Lately it seems that the only time you hear about Twitter is when a politician uses it to go on a meltdown or in relation to celebrity gossip. Given that, it’s sometimes hard to remember Twitter can be really useful.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate Twitter into your learning and development programs.
We all know that e-learning and distance learning with dispersed participants is different from traditional classroom learning; it’s not like you can just lean over and ask a question of a classmate who is in another province or country. One way to combat this is to make a hashtag for your training program and then encourage learners to post their thoughts or questions to Twitter, using that same hashtag. This accomplishes several things:
- Participants can answer each other’s questions. This can lighten up the workload of busy facilitators and fosters constructivist learning.
- Participants from across the organisation can introduce themselves. This can help create a sense of belonging and familiarity between branches or business units.
- Facilitators can monitor conversations. This can help with future training or allow for intervention via Twitter to help participants.
Chattering with the stars
Another great way to use Twitter is for Q and A sessions with guests. Sometimes experts are too busy to join a training session via video but can answer a few questions via Twitter. In a conference session I lead, a journalist working for a national media outlet talked about the use of social media in her career. Getting her to join via video was not an option, so she joined us on Twitter on breaks from her morning radio job.
The opposite can also be true. Sometimes you or your staff can’t spare the time, or budget, to travel to a conference. Most conferences either have an official or participant created hashtag that you can follow. It won’t be the same as being there but you can pick up information you would otherwise miss. The recently wrapped up International Society for Technology in Education conference is a great example. The hashtag #ISTE2016 was full of interesting conversations and links.
Finding your flock
Finally, one of the ways you and your employees can keep up with what’s happening in your area of activity is via tweetchats. These scheduled conversations are organized around topics or industries and give you access to some of the top professionals in your field. For example, #lrnchat is a weekly talk on education that’s been going since April of 2009 and brings together instructional designers from across the world. Do a search for your industry or topic online, you might be surprised by what you find.
So, there you have it, four great ways to use Twitter for training and development purposes that don’t involve finding out about Kim Kardashian’s new shoes or a politician’s latest gaff.
Some Twitter terms:
Hashtag: The symbol you see at the end of some tweets. It looks like #ThisIsAHashtag. Keep them short. Keep them snappy.
Retweet: When someone likes a Tweet and reposts or retweets it.
Like: What it says on the label. Like it? Click the heart button.
TweetChat: A scheduled (usually weekly or monthly) chat about a specific industry or topic. These either feature guest “speakers” who present something or answer questions, or a set of predetermined topics that all participants discuss.