Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Are you a consumer or producer of knowledge?

The Learning Explosion has created the ability for all of us to not only be consumers of information, but producers and contributors as well. In a previous post, we declared that "the community is the new expert." You are part of that community, so by contributing relevant and credible insight to the discussion you are, by default, part of that expert group...that dynamic, living, rapidly evolving community.

It is with this new "community is the expert" paradigm in mind that we have started looking at how information is being shared and contributed to in various social and professional networks and communities.

For example, Ed Lines, a Marketing Executive at LINE Communications in the UK asked a timely question to the eLearning Guild group on LinkedIn a few months ago. He simply asked, "Have you ever used YouTube to teach yourself something?" Well, since then the community (or group) has contributed 168 comments. Ed now has a robust list of "things" people have learned to do on YouTube. (If you are curious about his findings, he shared them on his blog.)

Like Ed, blogs have become a way for experts in their field to share insights and knowledge with the community. But you should not stop at just reading the post itself, because if you subscribe to the belief that the community if the expert" you should also read some of the comments. In many instances these are as instructive and valuable as the post itself. Obviously, some posts are not worth the read and should be ignored. But for the most part the community comes through for you. If not, turn to one of the many other communities that will produce the knowledge you seek.

But do not be content to just consume knowledge. Seek opportunities to contribute to the knowledge base in a community. No matter what your field of study or career track, you have relevant experience that will benefit someone else who has not had those experiences yet. Be a producer of knowledge, a member of the expert community. Continue to feed the growing Learning Explosion.


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