Tomorrow we welcome our next speaker to the Social Scholar seminar (see here for details). In anticipation, here is a summary, slides, and video from the March session.

Myles Runham is Head of Online at the BBC Academy. As such it is his job to think about the capabilities and limitations of online learning as part of the BBC’s requirement to offer training to the wider media industry.

Amongst the digital tools that the BBC Academy uses and engages with are those categorised as social media. At the March session of the Social Scholar Myles Runham looked at how social media and other digital tools are transforming what the BBC do to provide training. In doing so he makes a comparison to the Higher Education sector which is similarly being asked to update methods and pedagogy with the digital in mind. In essence we must ask ourselves how we can use social media tools to widen engagement and provide better training, whilst not losing sight of the core of what ‘training’ actually requires.

As an example, Runham noted that the BBC uses Youtube as one means to disseminate videos intended for larger training programmes, but that by doing so they are aware that the context is lost by such a process. Social media outlets provide visibility and communication, but they do not always provide everything one might want.

Runham focused his presentation on whether or not courses translate well to the online sphere and if our traditional methods for teaching require refreshing or change. There is a tendency to work with what we know, Runham said “to reduce to the known mechanisms”. This often means that innovation tends to come from outside of the traditional institutions rather than from within.

Using social media as a training tool in Higher Education should, therefore, be viewed as equally valid and viable as traditional approaches, but often it is not recognised as so. Using the earlier example as a basis, consider this: how often have you searched Youtube to learn how to do something rather than looking first at the traditional places to find that information? I know that I have and in many cases have come up with good results.

I think that this Social Scholar session confirmed that trainers engaged with online learning are all grappling with difficult issues and many of them revolve around the use of social media tools. As technology evolves we must constantly revisit what it is we teach and how we go about teaching it. Ensuring visibility and availability is part of that process.

Myles Runham is Head of Online at the BBC Academy. He is available on Twitter @mylesrun. The Social Scholar is a monthly lunchtime seminar held by the School of Advanced Study. The seminar is FREE and open to all to attend. For the full list of events check out the SAS Events listing or keep an eye on our blog where we regularly post details of the seminar.  

Image: Myles Runham (BBC)