How To Incorporate The Social Learning Theory Into Extended Enterprise Employee Online Training
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6 Ways Of Using The Social Learning Theory For Extended Enterprise Employee Online Training

It can get lonely out there. Remote sales teams, vendors, and franchisees may feel like they’re out of the loop or disconnected from the community. The physical distance becomes a barrier that they can’t break down. Fortunately, you can incorporate the social learning theory into extended enterprise employee online training to bridge the emotional divide. Social learning is all about grabbing their attention, presenting favorable behaviors, and encouraging partners to replicate them on the job, as well as fostering social interactions that lead to meaningful change and self-reflection. So, how you can integrate this model into your external partner online training program and build a stronger training culture?

eBook Release: Social Learning In The Workplace
eBook Release
Social Learning In The Workplace
Find out what social learning is and how you can implement it in the workplace.

1. Troubleshooting Discussion Forums

Give external partners the chance to discuss important topics or work challenges with peers via the online forum. For example, one of your remote sales employees is about to meet with a client, but they’re unsure about the new product line or need some pitching pointers. They login to the forum to get help from experienced co-workers and possibly even try to gain insider info about the client. Especially if another external partner has dealt with the company before and understands their buying habits -maybe they’ve had a negative experience with clients in the past and can help others avoid the same mistakes.

2. Partner-Hosted Events

Invite partners to host their own live events and share their unique insights with the extended team. Social learning theory involves a high level of collaboration and communication. Live events give remote workers the opportunity to ask questions, discuss challenges, and show off their expertise. They’re able to spread knowledge around the global team and facilitate personal reflection. For instance, the webinar prompts one of your partners to evaluate their problem solving or interpersonal skills based on the speaker’s anecdotes. The host can even conduct a question and answer session at the end to improve comprehension, or provide follow up resources attendees can explore on their own time.

3. Do/Don’t Demos

Demos are the epitome of social learning theory in extended enterprise employee online training. They show partners exactly what to do and which mistakes to avoid. Then those partners organize the information and replicate the process in the real world. They also assign meaning and put everything into context. Start with the correct way to perform the task then highlight negative behaviors and responses. For example, a customer call center employee must greet the caller then ask them for their ID number. Walk them through every step of the process so that they can follow along. Then showcase everything that can go wrong and how to prevent it, such as not veering too far off script or addressing them by their customer number instead of their name.

4. Targeted Facebook Groups

Launch a Facebook group for specific online training topics or job roles. As an example, your remote sales team has a separate group than customers or suppliers. The goal is to give external partners a supportive space to voice their opinions and ask questions, or upload resource links they think others may find useful. It’s closed, so they don’t have to worry about their private thoughts escaping onto the internet where clients or co-workers can read them. Post a weekly prompt to get the discussion going and moderate the discussion to keep it on track. Every group should be aware of the collective aim and communication guidelines. For instance, the primary goal is to improve sales performance or resolve a common compliance issue. In fact, you might want to pin the objectives to the top of the page and update them frequently.

5. Skill-Based Serious Games

Who can resist a well-crafted game that imparts crucial skills? The social learning model is beneficial in extended enterprise employee online training because it sets a positive example. It gives partners all the info they need to improve productivity and align with the company vision. Serious games allow them to immerse in real-world challenges and test their real-world reactions, minus the risk of interacting with a difficult customer who can’t seem to make up their mind, for instance. The remote sales employee must actively listen go their needs, identify the best product, then pitch it to them. Each level of the game involves a different aspect of this process so that the employee training participant can hone their talents, as well as identify personal areas for improvement.

6. Remote Coaching

Peer coaching and mentoring is a top choice for external partner online training because it provides one-on-one support. Live chats, video conferencing, and closed groups can keep the communication open and allow partners to share personal experiences. It’s more structured that online forums and social media groups, given that mentors/mentees enter into a contract, even if it’s simply an agreement to work toward a common goal or bridge a performance gap. They meet on a regular basis to talk about emerging challenges and evaluate progress, as well as exchange resources or feedback.

Social learning theory can extend into every aspect of your online training program. From onboarding to performance management. However, it’s particularly useful in external partner training because it reduces feelings of isolation. Remote staffers know they have all the support they need to build skills and bridge gaps. As well as master favorable behaviors that help them seal more deals and uphold company policy. So, incorporate serious games, targeted groups, and peer-based coaching to make everyone feel like they’re part of the team.

Wondering what social learning is and how you can implement it in the workplace to motivate employees, facilitate knowledge sharing and talent development? Download our eBook Social Learning In The Workplace: How To Cultivate A Collaborative Online Training Culture and get to expose all the common myths around social learning!

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