Organizations the world over acknowledge the importance of fostering collaboration among employees. This article outlines how can you integrate the social learning strategy to maximize the impact of your corporate training.
Social learning is intrinsic to all of us and all of us learn through collaboration, observation, and interactions with others. It can be defined as learning with and from others. From the discussions that we have with each other in the cafeteria to the more sophisticated interactions on social media and blogs, we all engage in some form of social learning or other in our daily life.
The idea of collaboration and social interactions has always led to positive outcomes and higher impact. No wonder social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like have a ubiquitous presence today.
When applied in corporate trainings, social learning can work wonders for you as a learning strategy. There’s more to social learning than just bringing in social media elements such as comments, posts, instant messaging, group discussion boards, wikis, video chats, and so on in your corporate trainings.
To be meaningful, it needs creating a semi-structured approach to foster collaboration among learners. This can be done through virtual communities that can serve as a platform for them to share knowledge and ideas besides encouraging them to contribute with more inputs to your existing knowledge repository.
There are no two ways about the fact that the concept of social learning works. While the success of various social media platforms today is proof enough, I would like to substantiate this further with the help of two theories.
NOTE: To integrate social learning effectively into your learning strategy, we should use cues from these two theories. In the case study (featured at the end of the article), you will see how we have integrated many of these aspects to create an effective social learning platform.
Social learning theory: According to Wikipedia, the social learning theory “is a theory of learning and social behavior which proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and imitating others. It states that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement”.
Bandura and Walters, the key proponents of this theory observed that:
Active Learning: Simply put, the active learning theory is all about getting learners to involve more directly in the learning process. It started surfacing as a topic of serious discussion after it appeared in a report by Bonwell and Eison published by the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in 1991. One of many aspects that the report throws light on includes the significance of students playing a more active role in learning (by way of reading, writing, taking part in discussions, solving problems, and so on) as opposed to mere listening.
According to the duo, through active learning, learners get to:
Integrating social learning in your learning strategy has benefits for both learners as well as the business. Social learning can enhance the learning experience and result in a positive outcome both in terms of the success of your learning initiative and a positive ROI.
Let’s see the value it offers to the learners and to the business.
How learning happens: As per the 70/20/10 model for Learning and Development, learners obtain:
It is here that social learning comes in as a key enabling factor for learning as it triggers learning through collaboration with peers on the job and interactions with others.
Social learning empowers learners: Sometimes all it takes is one little tip or a piece of advice from a fellow colleague to help you re-focus on your work or get the job done faster in the workplace. Collaboration and interaction help learners learn better. This way, social learning not just helps learners retain the learning but also helps apply that learning on the job.
Appeals to Millennials: Millennials are poised to take over as the majority of the global workforce in a few years and they are the future of organizations. This generation loves social media and social learning. They use social media more (59%) than others (29%) and are likely to relate to social learning more than people from other generations.
There are advantages for businesses as well, as social learning:
Apart from the 70/20/10 model for Learning and Development, social learning theory, and active learning theory, there are other factors as well that make a great case for integration of social learning in your learning strategy.
Factor for the following steps as you begin the process of integration of social learning into your learning strategy:
Assess the readiness to adopt social learning: This is the crucial strategy point and this assessment needs to nail the readiness of the organization, learners, and how the current training programs are being offered. It makes sense to pick programs that need social interaction and collaboration as pilot programs and build from their success to create a wider net.
Quantify the gain you want to achieve and leverage on early adopters: Very often, social learning will support your primary, formal training. It is vital to identify what gains the approach of social learning would bring to the organization. Continue to focus on the value this would create and you will see the required gains over time.
Some initiatives like Change Management can benefit substantially through it. You can use early adopters of the initiative to share their positive feedback and recommendations to their colleagues, and see the acceptance of the new concept increase.
Use social learning platforms rather than a LMS: Instead of a LMS, opt for specialized platforms that provide better interactions between users and feature capabilities like:
Improve the access to information: Unlike formal training, you can now ensure a speedy update or dissemination of new information.
Provide and take feedback: Use the platform to schedule formal feedback sessions from the learners (what is working, what is not, and what can be done to improve the interactions and collaboration). Also use Analytics to check the progress (or a lack of it) and re-strategize to meet the intended goal.
