I was reading a post by Chris Heuer (you should also read this one) and the central focus was on the worthiness of "social business" as a generic brand name for what we're currently engaged in. I think the key piece in the post is this sentence:
"Social Business isn’t a solution to a company’s problem; it is an aspiration."
That's spot on. It certainly matches up with everything I've seen working in #socbiz. Too often, the mistake is to confuse the technology with the aspiration. I think though that as a name, "social business" can capture that aspiration..."e-learning" though, I think falls short.
Becoming social as a business is something a company can strive toward. If you or your organization needs any help in that regard, feel free to contact me :-) You ever tried to aspire to "e-learning" though? Yeah, exactly. The name frames a product not a goal and that's the problem.
People think e-learning is a solution to a problem and if it is then the only problem it's going to solve is compliance. It's also not that accurate - I don't want to rehash the whole name thing but is learning really being sold online now? Or is it training? And performance support? This amorphous name thing has been clouding the ROI debate since the start of time. So now we have a name we can't aspire to and a product brand that's not really accurate.
Now "learning organization" - there is an aspirational name. I think this quote from Senge is what really got people:
"…organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together."
I think people saw that and saw e-learning and thought..."there it is! I'll buy some of that and we'll be a learning organization!" I think people really want to be learning organizations but they want to think that it's a solution buy to get there. That's why people are on their 6th LMS. This is also exactly why Gartner says that 80% of social business efforts will not achieve their goals.
Becoming a learning organization and a social business are worthy, aspirational goals. They can be supported by technology (see again the part above where I can help with that :-)) but they MUST be supported by the appropriate organizational design and change management - the appropriate level of committment - to get there.