eLearning Trends Social Learning

Social Learning Trends 2013


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Is your company considering using social learning as part of your training and development program? Research suggests that this can be very beneficial. 

Take for example the 70/20/10 learning philosophy, a concept is based on research done by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger at the Center for Creative Leadership. Their research states that people learn:

  • 70% through job experience and problem-solving 
  • 20% from others 
  • 10% from formal courses and reading

When you compare the percentage gained from formal learning to the percentage gained through collaboration with others, it’s no wonder that social learning is rapidly gaining corporate buy-in and employee appreciation.Jane Bozarth, e-Learning Coordinator for the State of North Carolina and author of Social Media for Trainers, says, “Participants are happy to engage with one another using social media tools for training purposes. They find it convenient, useful for learning at the moment of need, and [that it helps them] develop a greater sense of control over their learning.”Bozarth explains how using social networks can enhance training: “Social media tools help to amplify the social and informal learning already going on in organizations all the time, every day, and make the learning available on a much larger scale. They provide ways to connect talent pools and expertise in an organization or within a practice area, and can offer just-in-time solutions to problems and performance issues.

Top 3 Growing Trends In Social Learning

1. Crowdsourcing

Yes, the concept behind Kickstarter, Threadless and other collaboration-based websites can also be applied to e-Learning and training. Crowdsourcing in e-Learning involves asking a question to a broad group of people for their input, expertise and opinions. It’s a great way to access the collective knowledge of a group. This can happen in a variety of ways:

  • Internally through an email to your coworkers—“Anyone have suggestions for improving efficiency in this process?
  • Externally through social networks or wikis—“My company is considering switching from laptops to tablets. Anyone have recommendations?

If you want to crowdsource feedback on your latest e-Learning development project, try using ReviewLink, a cloud-based collaborative tool for e-Learning review. You can invite colleagues and advisors to review your e-Learning courses and offer feedback.2. Snack-sized learningRemember when you were a kid and you had “snack time?” It was great, right? Well, so is snack learning! Snack learning is the simple idea of cutting a video or lecture into short, easily digested snippets—“bite size” chunks, if you will. These shorter, more condensed learning opportunities are often preferred over long days of training. Typical snack learning formats include short videos, one-pagers, infographics or a quick Skype call with colleagues. Learners can access these knowledge snacks in between meetings or on the go. They’re also beneficial when learners need to brush up on an old topic or quickly go over the basics of a new topic.3. Social backchannelsCreating a social “backchannel” allows your learners to contribute to and enhance learning during a live presentation. Plus, by acknowledging the inevitable background conversation among learners, you can take control of the conversation. Using a backchannel can greatly extend the reach of ideas and create a sense of community among your learners, as well as encourage your more introverted learners to participate in the discussion. In addition, a social backchannel can extend the boundaries of the physical room or auditorium by allowing online learners to submit questions and participate in the discussion with those physically present.One easy way to create a backchannel is to designate a hashtag on Twitter, like #SocialLearning101, and to ask your learners to contribute to the discussion using that hashtag. For example, organizers for ASTD’s annual international conference in the spring created a backchannel on Twitter using the hashtag #ASTD2013. You can still access all the tweets from the event by searching #ASTD2013 on Twitter.You can also create a more private backchannel than Twitter by using the collaboration tools, like real time chat and instant messaging, included in a learning management system like CourseMill learning management system.Social learning is still gaining momentum and popularity as more and more businesses and organizations realize its potential. By keeping up with trends like these, you can harness the power of social learning to benefit your organization and your learners. For more information on incorporating social learning in the workplace, check out “Social Learning Best Practices for the Workplace”.