Some areas that find a better alignment to social learning are:
Are there any success factors that can help entrench social learning effectively into an organization’s learning culture?
Adopting these simple measures will help you see the culture of social learning take roots and grow:
To showcase how you can integrate social learning into your existing corporate training, I now share a case study.
At EI Design, we have a social learning platform that we rolled out with an intention to create a collaborative work environment, help team members interact with each other, create communities of learning and practice, and provide a platform for our employees to receive on-the-job support.
Some of the highlights of this solution are:
The impact: The platform helps our employees to:
You can also take a look at this video to see how this solution works.
I hope this article provides the required insights on social learning and why you should implement the social learning strategy in your corporate trainings. The tips, best practices, and the case study shows you how can you go about it. If you have any specific queries, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I work as a Project Lead at EI Design where I develop the visual design for client projects. My focus is to provide end products as per the client’s design and requirement. This puts me in a position where I need to understand core client requirements. I achieve this by communicating efficiently across the different domains that are involved in the project. As a Visual Designer, my focus is to develop eye-catching products that not only capture the imagination of end-users but also enhance their learning capabilities through our innovative technologies.
I begin my day by looking at the immediate tasks and deliverables at hand. My supervising manager overlooks the tasks for the day and assigns them according to individual competencies. I go through emails and prioritize my tasks accordingly. It helps me plan and execute my activities way ahead of delivery deadlines.
We can always be the best in anything we do, provided we are ready to work hard for it.
“The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.”
My role at EI Design requires me to don multifaceted capabilities, starting from consulting with clients on Instructional Design requirements, strategizing learning approaches and handling presales opportunities as a Solution Architect, managing a domain with diverse skillsets, to innovating and exploring new learning design trends.
Through my journey at EI Design, I have learned to appreciate the value of Learning Innovation, Customer Relationship Management, and the power of Instructional Design in ensuring the required Behavioral Change mandates per end stakeholders. The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.
I like to start early and plan my Urgent-Important matrix to begin. The whole day is an artful juggle between a Domain Head and a Solution Architect, with periodic connects with teams and customers. A perfect wrap-up would entail ticking off items in the matrix with tangible outcomes or action plans. Innovation and thought leadership are a constant underlying message in everything I do.
Traveling, social gatherings, music sessions, and uninhibited discussions help rejuvenate and replenish my energy to keep going the extra miles!
The Possibilities are endless if you have the will and determination to seek more, learn more, and achieve more.
“A good workplace tests your ability to be the best, and EI Design has definitely influenced me in that endeavor.”
As a part of the Design Strategy Team, I communicate with internal and external stakeholders on the strategy for design and the visual experience aspects. I also contribute to presales stages in creating design strategies and mock-ups that make our products stand out among the rest.
I constantly contribute to Learning and Development at the organizational level (specific trainings on design trends, best practices, knowledge sharing, and so on.) In addition, I guide and ensure that designers follow design briefs, guidelines, and prototypes in various stages of product development.
I receive my work at the beginning of the week and so I begin my day reviewing the previous week’s progress and then move on to the tasks allotted to me for the next week. On other days, I just go about my tasks according to the priorities assigned to them.
Apart from this, I coordinate with the Visual Design Team to assist with issues such as design variance, alterations, and clarifications. Most of my day is either spent in brainstorming fresh ideas for new projects or helping other domains carry out the functional aspects of our design strategies.
Always stay committed to work no matter what and aim for the stars.
I work with the Quality Assurance Team at EI Design, co-ordinating with multiple domains (ID, VA, Tech, and VD) to deliver exceptional product experiences for learners. It is my duty to ensure that the developers are equipped with accurate information in order to fix/uplift the product experience. I also bridge the gap between developers/testers and the client to provide clarity on the feedback received from client. In conclusion, I can say that I drive the quality of work generated across domains and monitor the performance of domains, teams, and individuals using Quality Measurement Analysis reports.
My day begins with organizing the activities for the day, checking emails for client responses, and allocating task to my team, depending on the ongoing projects on floor and the deliverables planned. Apart from this, on a regular day, I would receive client calls, conduct meetings, and communicate project requirements with my team and other domains that require my help. At the end of the day, I conduct status checks across all ongoing projects reviewed on the day and assess their progress. This helps me to ensure a high standard in the quality of work generated across all the products at EI Design.
