The New Social Learning

by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner
© 2015 by ASTD Bingham+Conner
Published by ATD Press
ISBN 978-1-56286-996-0
320 pp.
Reviewed January 2016

This second edition of a work originally published in 2010 provides a new perspective and important updates to a subject that justifies frequent updates – in fact, five years between editions is probably too long. The subtitle changed, too, to “Connect. Collaborate. Work”. Here. too, the focus has shifted from the first edition subtitled “A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media”. However, the message stays the same: organizations that embrace social media tools in order enhance their business will have a competitive advantage.

The book takes an approach of providing methods to help an organization adopt a culture of continuous learning. Since the 2004 publication of The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki, business columnist for the New Yorker, progressive businesses have recognized the value of accumulating knowledge within a department or entire organization. Surowiecki’s premise was that large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant the individual. This maybe an interesting theory but how can a leader effectively implement this collective wisdom and build a learning organization?

Bingham and Conner build on the premise that the group is smarter than talented individuals and provide a comprehensive set of methods to leverage social media tools in an organization to help it capture that collective experience. Curating the information that is gathered is daunting but this book provides practical methods to accomplish this. However, the task is neither quick nor easy – cultur4al shift never is. Commitment and structure will, however, allow for the leverage that intuitively may seem obvious.

Not only does The New Social Learning provide detailed steps and examples for success, it is supplemented by extensive notes (over 20 pages of them), an extensive bibliography, and a glossary for many of the mind-numbing terms that are part of the social media subculture.
This book is recommended for those leaders who seek continuous improvement for their organizations and make a commitment to establish a sustainable competitive advantage.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received for free from the author but a positive review was not required. The opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. This disclosure is in accordance with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 16 CFR, Part 255.