Social learning is becoming an increasingly relied-upon tool in the world of corporate eLearning. It provides unique opportunities for collaboration on a small, or even global, scale and it can provide excellent opportunities to develop skills and, in particular, problem-solving skills.
Social learning is a prime way to make your corporate training and eLearning more engaging, foster a sense of team work and make it more relevant for the learner.
If your organization has not yet started including social components in your eLearning, it is a good time to think toward the future. Social learning is not simply a trend—it is something that is only going to grow in terms of popularity and pervasiveness. The sooner your organization embraces it, the more prepared you will be to remain competitive.
If you want to socialize your eLearning, consider the following tips:
Balance Control and Flexibility
When you are developing a social learning strategy for your organization, it is important to walk the fine line between having control of the conversations and letting your employees maintain their own sense of autonomy. Within social learning there is a tendency for the administrators to lose control of the discussion and the results of the learning, but on the other side of the spectrum is the possibility that you put so many rigid restrictions in-place that employees do not feel compelled to take advantage of social learning. You will have to find ways to strike that balance for your unique organization and the needs of your employees. However, it should be defined before implementing a full-scale social learning strategy.
The core of social learning is just that—socialization. You need to encourage your employees to collaborate in order to ensure it is effective, so make it easy for them in the form of your eLearning interface and design. Make buttons leading to social learning opportunities accessible, easy to find and simple to use. You should also be able to clearly define the value of social learning to your employees, so lay out how it will impact their eLearning experience and their job as a whole.
Learn About Your Learners
Social learning really depends on having an understanding of who it is you are trying to reach. Before you create social learning components, ask your employees questions that will help you gauge how they will most benefit from it. You can also conduct consistent feedback opportunities for your employees to let you know how they feel about social learning and its effectiveness. Some things are going to work better than others, depending on your employees, and social learning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.
Make Social Learning Rich with Valuable Information
Social components are great to include within your eLearning because you can easily and immediately provide your employees with new and valuable information from a myriad of sources. It saves you time in the development of your eLearning because you can simply socially share these new materials, rather than having to update your entire eLearning module. Sharing this type of information also makes your overall learning and training more engaging for employees.
Social Learning is not a Replacement
While social aspects can bring a lot of value to your corporate eLearning, it is also important to remember it should not be the only thing you rely on for educating and training your employees. It is instead best utilized as a way to reinforce other concepts and skills being presented in your eLearning. Social learning serves as a complement to other facets of your eLearning strategy. It should be one of many tools you take advantage of to ensure your workforce is well-trained. If you have more traditional employees that are less comfortable with technology and social media, it is also important to phase social learning in incrementally, to help ease the transition and make employees comfortable with it, on a gradual basis.
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