Don’t Be the Smartest One in the Room
“Oftentimes, leaders feel that they need to be the “smartest guy or gal” in the room, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Good leaders are the smartest one in the room, great leaders surround themselves with smarter people that will challenge ideas, bring new perspectives to the table and drive innovation.”
– – Jacob Hanson, PR with Panache!
As a Senior Business Development Manager at EI Design, my main role is business mining, building new opportunities for our business.
I drive revenue for the business and build relationships with clients to expand our business. I help clients solve monotonous training challenges through engaging approaches and ensure smooth transaction throughout the project lifecycle. I am responsible for generating the customer satisfaction survey for EI Design, where I gather feedback from end-users and convey it to the client. I mentor new employees that join the business development domain and ensure that they are aligned to the business needs along with process training.
During my close to 2 years tenure at EI Design, I have helped achieve the committed revenue for the business and retained various clients. With the constant support of my team, I continue to ensure that our clients’ journey through the entire project lifecycle is hassle-free.
Reaching out to clients and presenting the best eLearning solutions is the core of my everyday life at EI Design. I ensure that all customer satisfaction surveys are delivered to clients while also continuing to work on building new business for EI Design. On a monotonous day at office, I ensure to build energy within the team and keep them motivated.
Work till you need no introduction.
I joined EI Design as a Quality Analyst and worked my way up to become an Associate Project Manager. I now help my team plan their daily tasks and provide the necessary guidance to meet project deadlines accordingly.
My role at EI Design involves the delivery of quality products to all our clients and address their concerns and queries through multiple stages of the project life cycle.
A majority of my work deals with managing various project requirements from numerous clients from across the globe. A regular day for me is getting involved in various meetings with team members, and attending client calls. I always ensure that I have a positive approach toward the projects that I handle. The environment around me is reciprocative and the support helps me overcome any obstacles within the project. Even so, it is important that I take crucial decisions at critical moments and ease the pressure off my team and maintain a smooth process flow. Apart from this, we normally take breaks to refresh ourselves and find ways to keep each other motivated.
Every time you come across a challenge you need to face it than avoid it. It will help you grow professionally as well as personally.
As the Project Lead at EI Design, my role involves supporting my team in delivering quality products and managing iterations. I am also responsible for coordinating multiple projects with clients across the globe. I am perpetually involved in supervising and guiding my team through the numerous tasks that come our way. It is my duty to ensure smooth functioning of daily processes and drive my team to deliver quality, while maintaining consistency.
My day at EI Design begins with a stand-up meeting where I assess my team’s workload, create a list of deliverables, and distribute tasks to team members accordingly.
It is my top priority to make sure that the team’s dependencies are taken care of and that there are no obstacles in project deliverables throughout the day.
Even so, there are times when I too would not be able to resolve an issue. But the speed and enthusiasm with which my team responds to escalations is a quality that I admire.
We normally get into discussions to check the difficulties faced by each member and find solutions to avoid them in future.
If you want to grow you must be ready to learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime.
I never knew my journey at EI design would be so rewarding and fulfilling. I have never felt the curiosity and enthusiasm drop over the time I’ve spent at EI Design, mainly due to the amazing work culture that we support. My seniors at EI design have always provided me the support and guidance I needed to grow as a professional. Not only have I been surrounded by brilliant professionals – people that I can look up to and take inspiration from – but there have been so many opportunities for me to develop and progress.
I work with EI Design as a Technology Manager and provide innovative technology solutions for our projects. I am also part of the Innovation and Solution Architecting Team, where we explore new tools and technologies in the market and come up with strategies to integrate them into our projects. As part of the Solution Architecting Team, I am constantly involved in providing futuristic solutions to clients. We, at EI Design, believe in pushing the boundaries of learning by making it creative and fun.
I start my day with early morning workouts to make sure that I am physically active and carry the same energy throughout the day. Most of my days begin with meetings to ensure that we are on track with ongoing projects. I detail the information provided in these meeting to concerned team members and keep project deliverables on track.
I admire punctuality and respect my time at work. I ensure that my tasks are done on time, every time, so that other dependencies associated to me do not get affected. This helps me to maintain my work-life balance.
“Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things is the best way to grow”.