Last week, Blackboard attended the 2011 Chief Learning Officer magazine Symposium hosted by CLO Media. Entitled Learning Evolution, Alignment, Agility, and Adaptability; the event focused on how social learning has transitioned from a cutting-edge technology to an expected medium amongst learners. It was not long ago that people were wary of “electronic” mail. Many corporate stakeholders pushed back on this emerging tool and the Internet altogether. Looking back, it almost seems absurd that anyone ever objected to the idea. Today, not only do we regularly use email but we also, as learners, are taking advantage of public forums online to absorb everything we can – from our daily news to backchannel discussions from conferences like the CLO Symposium.

The Symposium certainly practiced what it preached. Upon checking in, attendees were clearly directed to use social media tools to engage online simultaneously while learning offline.  Many conferences attempt to create a hashtag to get the conversation started, but few succeed in creating chatter that lasts for days. The #CLOSYM conversation kicked off right away and continued throughout the event. When a Twitter hashtag like this picks up steam, it enables others to learn what is happening even if they are not present at the event. This is the essence of social learning today – make engagement seamless for learners no matter who they are, where they are, or through which medium they want to learn.

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