Selling Learning Communities

I was just reading a response to Tony Karrer’s most recent blog post entitled, Selling Learning Communities- not everyone wants a group hug. While the post itself centered on practical ways of selling the importance of learning communities to your school/company. It was a particular response that caught my eye:

Written by Tim Tynan:

Imagine the worker in any field who forgets the protocol for a particular process. Like an administrative assistant who forgets how to use the new copier or coffee pot. Or a sales exec who is confused about new software. The correct information is available in many places: the website, the manual, even a little bulleted ‘how-to’ on the wall, but the first place he/she will turn is to a friendly co-worker. We all do it. This is where we should go. Read more:

I find this very true in the workplace. Why can’t more individuals take the initiative to solve their own problems, charting their own way through problem solving, rather than use up the time of a fellow co-worker? Does replacing a “cubical drop-by question” with an on-line community question, really solve the problem? How far is too far in designing learning communities that  decrease self-motivation to problem solve?

If someone asks me about how to use the copier without first trying to use the bulleted “how to” posted on their cubical wall, I will most likely tell them to refer to their “how to” posted on their cubical wall and come back if it doesn’t work.