Enlightening moments don't just come from books, articles and lectures. We learn a lot of valuable information from other people.
At some stage, you will have watched somebody complete a task using an unfamiliar method and been left impressed. We pick up new ideas daily – and most of this new information is acquired following interaction with peers.
This is social learning, in its simplest terms. Modern e-learning systems, however, take the concept further; expanding social learning so it covers both physical and digital environments. Today, businesses can utilise learning management systems to reap the benefits of social learning - capturing all that knowledge and experience - as we'd like to illustrate in this month's feature spotlight.
Social learning features
With advanced e-learning and m-learning systems, social learning can manifest itself in several formats, with organisations (and employees) free to select the appropriate channels depending on their needs and wants.
Some of the examples of social learning features that can be integrated into an LMS include:
- News Feed - An updated list of happenings within/related to the organisation
- User Generated Content - Any content produced by employees can be shared in a place where it will be seen by others
- Online Chat/Forums - Areas where employees can communicate with one another
- Content Sharing - Any insightful/relevant educational pieces can be shared among staff
- Q&A - Staff can consult Q&A pages (and edit them accordingly) whenever they have a query
These are just some of the available social learning features for a typical LMS… but what advantages do they offer for a business and its staff?
Why these features work
Social learning is often best incorporated as part of a multifaceted e-learning system alongside various other elements; a vital cog in a bigger machine. Steady integration of social features often results in tighter team bonds, improved collaboration, and a discernible piqued interest in training/education among staff.
Not only does social learning keep employees in constant communication with one another; it also heightens enjoyment and engagement levels within the organisation. People will want to keep training, learning, and being social.
Enabling social learning
By its very nature, social learning isn't something you can simply force upon employees. They must be willing to accept the premise before they can begin to benefit. You will need to take the necessary steps to naturally drive learner generated content and prove the value of this learning technique.
Enabling social learning requires assembling a social-friendly workplace. Open-plan offices, team-building sessions and frequent group projects all help staff to adopt a social mind-set that facilitate the smooth integration of social learning later down the line. Rewards for people who visibly embrace/utilise social learning can also incentivise other staff to follow suit.
Social learning and your LMS
So, how can you facilitate social learning?
You can't just give everyone full access to every admin function in your LMS – that could cause chaos. What you need is a flexible system so staff can freely express themselves without altering the more formal aspect of your training.
Learn with Mobile provides a Knowledge Base. This allows staff to add and share content they have authored themselves, but protects everything else in the system.
Try social learning today
Training doesn't necessarily have to involve bringing aboard experts from outside the business. In many instances, you may be sitting on the answers already .
In the workplace, it's been proven time and time again that people can learn as much from one another as they can from lecturers or conventional leaders. So, if you're looking to upskill your staff in a cost-effective, highly-productive, notably rewarding fashion, social learning may prove to be the perfect solution.
If you're looking to educate in a fresh, affordable, and rewarding way, check out fully mobile responsive e-learning solutions using Learn with Mobile. Get started for free right now, or call the Ambidect team on +44 (0)1260 221292 if you have any questions.