Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yammer and Training

First, I should make a disclaimer. I have no relationship with the Yammer organization or with anyone employed at Yammer. I have no self-interest in saying nice things about the tool.  In coming up with ideas for using Yammer in training, I did scan some Yammer blog entries, but that is the limit of my contact.
At TMA World, we use Yammer as an internal social networking tool, but recognize that its potential goes beyond straightforward social and business communication.
We have built what we call our One World Curriculum (OWC) consisting of learning paths in global collaboration and management skills.  Each learning path consists of the following:
  • Pre-session materials and activities, such as, e-learning, video overviews, and  assessments
  • Session materials for either virtual or face-to-face classes
  • Deployment tools and resources such as short instructional videos, discussion groups, templates

We have also built our own Portal for supporting the delivery and deployment of our training, but if we didn’t how could Yammer contribute? Here are some ideas that could be of benefit to you in your training initiatives?
  • Facilitators who teach the program could form a Yammer Group to share their experiences and tips.
  • Participants can be asked to join a dedicated Yammer Group for the training. This will help forge a learning community before the session. It will also reduce time needed in the session for introductions and logistics.
  • Based on the Yammer conversations, the facilitator could adapt the training to the specific needs expressed by participants.
  • Yammer could be used to provide links to a program overview, agenda, objectives, expectations, and pre-session materials.  The Yammer Events app can help schedule sessions and invite participants.
  • The facilitator could pose questions on Yammer to help identify the current mindsets, knowledge and skills in the group.  

During the Session
  • Small groups of participants can use Yammer for recording outputs of their brainstorming and discussion time.  These can be accessed and added to after the session; this provides those who don’t feel comfortable participating in live sessions, or those who like time to process (like me), an opportunity to contribute.
  • In virtual team exercises, Yammer could be used as a communication device between groups.
  • A participant(s) can act as a scribe during the session. His or notes would be immediately available on Yammer.
  • Various Yammer applications could be used to engage participants in the training, e.g. Pages combines real time collaboration on document editing with Yammer communication. The Polls and Ideas apps can keep things lively by identifying differences in the value given to specific topics.
  • Participants often mention favorite web sites about a topic, and links could immediately be posted on Yammer.  Favorite books or articles in the group could also be referenced.

 After the Session
  • The facilitator can keep the learning conversation going by helping maintain the training group on Yammer; participants could discuss experiences and lessons learned when deploying the training. All of the groups who have been through the training could become part of a mega exchange and support network. 
  • Any action plans created in the session could be shared on Yammer.  Group members could be encouraged to support one another in deploying them.
  • Yammer could also be used to identify totally different areas of expertise in the group and facilitate knowledge sharing.
  • Links to additional useful resources could be put on Yammer rather than add to email traffic congestion.
  • Using the Topics app, conversations can be tagged to facilitate their organization and accessibility.  

Let me know if you have other ideas and I’ll share them on this blog.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Hi Terrence!
Great article - providing some very tactical advice for trainers! Thank you for taking the time to write this out! I'm really glad you found my post useful. Please keep in touch and let us know if we can help in the future!