Saturday, November 8, 2008

Learning the SuperCool School Way

Lately, I’ve become fascinated with learning the SuperCool School way. That is, allow participants to initiate the topics they want to learn about. Other participants interested in learning that topic too can then join the request. Once enough “seats” have been filled, the teacher position opens and anyone willing and/or able to teach does.

Obviously this is a different paradigm than the norm. Generally speaking, most models dictate what will be taught and who will teach it, then participants are granted access (or mandated) to attend. The advantage I see to using the SuperCool School method in the workplace is in situations where the department usually responsible for providing training cannot efficiently offer a training solution. For example, a relatively small group of people are interested in learning how blogging can be used on the job. If there isn’t a strong business need for a course such as this, most training departments would be unwilling to extend the effort required to offer the class. But if someone else is willing to teach, and an interest group is willing to attend, why stop them?

So, now that you’ve gotten a little context for what I’m talking about, I’ll get to the pitch. What I’ve been trying to do over the last couple weeks is figure out a way to apply what I’ve learned from researching SuperCool School to my own workplace. So at work this last week, I, and a couple other people, came up with the idea to use a hybrid approach as a means of organizing the many lunch-time brown-bag sessions. The approach we’re going to try is very much like a newspaper’s classified ads section. It offers a single place for people offering goods and a place for people seeking goods.

What we’re hoping to do is to get other people using our internal social media software to request and respond to learning opportunities in our organization. I’m not sure how realistic this is, but I’m hoping for the best. Hopefully, I'll follow this post with positive results as we move forward. Till then.


Steve said...

I love the concept of a Corporate "supercool school." Corporate training is a lot like traditional bookstores - they have a finite amount of space and resources, and therefore, can only offer the classes for the masses. They can only offer those classes that will benefit the most people. There's currently no vehicle for taking advantage of the "Long Tail." I see the Supercool School concept in corporate America functioning like - it provides a vehicle for people to enroll in and teach classes that may only be of interest to a few people once or twice a year. This ability to self-organize for professional development is something that's sorely lacking at the corporate level.

Steli said...

Hey! Great Post!!! You can ping me at steli at supercoolschool dot com if you up for a quick chat with us!!!