Valdis Krebs shares a simple network approach to analyzing how organizations can gain better awareness of regional innovation: Regional Economic Development. It’s a simple process: collect list of organizations, sort list by location and industry similarity, and port into network analysis tool (Valdis has his own, I’ve used netminer in the past for social network analysis). The result: a list of potential relationships for mutual (in this case economic) value.
Now, let’s take this same idea and apply to learning. We leave a trail of interests and identity when we blog, tweet, Facebook, Flickr, and podcast. If we had a base profile (could FriendFeed do this?) that could be compared reasonably well with other people, we could create a list of potential learning relationships. It’s a simple, easily implementable idea. And, I say with reasonable confidence, it’s a model that we will need to rely on more in the future as the learning process continues to be reduced to more fragmented content and social interactions. People do not need to explicitly seek others out – Mr. Tweet does this reasonably well for Twitter contacts. The main idea: use existing network structures to foster new learning connections. Why not adopt this more broadly in the service of learning and education?