If you watched the video (I know it is long.) you realize immediately how this type of workflow can really improve the productivity of a virtual team. It solves one of the biggest problems on the web, which is long emails with multiple threads that contain a lot of critical information on various topics. Being able to parse that information out and understand the timeframe of the conversation is very time consuming. It also addresses integration of instant messaging and mobile phones into the conversation. Currently these sub-conversations typically get lost. Wave also is dealing with team-based live document editing, realtime photo sharing, and language translations. Impressive, to say the least.
But I immediately began to think about how Google Wave is a platform for social learning. As with any new technology there are a couple of ways to think about it. One is to consider how this might improve the traditional models of education. Think of a Wave as a tool that could support current collaborative learning models. It would also be fun to consider how Google Wave might be transformational in creating a new approach or social learning platform.
I think this will put us a lot closer to the concept Jay Cross talked about years ago called workflow learning. The concept as I remember Jay explaining back then was the learning opportunities would be embedded into the workflow process. No one would go to a class or even take an online course, that wasn't embedded into the workflow or task of the knowledge worker. Waves really open up that possibility.
I know that I will be very interested to learn more about Google Waves in the near future.