Many professionals mistakenly believe that social learning is a highly informal and discussion-based approach. They think that if they spend time talking to other learners in a Facebook group, they are taking part in social learning.
In reality, the concept is actually more complicated. It’s true that Facebook groups can be a component of social learning. That method creates avenues for peer-based support, feedback, and knowledge exchanges. Learners can benefit from the experiences that coworkers have and understandings that others possess, and that’s valuable. But, at the same time, it’s also limited.
With Facebook groups, there is a response delay. An employee might ask a question and have to wait for another learner who knows the answer to become available. Plus, the lack of an immediate back and forth can hinder brainstorming or active exploration, both of which typically benefit from a rapid discussion and focusing on the topic at hand.
However, while having discussions in a Facebook group can certainly be beneficial, social learning goes far beyond that approach. If you want to incorporate more social learning mechanisms, here are a few to consider.
Peer Coaching Programs
With a peer coaching program, you can create official partnerships between employees. This creates a paradigm where a more experienced worker actively supports another that is building new skills or improving their knowledge. Along with general knowledge sharing, the approach can ensure that, if a learner has an immediate need, they have a person (or persons) they can contact directly for assistance.
Employee Produced Videos
In some cases, the interactions don’t have to be live to qualify as social learning. If you invite your best and brightest to create demo videos for other employees, that can fall into this category as well. It allows employees to train each other in ways that relate directly to a specific job. The learner benefits from the experience of a peer. Plus, you can make the video creator available for questions, adding another social component.
Live Brainstorming Sessions
Sometimes, getting a group together and letting them brainstorm is the best way to solve problems. In-person collaboration can promote knowledge exchanges, introduces employees to different perspectives, and can spur innovation and creative thinking. In some cases, the experience can be replicated online as well, though you do have to coordinate a meeting time where everyone will be available in a forum.
Ultimately, social learning isn’t just about Facebook groups; it can go far beyond that. If it involves getting learners together, it could potentially qualify, so consider branching out if you want to experience more of the benefits of the social learning experience.
Do You Need Support from L&D Pros to Incorporate More Social Learning into Your Training?
At Clarity Consultants, we have over a quarter-century of experience in the L&D field. By partnering with us, you gain quick access to allies who can assist you with locating the talented L&D pros your company needs to excel. If you need to find L&D experts who can help you incorporate more social learning mechanisms into your training, the team at Clarity Consultants can make the process as efficient as possible. Contact us to find out more about our robust services and see how our L&D expertise can benefit you.