The Big Question of the month at the Learning circuits blog is: “How do we break down the organizational walls when it comes to learning”. If you shorten the question to: “How do we break down organizational walls” the question becomes even bigger. Breaking down organizational walls has everything to do with culture. Sharing information and giving access to your knowledge is not something that is in the DNA of most companies, not even within their own walls, let alone outside the walls of the organization. I don’t think that you can break down the walls for e-Learning if your company has a very “closed” culture. Culture will set the boundaries for you.
Change will only come if there is a need for it. So what benefit would organizations have if they change their culture and open up? I would say everything. I don’t think there is one organization in this world that exist solely for their own purpose and doesn’t have to deliver value to other organizations. So we need to interact more with other companies, sharing information and learning from each other is a necessity like oxygen is.
There is a story of an US based gold company, their known gold reserve was running at its end end they where not able to find new gold. There must valuable asset where all their maps and geological information. In stead of keeping them secret, they put all information they had on the web, offering a reward for anyone who gave a tip that led to finding gold. It was a huge success.
This is a nice example of breaking down organizational walls and the profits that will come from this. We need radical changes like that to really benefit from all the possibilities web 3.0 will offer us. This isn’t limited to the field of e-Learning, but let’s take a closer look at learning as an example.
Today we have all the facilities you can imagine to work together, learn together, exchange knowledge, information and learn from each other. In principle there are no real technical limitations. Of course, we can use even better software, or increased internet speed, but the fact is that everything you need is already there. The only reason for organizations not to use the web, social media, communities of practice and all other things available, is that you (or your organization) don’t want it. So if you want to break down the learning walls, you have to change your company’s culture. People always say that changing culture is the most difficult thing to do, but on the other hand if you change, your organizations has changed.
If your organizations wants to open up, e-Learning is an excellent place to start with. As said all facilities are there and there are great advantages to gain working and learning together with customers, suppliers, partners and even competitors. Nothing is so convincing as a success story. So tell your organization you know how to break down the walls and ask your organization: “Why haven’t we done that yet?”