Jeff Cobb just released his most recent report on association eLearning called Learning 2.0. I have included Jeff in many of my blog posts because he is a genuine, down to earth guy who thinks deeply about the future of eLearning, especially for associations. In Learning 2.0 Jeff provides a better understanding of how professional development practitioners should view the latest trends on the Internet.

As the explosion of social networking takes hold of the internet and the dynamics of information sources change, learning has taken on a new trend of being increasingly learner-centric. Trying to navigate and comprehend these changing strategies of training and learning within organizations has become a daunting task.  In Learning 2.0 Jeff Cobb disassembles the mysteries of how learning has evolved from the previous eras of teacher-centric, institution-centric and course-centric education, and provides a blueprint for understanding how learning is taking place in today’s quickly changing world.

Seeking knowledge about a subject matter is no longer a task that requires significant investments of time or money, rather it has become something that is readily available whenever and wherever you are. Mobile and personal computing technology combined with the ability to share information easily across a common platform such as Facebook, YouTube and blogs has provided a veritable gold mine of data.

With data and information as accessible as this, taking advantage of these resources should not only be cost effective, but also can sometimes provide a more focused, situational, applicable (and actionable) understanding of a subject than a textbook can. Stories, anecdotes and even questioning and answering amongst peers can spark information-filled conversations that would otherwise go unspoken in a classroom setting. Understanding how to incorporate these strategies of learning within your organization is a key factor in keeping your organization on the bleeding edge of the subject matter that sustains it.

If you are feeling unsure of how and why social networks, microblogs and media sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube are becoming the future of learning, Learning 2.0 can help you quickly grasp the ideas that drive these phenomena. As a quick read, it is a powerful piece of literature to get you started on understanding the architecture of the learner-centric world. Professional development practitioners are no longer in control.

On a side note, Jeff and I will be speaking at The Great Ideas Conference for the Next Generation Learning track. This conference will be taking place March 13th-15th in Colorado Springs, and should incite lively discussions about how associations are using social media and informal learning in their formal programs. If you are interested in attending or learning more about the conference, click here to visit The Great Ideas Conference website.