7 Features To Look For In Your New Social Learning Platform And Why

Social Learning Platforms: Must-Have Features
Summary: Social learning is possibly the most informal kind of knowledge acquisition. Can you viably use LMS software to make social training more effective?

Must-Have Features Of An LMS For Social Learning

There’s an online joke about parents who warn their kids to stay away from "bad influences." But sometimes, the kid the parents are warning off is actually the "derailer." This misguidance is largely the result of social learning. Behaviors are picked up from others who are setting a negative example. In the workspace, you’d prefer any subliminal impact to be positive. You don’t want eager, over-achieving new hires tamping down their energy and enthusiasm to match jaded workmates. Likewise, these same new hires might bring an unfavorable perspective with them that hinders coworker performance. The thing to keep in mind is that habits are contagious. Which social learning platform features should you look for to build teamwork and keep negative behaviors at bay?

eBook Release: Social Learning In The Workplace
eBook Release
Social Learning In The Workplace
Discover everything you need to implement a social learning strategy today.

1. Video Conferencing Tools

Observation is generally passive, but you can choose to make it active, too. As long as you keep it casual and informal, it will still retain the advantages of social learning. That said, following your colleagues around can get annoying, and it might even interfere with work tasks. So instead, you could designate webcam training sessions. The employee can watch their colleague perform a task via video conference. Or they could have a timed conversation about a given topic. They could even prepare a set of Q&As for their video mentor. Video conferencing can be used for anything from JIT advice to office tours.

2. Social Media Integration

Social media platforms used to be seen as workplace distractions. But the modern workplace has now leaned in to their benefits. It’s still awkward when your boss "friends" or "follows" you. But if a colleague emails you and then instant messages you, it’s clear which missive you’ll respond to quicker—and more positively as long as the text doesn’t say "Check email !!!" They might be more receptive if you instead send them a witty "You’ve got mail" GIF. For easier access, ensure your LMS is integrated into your brand social media accounts. And that staff members can—voluntarily—link their social media accounts to the LMS.

3. Convenient Notifications

Remember our earlier example about text follow-ups to official communication? You can formalize the process by building in notifications. Customize them to ensure they’re helpful rather than annoying. For example, when employee training participants are doing a group project, you could send reminders to keep them on task. You can also distribute notifications about meetings, events, and new online training content uploaded on the LMS. Just be careful not to spam your team.

4. Collaborative Spaces

If you’d like to study someone and mimic their behavior, you need proximity. But you need to do it in a way that doesn’t interrupt their flow. Digitally, you might do this via screen sharing apps, virtual monitoring, or shared documents. The latter (e.g., Google Docs) allows you to make changes in real time. So, an employee getting assistance in report writing, for example, can see their work corrected as they go—although you should probably let them finish before you start marking. If the LMS has an audio module, you can talk them through the process, explaining the edits as you go. They’ll understand and adapt to your thought patterns and decision-making process.

5. Automated Reports

This should be a feature of any online training software. It allows L&D teams to review analytics, make sense of them, and present them in a comprehensible format. Reports could show which modes of social learning are yielding the best results. They can identify areas of weakness, and even suggest methods to improve them. They can be as basic as completion rates and online course duration, or as complex as heat maps and attention spans. By noticing when a learner’s attention lags during a video conference, trainers can adapt their delivery mode the next time.

6. Live Chat

Live chat lets employees see which peer mentors/coaches are available online so that they can get immediate guidance. For example, a more experienced coworker is ready to help them tackle a performance issue by sharing online training resources or insights. This a much more interactive and personal way to address online training challenges than simply hopping on the social media group.

7. In-Course Discussions

Opening the floor to peer-based dialogue can be a bit difficult if your workforce is all around the globe. However, in-course discussions allow them to speak their minds, share experiences, and help each other overcome obstacles. These forums are centralized on the LMS, which means you don’t have to use an external social learning platform to promote collaboration. Employees can also quickly share links, reminders, and other online training content to ensure that everyone gets the most from your online training program.

Platforms for social learning require certain features to help them work better. These features largely allow employee training participants to learn from trainers without compromising the trainer’s ability to do their job. It’s a crucial factor because unlike more formal training, the trainer is a colleague rather than a teacher. These trainers mentor employees in skills they’re familiar with and good at, but training isn’t necessarily part of their job. But an LMS for social learning also allows your employees to become mentors, coaches, and sources of support. So, what features make this process smoother? Webcams, social media linkage, reminders, joint—virtual—workspaces, and automated reports are just a few helpful examples. Explore social learning software and you’re sure to find more. You should also look for a social learning platform that features built-in course discussion and live chat to facilitate free-flowing knowledge sharing.

Interested in finding out more about implementing a sound social learning strategy in your organization? Download the eBook Social Learning In The Workplace and discover how to improve workplace performance with an LMS for social learning. Encourage peer-based support and create a workplace environment of trust and mentorship by choosing the right social learning software.