Igniting potential in families, learning, and creativity with technology

GROU.PS is a free social network utility which uses Facebook Connect to leverage existing relationships to form groups and provide all the functionality they could want. Extremely intuitive and well integrated, GROU.PS allows you to customize just about anything and nails most of the usability and sociability issues raised in Jenny Preece’s book Online Communities. From polls to forums, blogs, videos, wikis and group chat this site is clearly an excellent option to build and support your community online. I especially like the ActivityRank feature which allows you to properly incentivize the most valuable activities for your group.

Take a look at the grou.ps/smartlds community. I have high hopes for sharing, learning and above all growing strong relationships there. Community seems so indispensable in an enterprise elearning support strategy!

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Comments on: "Initial Impressions of GROU.PS" (2)

  1. I’ve browsed the site and have a few comments…

    What grou.ps does that SharePoint doesn’t:
    1. It’s outside the firewall.
    2. It integrates with Facebook and other social media.

    Are either of these features listed as requirements for the SmartBuilder community? It appears to me that the right requirements for a community site would be:

    1. Accessible to all SmartBuilder users included on our license agreement. (Or nearly all, if this is not feasible. We could meet the needs of outlier populations in other ways. Custom solutions for custom needs.)

    2. Highly usable respository for customized reference materials, standards, examples, and contact information. (This is intended to help people use the templates that have been created or customized by LDS users, not to teach off-the-shelf features and functionality. Off-the-shelf training for off-the-shelf features, I say.)

    Any features used on the community site that go beyond these requirements may go beyond the mark. This is about helping people use the customized features of SmartBuilder effectively, right? Any more than that could distract us from the real work of creating elearning to help move the organization forward.

    We all work together as members of the instructional design community to help one another meet the objectives of our ourganizations. It’s about meeting organizational objectives first, not socializing for the sake of socializing. Let’s avoid adding or promoting social media features without first confirming that these features will really help us meet organizational objectives.

    That’s my two-cents.
    Ben Hughes

  2. Great comments. These are extremely valuable points. I have attempted to draw out those departmental requirements and objectives in the recently added forum posts regarding how teams are planning on using SmartBuilder and how each team would be best supported by AV. I believe social tools facilitate learner-centric learning and leadership sharing and coaching with an overarching goal to foster a learning environment vs. a training environment. I am not certain the learning environment happens without the social component because it requires listening to real and real-time needs.

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