Over the past week, I have participated in a fitness, health challenge using Facebook closed groups. During this experience I learned so much! The trainer setup a closed group. She was able to upload files and share healthy recipes. She created and linked You Tube videos of fitness workouts, and provided the support and motivation through the discussion board. By facilitating the group, she developed a community amongst all who had joined the challenge. She also provided private support and answered questions via messaging in Facebook. I am a fairly connected person. Facebook is usually an open tab in my browser, I have the app on my phone, and my iPad. It was quick and easy to connect to this fitness group. When I clicked on my Facebook app etc I would see a notification that something new had been posted in the group. I would take a quick peek at the messages and these things kept me on track during my ten day challenge!
This past week, I was also working on developing some ideas for professional development and it hit me, why not Facebook? Your community of learners could connect in an online environment which many of them already know how to use. Through video messages, private messages, and support files, you could push out content. By asking invitational, mediative questions, participants would be thinking, reflecting, and discussions would take place. Someone would need to facilitate and plan for the group, but I think the benefits would be huge and eventually, a PLN would form and the facilitator may be able to step out of the leadership role and more into the facilitator role. As members began to get to know one another, they may friend each other. This helps build trust, rapport, and true learning and change can take place.
On the practical side, you probably want to consider if you want your personal and professional lives crossing. However, beyond this minor detail, I could see Facebook groups being an efficient and fun way to provide some awesome conversations or connect members of a group in a professional learning experience.