Why Social Learning Is The Need Of The Hour

Using Social Learning In Your eLearning Program

Social learning has become quite the "big" buzzword in the eLearning industry in the past half a decade or so. But what is it, and why is it the need of the hour? Well, there’s a simple reason for it. The social learning theory says that people learn by observing and imitating others. In simpler words, it is the most natural form of learning, where a learner learns from as well as with other learners. Other learning models, such as the 70:20:10 model, also say that 70% of what we learn comes from observing others, 20% comes from interacting with others, and only 10% is derived from traditional learning methods. As human beings become more social through the use of technology, and seem to enjoy it, it seems like the amalgam of social learning and technology (in the form of eLearning) is a quite effective tool to train and develop employees. Social learning is the need of the hour because it helps the acquisition of knowledge in a natural way, while it can still be complemented by and with technology. But, before you implement social learning into your employee Learning and Development program, you need to know how to use it and the benefits it can offer your organization. Let’s have a look at those.

1. It Boosts Learner Interaction And Learner Expression

Traditional classroom training had one big advantage over eLearning until a few years back. It allowed learners to express themselves by interacting with instructors/trainers as well as with their colleagues. But now, through the implementation of social learning, even eLearning offers the opportunity for learners to express themselves and interact with others through forums and discussion boards on social media sites. There are also various video conferencing tools that can be used by learners to interact with each other. When you provide learners the opportunity to express themselves, it gives them the opportunity to learn through interaction, enabling them to share experiences, ideas, things learned as well as solutions to problems.

2. It Fosters Healthy Competition

As mentioned before, human beings love to be social and when they do, they like to discuss what they do. And, when they discuss that, comes the question: “Who did it better?” Competition is thus, in our genes and so is the gratification of winning. Social learning can be used to play to the spirit of competition and winning in every human being when implemented using gamification in eLearning. Leaderboards with a point system are a great way to ensure that employees engage in a healthy competition to see who comes out at the top, which motivates them to learn better by attempting their eLearning courses better. Weekly toppers can be given a tangible reward or even an intangible reward, like a badge, to keep them motivated as learning also occurs through the observation of rewards. And behaviors that are rewarded will most likely persist.

3. It Improves Collaboration Between Employees

Collaboration is one of those desirable qualities in an employee that is underrated. A team of mediocre employees who can collaborate easily to perform a task will give you better results than a team of hardcore professionals who just cannot work together as one. Give your employees eLearning courses that allow them to work as a team, and you’ll see that learning increases automatically, and with it, productivity. There are eLearning exercises such as jigsaw activities where learners solve components of a large project in groups and then bring their work together to form the whole project, which can be used to improve collaboration among employees. Social learning will, at the very least, give you a multi-skilled group of team players who can’t help but share their knowledge with each other.

Social learning is the need of the hour because it empowers learners by giving them the opportunity to learn together, which creates a sense of belonging, a sense of being a part of something bigger as well as a sense of support from other learners. The benefit of social learning in business thus cannot be ignored. If implemented correctly, it can help organizations obtain benefits. Using social learning in your eLearning program would be a wise move for corporate organizations who wish to come out ahead in the market.

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