A Confluence of Benefits






As followers of this blog and of our reserach well know, social learning is changing the learning industry in ways both explicit and implicit.  It is not surprising then that ELearning Magazine now includes a social learning tool category in its yearly awards.  What might raise some eyebrows, however, is the list of this year's honorees.  Despite yeoman efforts on the part of many of the learning systems and tools providers to develop social learning capabilities, there are no established learning industry representatives in this group.

The winner: Atlassian and their wiki-based enterprise social software platfrom, Confluence

Also recognized: Facebook and NING

All three are general purpose social software providers – and two are free.  Why these three, and not Saba for Saba Social or OutStart for Participate?  Or even Microsoft for SharePoint or IBM for LotusConnections?  Well, while all of those platforms have their proponents; and while it can certainly be argued that SharePoint and LotusConnections are well on their way to dominating enterprise social software, social learning is still in an experimental stage in most organizations.  And for the most part, the magic being created in these experiements is not taking place in the more well-adopted, IT-approved environments.  It is happening in free tools like NING or in less-structured, less-resource intensive environments like Confluence.

Congrats to Attlassian and Confluence.  It is a great product.  They were a clear market leader in our Enterprise Social Software industry study.  

Oh, pun intended btw.  Sorry.

Are you using any of these tools as part of your social learning efforts?  If so, please share in the comments. Thanks.


Dani Johnson

Dani Johnson, Vice President, Learning & Development Research, writes about the evolving L&D function. Specifically, she focuses on the necessary changes in how L&D approaches its responsibilities and allocates its resources (people, time, and money) to have a lasting effect on both organizations and individuals.

One thought on “A Confluence of Benefits

  1. Actually we are using Clearspace now joined by our counterparts overseas using SharePoint. Caught between the two but only designing informal learning solutions for the one for now– Clearspace. One issue, and maybe a roadblock for many, is that Clearspace organizes the social content by technology– wiki’s, blogs, discussions. An innovation killer? Perhaps. I can’t wait for the day to come when the saturation of what tool to use and when becomes second nature. Hurry up Gen Y and start leading the country already! Many of us designers would appreciate it.

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