Often when I speak about learning technology, I emphasize that learning is not equivalent to training and that most learning occurs outside of highly designed environments structured to ensure that specific learning objectives are achieved. Indeed, most of the learning that occurs in our lives is generated through a contextualized exchange of information with others. We experience circumstances that create a need or a desire to learn, whether latent or apparent, and we position ourselves, whether actively or passively, to acquire knowledge, information, and experience from those who have it. Networks in general, and certainly the Web, thrive off of that dynamic. It is a dynamic that can very effectively drive not only general dissemination of knowledge, but in the process, create social change. One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon at work has always been OneWorldTV. Part of the overall OneWorld Network (not to be confused with the American Airlines frequent flyer network), OneWorldTV describes itself as
…. here to provide a space for people everywhere to communicate ideas and experiences about the issues that matter. It acts as a counterbalance to the narrow perspective presented by major broadcasting corporations, by offering an open forum for all voices to be heard.
As an open publishing platform anyone who becomes a member of the site can upload content and contribute to the debate. As a filmmaker or video activist you may have finished videos that have never seen the light of day – this is the place to get them seen. If you are attending a conference or workshop relevant to the issues being aired you could use the platform as a means to send your reports to interested parties.
Basically, OneWorldTV provides participants with guidance and an easy-to-use interface for loading video into its network. These can range from very practical pieces on topics like boat motor repair to more cerebral offerings like Video Reflections: Of Communities, Cameras and Change. It doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to see how a model like this might work for any network that would benefit from the exchange of knowledge in a visual format.
With the rise of YouTube, it is clear that video has come into its own as a workable medium for the Web, and it is not surprising to see a small boom in the number of sites that are now doing essentially what OneWorldTV has been doing for years (before anyone thought there would actually be a Web 2.0!). Take a look, for instance, at the listing of “How-to” video sites at Mashable and consider where your organization might take this model as part of its learning technology initiatives. (And if you are already doing great things with Web-based video, let me know!)