Book Review: “Social Media for Trainers” by Jane Bozarth

Posted: May 13, 2011 in Book Reviews
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Social Media for TrainersThose in need of information need it–and need to know how to find it–in the moment, not when the training department happens to offer it. And they have learned to find that information from one another, rather than depend on traditional, slow, inefficient, and often inaccurate top-down means. It is critical, if workplace trainers intend to remain viable and credible, that they understand how to participate in the networks and use the social media tools to extend their reach and enhance the development of the employees they are charged with developing.”

So begins the book Social Media for Trainers by Jane Bozarth. She is not one to dance around topics or to hesitate to express her opinion, afraid of stepping on anyone’s toes. In this book Bozarth combines her passion for learning and meeting learners’ needs, her knowledge of effective use of a host of social media tools, and her concern for training and development professionals and their profession to offer practical advice on leveraging such tools which she rightly recognizes to be “critical to the future of training departments.”

The book begins with a chapter on the basics of what social media is, why it should be considered for use in training and how to choose the right tool for the right purpose. Like so many other sources, Bozarth cites research that indicates that the vast majority of learning happens informally–in between those rare, sporadic formal training events. Therefore, she encourages the learning professional to become a “networked trainer” who is connected with other people and with all the tools and resources that make that trainer a vital participant and resource for informal learning.

A significant portion of the book gives individual attention to particular tools such as Twitter, Facebook and similar communities, blogs, wikis and several others. With each, Bozarth provides a big picture for the tool, advantages and disadvantages of use for training, why you might consider the tool in addition to or in place of another, how to get started using it yourself and how to use it in training. It is these sections that the trainer will appreciate for their specificity and practicality.

Social Media for Trainers ends with a look at “The Bigger Picture.” This chapter addresses questions such as what is learning, what is social learning, what does social learning look like, what is knowledge management, what is the difference between how to do things versus how to get things done, and what will the future of learning in the workplace look like. The book ends with an afterword on selling and being the change to help mold an organization into a genuine culture of sharing. Recommended reading and other references lead the reader to additional resources to continue one’s learning in related subjects.

Take a moment and review Jane Bozarth’s profile on Blogger. Peruse her blog at http://bozarthzone.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter from two accounts – @JaneBozarth and @SoMe4Trainers. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Bozarthzone. Enjoy her wit and humor which I was fortunate to benefit from in person when she led some sessions at my company recently. Read Social Media for Trainers and be challenged to step up your game as a trainer to what is needed in today’s environment–meeting learners where they are and being the change agent that keeps learning and development professionals credible and relevant for tomorrow.

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