A 5-Step Guide To Help You Spread Social Learning Throughout Your Organization

A 5-Step Guide To Help You Spread Social Learning Throughout Your Organization
Summary: Shifting from traditional training into a program that embraces social learning can be intimidating. Here is how to make this shift easily.

Embracing The 70:20:10 Model With Social Learning

Change rarely comes easy, even if it's changing for the better. That’s why we frequent the same restaurants, order the same foods, and take part in the same conversations, again and again. Staying within your comfort zone is… well… comfortable. It’s like you’re a prisoner within a well-guarded pillow fort of your own construction.

eBook Release: How Online Learning Can Embrace The 70:20:10 Model
eBook Release
How Online Learning Can Embrace The 70:20:10 Model
This concise and informative guide gets you closer to the future of social learning.

Shifting from a traditional learning program into one that embraces social learning can be intimidating. But that doesn’t make such a move any less essential. It’s like realizing for the first time that the car you’ve been driving can go higher than second gear. It’s intimidating to go that little bit faster, but it can also be thrilling. You’ll also end up where you’re trying to get to that little bit faster.

Millennials And The Workplace of The Future

The good folks at Bunchball suggest that 89% of Millennials want their workplace to be social and fun. That sounds about right to us. How many folks really want their work life to be lonely and boring? By 2020, Millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. By 2030, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. This suggests that organizations will increasingly have to embrace social solutions in order to meet their demands.

This is particularly true within the Learning and Development sphere. After all, the 70:20:10 framework of learning tells us that only 10% of learning happens as a result of formal training. The remaining 90% is made up of experiential learning (70%) and social learning, i.e. learning from observing others (20%).

This just goes to show: Providing learners with social learning tools and an opportunity to share their experiences is vitally important. It’s what works best from a Learning and Development perspective and it’s what your workforce wants.

But then there’s the whole change issue. Getting your team to take its social learning medicine is not without its difficulties. Even if you’re leading a supremely open-minded workforce, it doesn’t hurt to provide further encouragement to tempt them into action. With that in mind, we’ve created a list of 5 top tips for incentivizing social learning within an online learning platform.

1. Achievements

Game mechanics are essentially online learning’s very own Mr. Motivator, even if they don’t go around sporting a delightful spandex jumpsuit and bandana combo. An example of one of these motivation-boosting game mechanics is ‘Achievements’.

Achievements are virtual rewards that selected audiences can receive for fulfilling certain criteria. We’ve listed some examples below, contrasting examples of achievements in video games with real online learning achievements we use on the Academy LMS.

  • Video game achievement: 
    • Collect 12 Griffin Feathers.
    • Get 50 Headshots.
    • Play the game for 10 hours.
    • Get a perfect score of 100.
  • Online learning achievement:
    • Respond to 12 posts on the social stream.
    • Rate 5 pieces of eLearning content.
    • Ask an expert a question.

If utilized properly, achievements should instill a sense of pride among your learning elite, which can then drive further social activity. On the other hand, setting unrealistic or pointless achievement goals (for instance, ‘Watch this 30-minute-long video 10 times’), is a recipe for frustration.

We’ve also found surprise or ‘fun’ achievements to be remarkably effective. One of the most lauded examples of this on the Academy LMS is the ‘Early Bird’ achievement, which learners can receive for logging onto the platform between 2am-7am. Whilst we don’t encourage late night/early morning learning binges, this achievement does act as a great conversation piece.

2. Expert Status

Michael Gazzaniga, a renowned neuroscientist, once noted: ‘When you get up in the morning, you do not think about triangles and squares and these similes that psychologists have been using for the past 100 years. You think about status. You think about where you are in relation to your peers.’

Amen. Applying a level structure to your learning platform, or a unique ‘status’ to individual learners, can be a great way to reward your social champions. Do you have a ‘Sales Sage’ within your business? What about a Customer Champion? Or a Marketing Magician? If you’re using the Academy LMS, or another fully-loaded social learning tool, you’ll be able to grant these learners ‘Expert’ status.

This provides them with increased visibility and recognition, which should help to keep their pride levels topped-up. This will help you to cut the attrition rate of your brightest and best and will give your other learners a focal point for any questions they have relating to particular topics. That sounds like a win-win to us!

3. Groups, XP, And Leaderboards

Learning works best when it’s delivered with pinpoint focus. You wouldn’t tip a bucket of information over a learner and hope that some of the important stuff sticks. Learning happens around certain specific topics and at various experience-levels, because the more relevant it is to the learner in question, the better chance it has of enduring.

It’s a lot easier to manage the flow of knowledge throughout your organization, if you have (for example) learning groups for ‘Sales Presentations’, ‘Creating Proposals’, and ‘Territory Management’, rather than simply having a super group for ‘Sales’. This facilitates more focused and downright better conversations. Your learners are no longer fumbling around in the dark. They’ve got clearly lit information silos that they’re able to tap into at any point.

On the Academy LMS, we take things a step further by incentivizing group activity. Individual learners earn ‘contribution points’ for sharing content, answering questions and picking up ‘Likes’ on their posts. In other words, they’re rewarded for the quantity and quality of their contributions.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. The more points they earn, the higher up the group’s ‘Top Contributor’ board they appear. As a result, learners are incentivized to share their knowledge and Admins are quickly able to see who the experts are within various subject matter areas. Neat, huh?

4. Manager Badges

Back in 2009, a Towers Watson report found that a ‘strong manager performance’ in ‘recognizing employee performance increases’ staff ‘engagement by almost 60%’. That’s no small sum. As such, it’s important that your social learning tool provides an opportunity for manager feedback and praise.

There are numerous feedback options available on the Academy LMS, including ‘Manager Praise Badges’. This functionality lets managers bequeath their learners with personalized virtual rewards. When they see one of their team members actively engaging with their social learning program (by sharing some great extracurricular learning content, for example), managers are now able to reward them with a unique badge and a personalized message.

This kind of personal touch from a person of hierarchical importance lets your learners know that they’re doing the right thing. More than that, however, it lets them know that their actions are being recognized by those in positions of power.

5. Rewards

Virtual rewards like ‘Badges’ and ‘Achievements’ are all well and good (in fact, they’re brilliant), but let’s not forget about real world rewards. In fact, one of the quickest ways to generate intellectual capital within your organization is to create a meaningful rewards package (usually combining gamification and real world rewards), for those who are willing to share information.

Vouchers, coupons and tickets to events all work well, but you don’t need to break the bank to reward your learners. Check out this post for some ideas to help you put together a compelling rewards package on a tight budget. Soon enough you’ll have created an army of social champions champing at the bit to collaborate with each other.

From that point on, your social learning program will be unstoppable Social Is Super: How Online Learning Can Embrace The 70:20:10 Model.

Related Articles:

  1. Free eBook – Social Is Super: How Online Learning Can Embrace The 70:20:10 Model
  2. 7 Ways To Save Your Learning Program Using Social Media
  3. 6 Sure-Fire Signs You Have Created An Informal Learning Strategy
  4. Social Is Sexy: 11 Reasons Why You Need An Informal Learning Strategy
eBook Release: Growth Engineering Learning App
Growth Engineering Learning App
Introducing Growth Engineering Learning App, the world’s most advanced mobile application for organisational learning. It places unlimited potential right where your learners need it — their pockets! 🔥