Monday, August 10, 2009

BBC podcast on Web 2.0 in corporate 'training' & action research in the workplace

Gillian Rose, one of our staff developers, listened this podcast from the BBC early one morning last week. The half hour provides for a good overview of the introduction of elearning into corporate training (elearning only coined in 1998!) and how it is now moving towards using social networking tools like blogging, wikis, social networking sites, twitter etc. within corporate training and knowledge creation, sharing and archiving.

Limitations and challenges are discussed along with ways in which to maximise on the use of social networking in building a participative workplace culture.

By coincidence, I was reading a chapter from the book ‘handbook of action research’. The chapter is ‘action research in the workplace: the socio-technical perspective’ by William Pasmore is readable via Google books. I was reading the chapter as an update on my understandings of action research, in preparation for teaching & sharing my classes’ perspectives on action research and it’s role in education. The chapter provides a succinct summary of the work of Lewin and Trist along with work undertaken by the Tavistock Institute on socio-technical systems.

In an effort to bring together the core principles and approaches of action research & socio-technical systems, ten paradigm shifts were proposed (most of which can be linked to how the internet & social networking as tools to assist). These include:
· Elevating quality of total human experience above measures of economic progress.
· Devising ways to make expert knowledge available (the internet has surely a major role to play here).
· Speed of learning should be used instead of costs & efficiencies to measure system performance (hmm, this one needs some thought).
· Elevate environmental & community issues above the creation of wealth as the primary political concern (we really need this one!).
· Restore human dignity as important criterion for evaluating educational, organisational & political systems (yes, & the slow movement towards sustainability is a way forward).
· Enhance diversity in scientific methods and ways of knowing.
· User control (not just the experts) for information, productive and political systems (the power of the internet to do this cannot be disregarded.
· Networking groups that have shared interest across organisational, community boundaries (again, social networking can be used for the betterment of society).
· People working globally just as important as people working as individuals & locally (internet is a tool that also must be used knowledgeably and responsibly).
· Need to explore better ways for organisations & societies to develop, release & use their capabilities(as per above, how to maximise on social networking but to also use it for improving the lives of others ).


David Ing (coevolving) said...

The "confluence of action research and socio-technical systems thinking" is interesting.

I'm looking at the chapter by Pasmore right now, and Figure 3.1 is a helpful timeline to see the coevolving between the two paths.

Selena said...

Hi David,

yes. it is one way to 'ground' action research. I have a challenge with my students when ever I introduce action research as the 'conclusions' are often (to them) ephemeral. Currently, I tend to ground action research with a strong contructivist paradigm & have also used 'activity theory' as one way to bring structure to action research.

So the work of Pasmore is another perspective & suggestion :)

Thanks for reading the post, Selena