June 21, 2009
In early June, Sun Microsystems announced the Sun Learning Exchange. This is a commercial offering that borrows directly from Sun's own experiments, experience, and expositions on learning. We've written about this in a Forrester report: Tap The Potential Of "YouTube For The Enterprise," and now it's available to others.
Sun's CTO of Learning, Charles Beckham, has tapped his experience as a Java entrepreneur (he was part of the team that built one of the first J2EE application servers, NetDynamics) and bent it to the challenges of on-the-job learning. In an interview with Charles last fall, we came away convinced that his just-enough, wisdom of the crowds, power of video approach to learning was important.
Three things anchor the Sun Learning Exchange:
- The power of all employee-generated media, including video, audio, and blogs.
- A learning platform that is minimally invasive and maximally open to social contribution.
- A metric on social contributions to drive participation.
It's too early to tell how compelling and successful this will be for customers; after all, Sun is officially a company in transition and it's not yet clear what lies ahead for the group. (Though we believe that Oracle could easily adapt these concepts and platform to its new Beehive messaging and collaboration platform and use it to attract new customers to that offering.)
What does this mean for Information & Knowledge Management professionals?
- What it means (WIM) #1. Learning has officially entered the social software lexicon. Social software is not just for collaboration anymore. It's now also for employees mentoring each other, bringing customers and partners into the environment, and learning on the fly.
- WIM #2. Social software has gained another entry point into the organization: HR. Learning has long been the bailiwick of HR, not IT. But with the technology-enablement of learning that's been going on now for years with Web conferencing and training software, social software is yet another reason for these two groups to get even closer together.
- WIM #3: Sun Microsystems cum Oracle deserves a closer look for collaboration innovation. We have been impressed with Oracle Beehive — it's well integrated, fabulously priced, and easy to forklift into place. (It's also still in early versions, and missing some pieces of the collaboration platform, including an easy workflow tool kit.)
Disagree? Have thoughts or experiences to share? Please comment.