I really like this diagram by Clark Quinn that tries to summarise the relative value of various elearning tools. I find it quite a good illustration of where most organisations that are new to elearning go wrong - almost all their initial investment will be in the bottom left corner. And that is hardly likely to get the big leaps in performance that they will have/have been promised.
But what it really did was make me think about social learning. I've never really been sure about the actual learning benefits of all the social learning hype, yet here it is represented as the middle of this diagram (almost a z-axis?).
Thinking more about it I was struck by something. A group of people I've never met gathered in a city I've never been to discuss a series of pretty obscure topics that weren't in anyway picked up by the mass media. And I learnt from it.
In entries by Cammy Bean, Clive Shepherd, Stephen Downes, Tony Karrer and Brent Schenkler and the whole PLE meme that spread about over the weekend I got a significant portion of the benefit of actually attending at least a part of the eLearning Guild Conference.
Thanks to blogging I have learnt simply because the conference happened. If that doesn't rock, nothing does.