Saturday, February 09, 2013

Jane Hart: Me Jane ‘tools and social media guru’ in the learning jungle!

Jane Hart was awarded the Colin Corder Award last week, and although I honestly have no idea who Colin Cordon is, if anyone deserves an award in this sector it is Jane! Jane Hart, like Jay Cross, has taken her inspiration from the fundamental truth that most people, most of the time, learn most - informally. Yet most learning professionals, mostly deliver fixed courses at fixed times. Jane has always attempted to free us from the course mentality into a more dynamic model of learning.
But Jane is not all talk, she’s all action and has been incredibly generous with her research and knowledge. Best known for her website, the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, which is packed full of useful free advice, she has, since 2005, provided a well respected set of free resources for the learning community.
Tools
Jane’s regular survey’s on tools in learning is a useful way of polling the industry to feedback useful data on what’s new, useful and practical in learning tools. Her Top 100 Tools in Learning has proved very popular. Not content with just collating the list she also provides a useful Practical Guide to the use of these 100 tools. These quick guides show you how to use the tools for your personal learning, professional development or the production of education and training. Although tools in themselves are only a small part of the solution, as you don’t make a novelist by simply giving someone a word processor, it is important to identify the most used and best of breed tools.
These are the Top Ten from her most recent 2012 list:
Dropbox
I have listed these as it shows another string to Jane’s considerable bow. Note that most (not all) of these tools are social media tools or have a social media angle. She has been tireless in her recognition and promotion of social media in learning.
Social media
Jane was among the first to recognise the important role that social media would play in the learning landscape. She then went on to collate a whole raft of resources to help others understand, choose and implement solutions within their organisations. Her Social Learning Centre is yet another useful resource. . I highly recommend her How to use Twitter for Social Learning, How to use Facebook for Social Learning and How to use social media in formal learning online resources.
Jane and learning
More than all of the above is her underlying effort to increase the productivity of learning.  Jane is far from being just a tools wonk or social media evangelist. When it comes to the jungle of real organisations, she’s more Tarzan than Jane. Her understanding of learning in general, cultural barriers and real implementation is considerable. She gives excellent talks and webinars on how to get this done, in a practical fashion, within your organisation. This is all about improvements, productivity and performance.
Conclusion
Jane is one of those people who has focus. Rather than trying to be all things to all people she has mined a single, rich vein, which happened to be one of the most important developments in the last 50 years in learning; the recognition that informal learning, social media and the use of technology tools will give us huge gains in learning. Lastly, and this is important folks - she is also a terribly nice person!

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