Being a geek often inspires people

Recently I’ve been working with the Workforce Development team here at the council and have posted here and here about the focus of that work.

However what has been interesting is that when I speak to people about how I use social tools and how they are “core” to my daily work pattern, I am perceived as a bit of a “geek” and rightly so…I mean not many people across the council blog, or tweet or use Linked-In Groups, Google Apps etc as well as some of the mobile based tools you can get either for iPhone or Android phones to help you stay in touch or consume and digest information and content.

The difference today was that the colleagues I was working with were really engaged in hearing about how and why I use particular tools. After that the comment they made was not the common response I get which is usually something like:

that is very geeky.


where do you find the time to mess about with all these social things.

Instead the response I received was:

Wow, I should really start using some of these tools myself more, I didn’t really see those tools be used like that. You are really a model of good practice that others should learn from.

Sometimes even being a bit geeky is a good thing and one day you will start to become less geeky and then eventually mainstream…I think we are starting to edge towards promoting and encouraging a new behaviour and culture here which I believe will help the organisation cope with the change.



Can you help? – Personal and Self Directed Learning tool

I’m working with and supporting the Workforce Development Team here in Devon on creating a framework to help staff support their learning using a Self Directed Learning Style.


An estimated 70 percent of adult learning is self-directed learning (Cross 1981). Self-directed learning has been described as “a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others,” to diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals, identify resources for learning, select and implement learning strategies, and evaluate learning outcomes (Knowles 1975).

Self-directed training includes the learner initiating the learning, making the decisions about what training and development experiences will occur, and how. The learner selects and carries out their own learning goals, objectives, methods and means to verifying that the goals were met.

Probably the most important skill for today’s rapidly changing workforce is skills in self-reflection. The highly motivated, self-directed learner with skills in self-reflection can approach the workplace as a continual classroom from which to learn.

Supervisors and employees who work together to accomplish formal, self-directed learning in the workplace also accomplish continuous learning for continued productivity and learning.

As part of this framework, I suggested how we might look at Social Media and other social tools to help compliment and support this. The idea I came up with was to display it as a circle, then around the edges have headings relating to a particular activity.   – then starting from the centre – (the very centre currently being our intranet which is the gateway to our online training and elearning) you move outwards to professional based sites/sources – then on to semi professional and finally to the more socially based sites/sources.

Some examples of what I mean are listed below:

  • Professional = CIPD, Socitm, BCS, CIPR
  • Semi Professional = Communities of Practice,  Linked-In Groups, Podcasts
  • Social = Google Groups,  Twitter, Facebook Groups, You Tube

Some will naturally cross over into more than one category but I think that is ok, after all it is a visual tool to help someone see the big picture when it comes to their learning.

I’ve included a blank template version below as i’m after some help and comments about how to make it better and more inclusive, without over complicating it at the same time.

I’ve created a google form to capture what can be included in this tool and would very much welcome your help in identifying the types of sites and networks you currently use to support personal and self directed learning.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.