The concept of social learning is relatively old. Since the beginning, humans have depended on each other for learning. We learn by interacting, communicating, and imitating others. Nearly 70% of all our learning is through social and collaborative means. Psychologist Albert Bandura called it the social learning theory. When applied in edTech, the learning approach offered the ultimate workplace learning solution - a social learning platform.
Following Bandura's model, we see that social learning operates in 4 primary steps; Attention or observing our surroundings, retaining the information, reproducing or imitating, and motivation to keep going. Since we are all social beings, communication and the exchange of ideas are an integral part of our overall growth.
What is a social learning platform?
According to studies, it appears that the total online course completion rate falls well under 13%. This depicts an unfortunate situation. But moreover, it also tells the underlying factors that result in such poor stats. Lack of interactive content, passive learning models, and lack of motivation are the primary reasons.
On the contrary, we also see a high activity level on social media platforms with the same content. This suggests that the problem is not necessarily lack of motivation but the dull ways of delivering the content. Consequently, a solution was offered in the form of social learning platforms.
A social learning platform is a smart solution to passive workplace training. It incorporates the interaction model of social media platforms with online learning to develop effective training programs. This way, such platforms differ from your typical learning management systems. The key idea here is to provide social context for better learning and engagement.
What's it worth?
Why invest in a social learning platform when your organization already has a learning platform? What more can such a platform offer? These are valid questions. To answer them, the following are some key benefits to help you understand the importance of social learning in workplaces.
- According to the online learning initiative by Harvard business school, it was found that social learning results in higher course completion rates. In fact, a hefty 85%. The project required learners to create interactive profiles on the platform so that other learners could engage with them. With this slight change, learners reported higher work satisfaction and learning motivation.
- Furthermore, based on the same premise, social learning also results in thriving employee engagement. By creating communication channels, devoid of cut-throat competition, employees end up fostering a sense of community.
- Since social learning platforms follow the 70/20/10 learning approach, it also helps improve retention rates. The model suggests that 70% of all our learning occurs via social means, and one tends to retain the information better when learning alongside others.
- Mckinsey Global Institute - social technologies can raise company productivity by 20-25%
- Lastly, as per the findings of Mckinsey Global Institute, investing in social learning technologies can raise company productivity by up to 20 to 25%.
What makes a social learning platform?
When looking for a social learning platform, keep an eye on this list of features. They are central to such platforms and make them stand out amongst other online learning platforms.
Having a discussion and FAQ page is a must for these platforms. It is to address any query that workers may have and fill in existing knowledge gaps within the organization. Think of it more like crowd-sourcing for ideas. Not only is it an interactive way of resolving issues but also a time-saving way to do so.
This particular feature helps learners to respond to each other's progress. In doing so, they also develop crucial independent thinking skills that help shape their opinions. Moreover, it is a mechanism for delivering constructive and regular feedback to your colleagues.
Forget about all those naysayers telling you that learning is no fun and games. In fact, the best kind of learning is all fun and games. Interactive assignments and activities can improve learner motivation and participation significantly. Furthermore, by setting up reward or point systems, you can encourage workers to pay more attention to workplace training.
The success of social learning platforms depends on the swiftness of communication between the participants. For this reason, it is necessary to have solid communication channels such as Slack, live chat features, and video conferencing apps for real-time discussions. This feature is a must-have in the remote work environment.
Social learning is all about collaboration. Therefore, your social learning platform must offer tools with which users can interact with each other virtually in the same way as they do in person. Some handy tools include multiple authoring, document sharing, and whiteboards. With their help, several users can co-work on the same project at one time.
SCORM is a set of technical standards that enable sharing of third-party content and lets LMSs collaborate. With its help, users can easily share and communicate learning content between multiple sites and platforms. Furthermore, you can even sync content from other creators with your programs. Teachfloor offers its users the ability to upload SCORM files with ease.
Social media integration
Sticking to the name, social media integration is an obvious requirement for social learning platforms. They offer a relaxed environment for learners to communicate and network. Moreover, by synchronizing their social media profiles with learning platforms, learners can get a clearer perspective of their colleagues. The idea is to bring people together, and it's all about that.
How to select a social learning platform for your organization?
Thanks to technological progress, users now have multiple options to choose from. But often, having more options results in confusion. To help you out, here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you search for your social learning platform match.
Begin by jotting down your goals. What do you need such a platform for? Who will be the target learners and users? What are the key features that you require for your organizational needs? These questions will help you picture your needs to better address them.
Proceed with setting a budget and comparing the shortlisted platforms according to your needs and price points. Compare and contrast their value for money and select the one which fits the criteria best.
Social learning platforms offer the ease and engagement models of social media platforms with the seriousness of learning management systems. They act as bridges, diminishing gaps in interactive learning. To all the complaints of decreasing completion rates, such platforms are the ultimate answer. They prove that workplace learning can be equally fun and educational.
Here's hoping that with this article your confusion concerning LMS and social learning platforms is resolved. While you are at it, check out what hybrid cohort-based learning platform are about. And see for yourself which learning platform fits your needs.