Jane Bozarth likes social media. She lives on Twitter and Facebook whether online at a computer or connected through an app on a mobile device. Her latest book is Social Media for Trainers. Bozarth will be at DevLearn, November 3-5, so we thought it would be good to interview her as a preview to such an industry leading conference, hosted by the eLearning Guild.
We had an eclectic conversation hitting topics from book publishing to SCORM to the future of the LMS, but she kept coming back to social media. Like me, she is amazed and frustrated by all of the questions about companies blocking social media sites. In her work for the State of North Carolina, she is supposed to be using social Media. North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue used Twitter to update her state on Hurricane Earl in early september. The people and companies who have embraced social media are moving fast and finding innovative ways to sue the tools. In our interview, we focused on social media for training…and for other related business purposes.
eLearning Weekly Interview: with Dr. Jane Bozarth, Elearning Coordinator, North Carolina, USA, Office of State Personnel
eLW: In 2005 you published the book E-Learning Solutions on a Shoestring and now your latest book is Social Media for Trainers. Is there a common theme or themes with these books?
JB: I work for state government so will always face working with a limited budget and limited access to support staff like graphic artists or Flash experts. A common theme in my books as well as my work is making good use of free and low-cost tools, and figuring out ways of doing things yourself.
eLW: Do you think social media tools serve better for classroom training or for online elearning?
JB: I think that’s something of a false distinction. Social media tools are useful anywhere we want to incorporate collaborative learning activities.
eLW: The social media tools for the classroom are great for collaboration, so do you see or want to see those tools used for other aspects of corporate work?
JB: We know that the preponderance of workplace learning occurs not in the classroom, but in those spaces between formal training events. Social media tools can provide excellent means of supporting social in-work learning. They are wonderful for performance support, mentoring and coaching, and peer-to-peer learning.
JB: Yes, but I think that depends on workers, managers, and organization finally recognizing that most of what we call “learning” does not happen during training.
JB: I am online, via a laptop or my iPhone, pretty much during every waking hour. I keep Facebook and Twitter up all day but don’t post much during work hours. I try to stay on top of blog feeds but find I often just have to make an hour a week to review everything. I’m also a Googler, though I find that I am now using Twitter more for getting answers.
JB: I worked in retail and in the standardized-test business for a little while, but nearly my whole work life has been spent in state government. I was with NC Health and Human Services and the NC Justice Department before moving to my current job in the central personnel office.
JB: A mega show at Carter-Finley stadium with Aerosmith, Van Halen and Poco when I was 16. I went to the Asylum Street Spankers farewell Raleigh show night before last. The last big show was Heart a few months back.
JB: Oh man, that depends on what I’m doing. Lately it’s Netflix since I can now stream movies via iPhone. I like Shazam for music ID. For travel I love Gate Guru. I like Photogene for editing pictures. For mischief I love Fake Call. I like Angry Birds and Rolando. I also prefer the Facebook mobile app to the desktop view.
eLW: What is your favorite sports team?
JB: How many innings are there in football?
eLW: What was your most unusual job?
JB: Running an upscale toy store.
JB: I’m at DevLearn 2010 in November, Training 2011 in San Diego, the 2011 Learning Technologies Exhibition in London, and the eLearning Guild conference in March. My speaking schedule’s on my blog at www.bozarthzone.com. And folks can always find me on Twitter @janebozarth or on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Bozarthzone .
Eric is the Managing Editor of eLW Mag. He works as an elearning specialist focused on iPad apps and media strategy. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their five children.