5 Steps To Use LinkedIn For Social Learning

5 Steps To Use LinkedIn For Social Learning
Summary: In this article, I'll explore the many applications of LinkedIn for social learning that will help you to develop a winning social learning strategy for your eLearning courses, deliverables, or training events.

How To Use LinkedIn For Social Learning

For years, LinkedIn has been widely used by professionals who were looking for a way to network and find employment. However, Linkedin is no longer just a place where recruiters and hiring managers seek out potential candidates. This professional networking platform has become an invaluable social learning tool for eLearning professionals. LinkedIn gives online learners the ability to benefit from the experience and knowledge base of their peers and other top professionals, which can significantly increase the effectiveness of the eLearning courses.

  1. Encourage learners to develop an online presence through LinkedIn.
    Having a professional online presence in today's tech-centric world is a necessity. Encouraging your learners to create a profile on LinkedIn can be a great way to help them begin building their online presence. By doing so, they will also become aware of the importance of online reputation management, which is yet another “must have” for professionals in all niches. It may even be a good idea to walk them through the LinkedIn sign up and profile set up process if they are unfamiliar with Linkedin, as this will lay the foundation for their social learning experience in the future. Stress the importance of keeping the profile updated and the value of building a solid network of contacts via the platform. There are a number of online education features in LinkedIn that are worth exploring, such as the photo and video integration feature. Learners can add work samples, images, and video introductions to their profiles, and view the multimedia elements that others have uploaded in order to find out if they may be a good contact. The key to making LinkedIn a great social learning tool is to encourage learners to build credibility through their profiles, so that experts and professionals won't think twice about connecting with them and share knowledge.
  2. Create assignments that utilize LinkedIn as a research tool.
    It's important to know how to effectively utilize LinkedIn for eLearning in order to take full advantage of its social learning power. One of the best ways to put LinkedIn to good use in the virtual classroom is to develop assignments and projects that utilize LinkedIn as a research tool. There are a variety of groups and communities on the site that pertain to specific topics or niches. For instance, there are groups that consist of sales and marketing specialists, while another might be made up of professionals who know a great deal about marine biology. As such, you can ask your learners to seek out experts in the field to find out more about a particular concept or topic. This gives them the opportunity to benefit from the years of experience that the expert or professional possesses, while developing their research and communication skills. The LinkedIn site gives them the option to search by keyword, making it easy and quick for them to find the groups they are looking for and get the information they need.
  3. Design activities around LinkedIn interviews.
    You can create an assignment wherein your learners have to connect with professionals or experts in the field to learn more about a topic, or interview them and write a report or prepare a presentation based upon their findings. This cannot only help them to develop their communication skills, but also to add one more person in their ever-expanding network of contacts. They can gain significant experience and knowledge from those who have expertise in the subject matter, and may even be able to seek out these contacts in the future should they need more information or support. These interviews can also provide other learners with the chance to learn from the experts that their peers have interviewed, or spark discussions amongst an online study group. This fuels social learning and makes it more exciting and engaging, which will help to enhance knowledge absorption.
  4. Share the networking benefits of LinkedIn with learners.
    It's vital that learners are not only aware of the benefits associated with social learning settings in LinkedIn, but also of the importance of building a network online. There are a variety of groups on LinkedIn where members share news, articles, and other important pieces of information that will provide learners with an educational advantage. Building a strong network will also allow them to gain better insight into the field and to start getting recommendations. These recommendations can become important when learners are trying to expand their network in the future by reaching out to their recommenders network of contacts, or even if they are looking for employment.
  5. Develop a LinkedIn group to keep learners up-to-date and connected.
    Why not create a group of your own on LinkedIn, where learners can receive the latest updates, stay in touch with their peers, and get more information about a subject? Your learners can offer feedback, answer questions, and even reach out to other learners all within the LinkedIn platform. Long after they have completed the eLearning course or ended their online training, they can log into the group page to communicate with their peers and continue their education through independent social learning. There are a variety of features that give you the chance to make your group page and organization profile look professional and polished. For instance, you can customize a showcase page that highlights upcoming events, or focus on a particular eLearning deliverable that may be of interest to learners. LinkedIn has a wide variety of uses in eLearning settings, and can serve as a research, collaboration, and networking tool in virtually every niche, either corporate training or education. If you haven't already integrated LinkedIn into your eLearning course plan, why not use these tips to get started today.

At this point, I suggest you to also read the article 28 eLearning Tips for Social Learning where you will find 10 Tips To Effectively Use Social Media In Formal Learning, 10 Tips On How To Use Facebook For Effective Social Learning, and 8 Tips On How To Use Twitter For Social Learning.

If you are looking for guidance on how to create your social learning strategy, the article 8 Top Tips to Create an Effective Social Learning Strategy will give you the tips, advice, and practices you need to know!

In addition, there are various social learning tools that every eLearning educator should know about. Check the article Social Learning Tools Every Online Educator Should Know About to become aware of them and choose the one that suits your needs.

Last but not least, are you looking for the best LinkedIn groups for eLearning professionals? The article The Best LinkedIn Groups About eLearning highlights the top LinkedIn instructional design and eLearning groups that can help you collaborate, find eLearning jobs, or even hire ID professionals for your upcoming projects.