The evolution of the e-learning species is nothing if not rapid - the latest leap is to include social networks in e-learning platforms.
You would have to be living on the moon not to have been aware of the increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace over the past two years. Alongside these, professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, Xing and Viadeo have also appeared.
We are also seeing the rise of internal social networks, which potentially have more value for training managers looking to harness the power of social media and other Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and blogs.
Surge in Web 2.0 spending
In its Global Enterprise Web 2.0 Market Forecast: 2007 to 2013, Forrester Research reports that organisations' spending on Web 2.0 technologies will "surge" over the next five years, growing 43% each year to reach $4.6bn (£2.9bn) globally by 2013. It will be used to connect with customers and help employees collaborate.
Software is emerging that allows users to integrate such networking abilities with their talent and performance management systems. Earlier this year, people management software and service provider Jobpartners launched ActiveNetworker, a corporate social networking tool aimed at promoting employee communication and information sharing.
More recently, Cornerstone OnDemand launched Cornerstone Connect, a social networking platform that integrates with its talent management software and services. More providers will likely follow suit, with industry analyst Josh Bersin, of Bersin & Associates, describing corporate social networks as the 'next frontier' in talent management software.
There is nothing new about using technology to help employees share knowledge. The crucial difference, says Julie Norquist-Roy, vice-president, marketing, at Cornerstone OnDemand, is that where previously this activity took place in a "confused and disorganised" way, it can now be built into talent systems and infrastructures.
She adds: "There is a compelling business case to do this now. We're seeing a lot of changes in the workplace with globalisation