Sun Learning Exchange: Indeed, What If Work Meant Community?

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

In early June, Sun Microsystems announced the Sun Learning Exchange. This is a commercial offering that borrows directly from Sun's own experiments, experience, and expositions on learning. We've written about this in a Forrester report: Tap The Potential Of "YouTube For The Enterprise," and now it's available to others.

Sun's CTO of Learning, Charles Beckham, has tapped his experience as a Java entrepreneur (he was part of the team that built one of the first J2EE application servers, NetDynamics) and bent it to the challenges of on-the-job learning. In an interview with Charles last fall, we came away convinced that his just-enough, wisdom of the crowds, power of video approach to learning was important.


Three things anchor the Sun Learning Exchange:

  1. The power of all employee-generated media, including video, audio, and blogs.
  2. A learning platform that is minimally invasive and maximally open to social contribution.
  3. A metric on social contributions to drive participation.

It's too early to tell how compelling and successful this will be for customers; after all, Sun is officially a company in transition and it's not yet clear what lies ahead for the group. (Though we believe that Oracle could easily adapt these concepts and platform to its new Beehive messaging and collaboration platform and use it to attract new customers to that offering.)

What does this mean for Information & Knowledge Management professionals?


  • What it means (WIM) #1. Learning has officially entered the social software lexicon. Social software is not just for collaboration anymore. It's now also for employees mentoring each other, bringing customers and partners into the environment, and learning on the fly.
  • WIM #2. Social software has gained another entry point into the organization: HR. Learning has long been the bailiwick of HR, not IT. But with the technology-enablement of learning that's been going on now for years with Web conferencing and training software, social software is yet another reason for these two groups to get even closer together.
  • WIM #3: Sun Microsystems cum Oracle deserves a closer look for collaboration innovation. We have been impressed with Oracle Beehive it's well integrated, fabulously priced, and easy to forklift into place. (It's also still in early versions, and missing some pieces of the collaboration platform, including an easy workflow tool kit.)


Disagree? Have thoughts or experiences to share? Please comment.







re: Sun Learning Exchange: Indeed, What If Work Meant Community

This could be the innovation Knowledge Managers have been waiting for to support their tactical KM processes: using the Social Web culture to enable all staff / stakeholders to capture, use, learn from, update and contribute to the knowledge base of an organisation.Of course, this much more dynamic, knowledge base would also provide high quality feedstock for gStepOne ( work wizards.It's really quite exciting!

re: Sun Learning Exchange: Indeed, What If Work Meant Community

It is great to have Sun throw its hat in the game. Social Learning has been a growing movement for years now and according to Google has only a few less searches on it than Social Software. We have been doing this for years, but primarily in a Microsoft/ SharePoint space.

re: Sun Learning Exchange: Indeed, What If Work Meant Community

Thanks for the great post, Ted. A few comments/clarifications:1. The product name is the Social Learning eXchange (SLX), as opposed to the Sun Learning eXchange- we made the name change a bit last minute.2. In addition to changing the game for social learning & HR/Training, SLX is also optimized for other use cases, such as corporate communications, project collaboration/innovation, and sales enablement for other Line of Business (LOB) buyers, such as Project Managers and Marketing. The major benefit of SLX is establishing, driving adoption & maintaining community within the enterprise.3. We're excited at the opportunity of SLX as part of Oracle. SLX offers a truly unique social media and community offering, which will only grow more compelling in conjunction with Oracle's other enterprise offerings.Thanks.Gary LombardoMarketing & Product Strategy,