Citizen journalism is an interesting concept that continues to gain attention. Sites are beginning to provide resources to assist these journalists in improving the quality of their writing and reporting. As with any societal change, the visible is only an indication of a foundational shift. "Informalization" seems to be a growing trend - podcasting, music, journalism, etc. What is driving the move from institutional to personal (i.e. the "rise of the individual")? And what does it say to those of us in education and training fields?
I think traditional institutions have been slow to respond to the speed at which information is flowing. Newspapers report news 12 hours after it happened. Bloggers often report it first-hand and within minutes. Personal control has caused a fair bit of stress to the music, movie, and now media industries. There are certainly downsides to this trend (authenticity, responsibility, accountability of the "new journalist" as examples). For the purpose of this post, however, I'd like to look past those downsides and focus on what the trend of informalization means to learners.
Learning is under similar pressure. I'm concerned that higher education and corporate training will fail to understand the fundamental shift in individual control in highlighting personal learning needs...and meeting those needs in an informal manner. Education doesn't need to look far to see the danger of failing to acknowledge changing needs of its end users (note journalism in particular). In a rapidly evolving information climate, firm structure is a handicap. Fluidity, adaptability, and responsiveness are survival traits. What has to happen for training/education to meet the needs of today's changing learner?