Farmer’s concepts of Social Presence and Cognitive Presence brought to my mind aspects of a healthy work environment. Now this might be asking for too much, but I wondered if there were any posts out there which noted the need for increased horizontal and vertical methods of interpersonal communication, or possibly training/quality control. From what many of my post graduate buds have told me, much of what they learned in college, in terms of specific skills such as mastering a certain program, was outdated or not used and thus tossed to the side for corporate training sessions, or short periods of mentoring. If this is to be the case, Farmer’s article based on advancing online education, and creating a public conversational space for individual growth and skill mastering, seemed well versed for the workplace.
So, I am not sure how, but I found myself in an archived Internet Time Blog post from 2004, written by Jay Cross, which dealt with organizational training, and the framework to streamline it. Below are the annotated highlights which I feel directly address Farmer’s article.
Take for instance the next two quotes from ITB (Internet Time Blog). Major points being that the information age has drastically changed the manner in which learning outcomes prepare students, as well as the effect the information age has had on what can be considered capital.
“Many of the basic building blocks of today’s learning solutions were developed more than fifty years ago when the world was barely entering the information age.”
“It is now clear that in the 21stcentury economy, 80% of a company’s market value is not determined by cash, buildings or equipment, but by intangible factors such as intellectual and human capital.”
Consider here that human capital, the intangible 80%, has the ability to quickly gain skills, increase productivity, and provide an employer-if they deserve it-with a seasoned professional. To me this is obviously applicable to any job. As you work, you get better, you learn skills, and hopefully get paid more for it. BUT, in a large business, what are the tools which are used to support the fledgling worker who may be surrounded with a new set of technological tools. Farmer’s approach to online instruction seems to be a clear cut fit “…in terms of the development of a community of inquiry and of Dewey’s and Freire’s insistaence on the importance of communication and the role of the individual in the experience” (95).
Also taken from the website. Looking over the break down of the intangible aspects of human capital what I notice is a heavy reliance on communication skills, and the ability to utilize up to date methods of technological networking within and beyond the work space. My copy and paste skills are rudimentary at best. The table which is posted on Internet Time Blog’s website (link above) has what one would expect from an information table; you know, lines and stuff. I sadly could not get them to transfer over, but everything does line up the same, even though some of the words are fused.
Table 1: Types of Intangible Capital
|Type of Intangible Capital||Description||Examples|
|Human Capital||The collective knowledge, experience and attributes of employees that they choose toinvest in their workplace.||Tacit knowledgeEducationWork-related know-howWork-related competencies|
|Structural Capital||The codified knowledge thatresides within an organization||Intellectual propertyMethodologies and policiesPatentsCopyrights|
|Social Capital||The relationships within the organization to facilitate thetransfer of knowledge||Mentor-mentee relationshipCollegial networksTeam relationshipsKnow-who|
|Organizational Capital||The company’s external relationships.||License agreementsDistribution channelsCustomersBrand credibility|
For my next series ITB quotes:
“The framework for organizational learning identifies factors that are necessary for an organization to continue to develop and grow its intangible capital. When these factors operate together and synergistically, a learning culture is created that perpetuates itself and nurtures continued growth throughout the enterprise.”
“There are two levels to the framework. The first is the contribution level and this refers to what individuals, teams and groups do to develop new knowledge, processes, approaches and products. When successful, it is the outcome of work and jobs and the foundation of organizational learning; if it does not exist, the organization begins to become stale. The second is the multiplier level that expands and magnifies contributions throughout the organization to more people, faster and more effectively. It is this level that can lead to a sustaining and vibrant learning culture.”
I thought about finding quotes from Farmer to illustrate these concepts, but then I decided that anyone could open up their book, close their eyes, point, and within an inch or two I am betting that the sentiments of: a learning culture which is self driven, the need for group and individual conversation or contribution, and the central node concept of Farmer’s online course (multiplier level) or the inter-linking/commenting of student blogs, will be brought up.
“· Systems — Technology can both facilitate and amplify organizational learning. The amount of information, people and structural capital within organizations is immense and without some way to systematize these resources, they are difficult to access, let along share and leverage. Technology has usually been used for communication platforms (Intranets), training delivery (e-learning), collaboration (web meetings and business platforms) and knowledge management. Problems arise, however, when organizations expect technology alone to drive organizational learning (my emphasis added). It can’t and it hasn’t, despite the power of these systems and what vendors suggest. Poorly constructed technical systems can also impede organizational learning.”
This excerpt from ITB’s post reminds me of Farmer’s insistence that there be a community of learning and inquiry. More specifically, the usefulness of a discussion board, and the creation of online conversations to ensure that the technology alone does not drive one’s learning, but rather provides ample opportunities to experiment and consider the feedback or experience of others.