existing business applications through deep integration of social capabilities – and then letting the user population ultimately determine the real business value. Wisdom of the crowds, as James Surowiecki would say!

I'm with you on this one, particularly about the take-up question.

Two things: I don't really see the difference between some social learning and most Knowledge Management projects. I'd be interested to see the percentage of organisations who are 'considering' social media but already have KM teams/projects.

And the great danger for social learning is the same as the hard-learned lessons of KM. The monolithic software deployment and the boxed-in knowledge repository are the greatest dangers to success - not 'lack of evidence-based proof', 'incompatibility' and the rest.

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