Using SharePoint For Social Learning

Using SharePoint For Social Learning
Summary: Results from a recent survey show that companies are unhappy with their current Learning Management System and rank social learning as a top priority. Exploring new technologies is high on the list, but savvy Learning and Development managers will look no further than their current SharePoint deployment to spice up their training programs. So, why use SharePoint for social learning initiatives?

SharePoint For Social Learning: Survey Says Companies Want Social Learning, SharePoint Delivers 

Results from a recent survey conducted by The Brandon Hall Group show that companies are unhappy with their current Learning Management System. They also show that social and collaborative tools are a top priority, and that Learning and Development managers use the leading collaboration platform SharePoint for social learning to improve the impact of their learning initiatives.

Learning and Development has grown by leaps and bounds, and this year in particular companies are focusing top priorities on specific technology that will help them gain a competitive advantage.
Social Collaboration For Learning
Creating a stronger link between learning and performance is at the top of the list of most important priorities for business. And, according to previous Brandon Hall research, this is achieved by incorporating informal and social elements into learning plans.

Interesting fact: A company's Learning Management System accounts for about 40% of the learning technology budget, but many are spending an additional 5% more on social and/or mobile technology and that's expected to increase.

For the savviest of learning professionals, utilizing established software, like SharePoint, will reduce costs and improve training outcomes.

SharePoint For Social Learning: Features 

One in two companies already use SharePoint, so it is absolutely not necessary to purchase yet another system for social capabilities.

SharePoint provides a formidable enterprise collaboration platform that covers many important business needs in a powerful integrated solution.

Since SharePoint is already synced with active directory, each employee has full access to their own personal MySite, as well as a host of other social tools.

  • MySite.
    A persoanl page that displays work examples and a place to promote expertise. Users can utilize the search feature to find coworkers that can help them with a work-related issue.
  • Team Site.
    The ultimate collaboration tool for coworkers that need to work together on a project. Team sites include document libraries, calendar, task list, and discussion board.
  • Community Site.
    The perfect place to ask a question to the employee community and engage in conversation in order to learn from one another.

With tools that are very much similar to other social networks, users can tag posts, use topical hashtags, and generate a lively discussion.

One of the key findings in the Brandon Hall study was that 50% of companies feel that discussion forums are critical to success, but only 5% are happy with their current platform. A big point of contention and overall dissatisfaction stems from a bad user experience.

SharePoint social features are rich in discussion elements and provide all the needed resources to create a much-needed social atmosphere among employees. And, because it is part of the Microsoft suite of software, there will never be an issue of a “bad user experience” because they are already familiar with the interface. As a result, there is a very low learning curve.

Technology And Integration

Exploring different technologies that will offer social capabilities along with a host of other requirements will play an even bigger role for companies this year.

The top 5 learning technology priorities, include:

  1. Social/collaboration.
  2. Mobile.
  3. Data analytics.
  4. Virtual classrooms.
  5. Content management.

As mentioned previously, user experience is more critical than ever and a big reason for 44% of companies looking to replace their current Learning Management System.

The other big requirement is the need for integration between systems like HRIS, content management, compliance, and ERP.

Using A SharePoint-Based Learning Management System

All by itself, SharePoint offers the technology that companies are now asking for and needing in a learning system – social/collaboration, content management, mobile, analytics, and integration.

Currently, 1/3 of companies are not satisfied with their Learning Content Management System. They realize the content plays a huge role in learning and the inability to properly manage can be challenging.

The great part about SharePoint is that it excels first and foremost as a Content Management System. It provides a centralized place to store all eLearning documents, videos, and the like, where multiple people can seamlessly work together on training programs.

Participants in the study also noted that certification and learning paths were of particular concern and needed improvement.

While SharePoint offers an array of much needed requirements by the training industry, it is not built to be a fully functioning Learning Management System. However, it can provide a great foundation from which to build upon.

SharePoint itself is a mix of web parts and can be configured in any way needed. Adding in a SharePoint-based Learning Management System would essentially fill in any missing functionality that SharePoint doesn't already offer, such as learning paths, compliance, advanced reporting, and certification.

Keeping all training under the same “roof” makes everything much more simple and efficient. No more trying to transfer eLearning content from one system to another, or trying to remember multiple passwords. Now, employees can train on the Learning Management System and utilize social features for informal learning – all within SharePoint.

Another big plus is that SharePoint and the Learning Management System have already been configured with all your other business systems by the IT department.

Implementing good technology like SharePoint for social learning and training will result in increased revenue, increased productivity, increased engagement, and lowered costs and turnover.

To learn more about how a SharePoint-based Learning Management System can solve your training problems, click here.

eBook Release: ShareKnowledge
ShareKnowledge is an enterprise LMS that integrates with existing technologies while automating training, reporting and other business processes.