SkillSoft recently announced the launch of inGenius, a social learning platform layer that enables customers to securely enable their employees to find, create and share knowledge assets and expertise with their colleagues as they leverage the extensive SkillSoft library of on-demand learning assets. I have covered SkillSoft before as they were moving in this direction (see SkillSoft Introduces More Web 2.0 Features with SkillPort® 7.0 Learning Management System) and was very interested in this new move so I spoke with Pam Boiros of SkillSoft about their offering.
Pam first went through several trends that helped to prompt them to make this move. Learning has become more social and the interest in peer learning has increased. I certainly agree with these observations. I have always been a proponent of social and peer learning through such methods as simulation-based learning going back to the 80s. It is great to see the rise of social computing providing a much richer platform for this approach.
There is also the move from learning as an event to learning as a continuous process. This was one of the reasons I first got involved in knowledge management in the 90s and now the line between learning and KM is becoming even more blurred for good reasons.
To address these trends and take advantage of the new capabilities that social computing and social networks can bring to learning, SkillSoft’s Books24x7 division introduced inGenius. It enables social learning by extending the value of expert information and infusing it with the knowledge and expertise of an organization’s own employees. Unlike many stand-alone social networking applications, inGenius is built on SkillSoft’s Books24x7 on demand content collections containing more than 25,000 titles — digital books from leading publishers, analyst research reports, and white papers — as well as 1,300 videos of thought leaders and practitioners. Below you can see a inGenius home page.
inGenius enhances SkillSoft’s core learning assets with a feature set that enables learners to leverage content assets as seeds of discussion and to add community content (“co-content”) including notes, comments and ratings that add a unique layer of context and relevance, specific to their organization. It further enhances the social learning experience with opportunities to build connections and allow sharing between learners. inGenius also enables learners to discover knowledgeable colleagues by searching social profiles. Here is sample profile page.
inGenius is a free add-on to the Books24x7 offering. People can set up their own profile with recommended titles and comments on works. They also have implemented the following model used by Twitter so people can see the activities of those they respect. The activity stream contains auto-generated updates based on activities such as adding comments, rather than manually created tweets. You can click on a link in the update to see the actual comment in the context of the relevant learning material. I think this is a good approach for their content focused approach. Here is a sample activity stream.
When you do searches for content you now get additional returns on the people who have commented on this content or recommended it, putting a great social context to search, another good move. The addition of social networking capabilities to a learning library makes great sense and SkillSoft has done a great job with this release.