I know what you might be thinking, “I don’t even know where to begin with Twitter.” I understand where you are coming from. I was of the same mindset when I decided to join Twitter in May 2009. However, there is a wealth of knowledge, resources, and great people around the world using Twitter, from which you can learn and share ideas. Placing all fears aside, here are some tangible ways to leverage Twitter for your learning and development needs.
Twitter is a great place to learn and identify research for your learning and development efforts. Over the years, I have conducted research from information I found via Twitter to develop better instructional design methodologies, overall learning strategies, designing better evaluation plans, as well as learning technology vendor comparisons and reviews, just to name a few. Now keep in mind that not everything you read may be accurate, so do your due diligence to ensure the validity of the sources and message. A great way to start your research would be to import your contacts (from Outlook, Gmail, etc.) into Twitter so that you may see which of your contacts are already there and begin following their accounts to see what they may be sharing.
Communities of Practice (TweetChats)
TweetChats are a great way to get like-minded professionals together to discuss a topic. From a learning perspective, trainers may choose to use TweetChats as follow-up discussions to live or e-learning training events. It allows participants to share ideas and answer facilitated questions from a moderator in real-time. Focused on a singular topic, these serve as a great way to facilitate information sharing from individuals, regardless of location. Using tools such as Tweetchat.com, you can easily keep up with the conversation via a stream of commentary that may be paused (for you only), giving you ample time to respond, and then catch back up with the conversation.
Continuing Education (Lists)
The unlimited amount of learning potential from Twitter is one of the greatest reasons I have been using it for the past 5+ years. During this time, I completed my CPLP designation from the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), for which I was able to find resources and information that I used as sources for my Work Product submissions. In addition, I was able to identify valuable companies and individuals that would have a substantial impact on my learning. Some of whom I follow on Twitter are as follows (My Full Training Resources List):
- Trish Uhl (known as @trishuhl on Twitter), Founder of Owl’s Ledge (CPLP prep materials and coaching) – She is one of the first recipients of the CPLP designation and coaches professionals around the world.
- Training Magazine (known as @TrainingMagUS)
- ASTD Resources:
- Juana Llorens (Known as @ASTDLearningDev) – Also manages the ASTD Communities of Practice on Yammer
- ASTD National (@ASTD)
- ASTD Sacramento (@ASTDSac)
- TDMag (@TDMag)
If you are concerned about joining the conversation and immediately participating on Twitter (for those new to the platform), it also serves as a great listening device. I encourage you to create an account, start searching for individuals and companies of interest, what they are posting, and learn. I’m always open to share ideas and help others, so feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.