6 Ways Social Learning In The Workplace Improves Employee Performance

LMS For Social Learning In Corporate Training
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Summary: Social learning isn’t necessarily tied to social media, though it can be. How can you best apply it to corporate training to improve employee performance and encourage peer-based support?

Benefits Of Implementing A Social Learning Strategy

The social learning theory suggests we learn from others—sometimes unintentionally—by observing, modeling, and mimicking. It involves memory because we commit their behavior to our mental schema. It also utilizes our attention because we have to focus on the person we’re observing, deliberately or subconsciously. Finally, there’s an element of motivation, which is what makes us "watch" our "teacher" in the first place. How can we engage these components and use them to improve workplace performance with an LMS for social learning?

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. Tap Into Peer-Based Support

In the activism space, we’re told you can’t describe yourself as an ally. It’s up to the minority to label you, based on how you respond to them. In the social learning space, you can’t label someone as a teacher. You, the employee training participant, will be impressed by how they carry themselves. Then you’ll silently observe them and learn from them. Or, depending on your work environment, you could directly ask them to mentor you. Either way, it allows employees to get positive support from their peers, with or without the involvement of management. This makes the workspace more cohesive. The trainer feels admired, which boosts their self-esteem and job satisfaction level, and the training participant gets better at tasks that matter to them.

2. Facilitate Knowledge Sharing

As a parent or spouse, we feel compelled to correct our partners and kids. Sometimes, we don’t even think about it. It’s a reflex. And it can sometimes backfire because your spouse may feel annoyed and your kids may suffer from "learned helplessness." They feel they can’t do anything right, so they goad you into doing it yourself. Sometimes subconsciously, but as they get older, it becomes a manipulation cycle. At work, it’s a little easier to resist the correction impulse because stepping in may seem unprofessional. Social learning gives you a more appropriate avenue to share knowledge. They may ask for help directly or you may notice them observing and take the opportunity to teach them. Context prevents anyone from feeling incompetent.

3. Formally Buddy Up Your Staff

Some workplace flaws are easy to spot and resolve. The intern might consistently misload the printer. Or they may be struggling through reports despite you taking them through multiple lessons. In such a case, as a superior, you can easily pair them with someone who does the job well. Have the employee training participant learn by watching their mentor, and ask the mentor to actively guide them and check in. This doesn’t have to be restricted to tasks. You can give each employee a go-to person they can approach when they’re stuck. Have the mentor initiate assistance as needed. This helps because employees are sometimes afraid to ask. They don’t want to risk looking foolish.

4. Encourage Online Study Groups

The social nature of online networking platforms makes them a helpful tool for social learning. A lot of us cringe at the idea of corporate social media groups, but they can be used for good. Instead of the usual spamming, keep things on topic. Once a day/week, pick a training topic and introduce it to the group. You could present it as a question to the most skilled team member. Invite others to chime in and moderate exchanges to keep them civil. The informal structuring could lead to effective knowledge exchange, and it’s a healthy ego boost for the "expert of the day." Just be sure to word questions in a way that allows everyone to get their turn to shine. For example, if today’s question is IT-based, tomorrow’s should be about finance.

5. Subtly Facilitate Mistake-Driven Learning

Employees usually don’t like to publicize their faults. Especially if they run the risk of losing face among their peers and managers. However, social learning creates a more supportive online training atmosphere. Your team is more likely to reach out to coworkers and ask for help if everyone is doing the same and it’s part of the culture. This facilitates mistake-driven learning by allowing them to identify their shortcomings through social interactions. For example, they might watch a peer perform the task or ask for advice about a customer issue. The response they get from their coworkers and the example they set can help employee training participants point out personal areas for improvement. Then use the LMS for social learning to address the pain points and improve performance.

6. Improve Team-Building

That supportive online training culture I talked about earlier extends into every aspect of the organization, including team-building. Employees are better equipped to work together to achieve a common goal since they already have experience in interacting with coworkers and giving/receiving eLearning feedback. As a result, they’re more likely to help one another overcome common challenges on the job, instead of watching their peers struggle and using it as an opportunity to advance their own careers, for example, trying to one up a coworker "saving the day" in front of a manager.

If social learning is pegged on potentially passive observation, how can it really enhance employee performance? Well, "monkey see, monkey do" is definitely a thing. So, if you’re observing the right primate, you’ll definitely pick up the right habits. But as an L&D professional, you can help nudge social learners toward suitable mentors by deliberately buddying them up. Create a nurturing environment where employees can freely ask colleagues for official or incidental mentorship. Use social media groups to structure these mentorship activities. And take turns "facilitating" the lesson so that everyone has their day in the spotlight in the LMS for social learning.

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.