Book Club Readings: Learning and Development in our Connected, Online and Social Workplace

18 Jun

I was asked to provide readings for Education Northwest’s book club this month, and to moderate a discussion. The whole process was fun, interesting and revealing. I thought I’d share our reading list here, along with my notes of talking points on each.

Joseph Stiglitz: Creating a Learning Society

Clark Quinn: Revolutionize Learning & Development: Performance and Innovation Strategy for the Information Age, chapters 5 (“Our Organizations”) and 6 (“Our Technology”).

Harold Jarche: Organizational Learning in the Network Era (blog post, 29 May 2014)

Jane Hart: 4 Models of Social Workplace Learning (blog post, 12 June 2014)

Jane Bozarth: Show Your Work: The Payoffs of Working Out Loud, chapter 4 (What is Knowledge? And Why Do People Share it?)

Talking Points for Book Club:

  • Heady times to be in organizational learning and online knowledge
  • Confluence of organizational theory and tech tools
  • A line from global-economic to very personal: Learning is the issue of our time (society, organization, personal)
  • Learning is NOT separate from working: learning is process, practice
  • It’s hard to share (articulate) what you know
  • Structural barriers we may not even be aware of block learning
  • All knowledge is personal; all learning is social


If incremental changes impact societal development, learning drives the increments. How do we promote learning in our society? NOT scholastic learning, or formal learning, but culturally adaptive and learning.

Intellectual property can block societal learning because it prevents the free flow of information. Innovation is reduced. Owning vs. Sharing economy.

Impeding learning can lead to lower standards of living.


Premise: Organizations need to be constantly adaptive – never in state but constantly changing, growing.

Clark Quinn's great new book.

Clark Quinn’s great new book.

People need the power to pursue their hunches, expand their roles, self-improve: Remove structural barriers.

Social networks to collaborate, cooperate and both –> coherent organization.

PKM and KM : It’s a practice! (Personal Knowledge Mastery and Knowledge Management)

Traditional organizations have hierarchical information & HR structures which are barriers to being a learning organization.

Three keys to a learning Organization (fig. 5.2)

  1. Supportive Learning Environment
  2. Concrete Learning Processes and Practices
  3. Leadership that Reinforces Learning

Technology is evolving through use, not through technological innovation itself.

Having separate platforms for formal learning and social learning is a false divide. (top of page 60)


Structural impediments to learning must be removed.

Interesting tension: Global, connected, mobile vs. local, personal, contractual.

The only knowledge we can truly manage is my own. How do I feed my knowledge to the organization? And how does the organization nourish me?


We are terrible at telling people what we know: Hard to articulate, quantify.

Some hoard knowledge because it is the only thing they own: Afraid for their jobs, other’s judgments, lack of professional freedom.

Share is the new save! Work out loud.


Social learning needs facilitation, and framework. There are different types of social learning and each needs a slightly different type of hands-on experience.

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