Sunday, August 08, 2004

Learning Community at the BBC

Absolutely inspired last week by a keynote address (at the 20th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning) by Nigel Paine, head of BBC People Development. Mr. Paine showed off an impressive set of online community and learning tools, including the BBC intranet (called "Gateway"). Elegantly, he pointed to the need for learning resources and tools to be embedded in the everyday work of employees.

He also made a point about online communities that echoed something I've been thinking (and saying, to anyone who'll listen)--that you can't just expect people to show up at an online community like an intranet. You have to remember that it's the everyday transactions and interactions that will draw people and create traffic--not necessarily big ideas, invitations to discuss topics, or even resources. He used the example of arranging taxicab pick-ups at BBC--a transaction that people conduct a lot and that the intranet facilitates.

Paine's presentation started with a viewing of the short film called 405 (not a BBC production). His point was that the challenge of creating a learning community at BBC is one of keeping young, energetic, creative people engaged while they grown and learn, because if they're not engaged they're likely not going to be patient enough to hang out until they're in the role they want to be in.



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