10 things to remember about social learning (and the use of social media for learning)

Yesterday I listened into the #lscon Twitter stream for Learning Solutions conference in Orlando, Florida. There was some discussion about social learning, so I tweeted a few of my own thoughts. I’ve been asked to repeat them in a blog post here, so here are some of my tweets plus a few more points. As  I’m not constrained by 140 characters I’ve added a few more words to some of them.

  1. Social learning is not what you make people do (as in training) – but something that happens naturally and spontaneously every day – at work as well as at home.
  2. Social learning is the lifeblood of all businesses.
  3. Social learning is a natural process – you can encourage it but you can’t (en)force it. Social media can only help to support and enhance it. The presence of social media doesn’t necessarily mean social learning will take place.
  4. With social learning it’s about thinking how to support it as it happens naturally and continuously – not how you can create, design, deliver and manage it.
  5. Since we learn socially all the time the best social learning platform in the workplace is the one you already use for collaborative working – this might be a social intranet but it might also be some other social tool or network – but it’s not a learning platform/management system that traps knowledge and experiences in a system separate from, and outside of the workflow.
  6. Social learning is not about “plan and organise ” to “command and control” – but about “encourage and support” to “connect and collaborate”
  7. Supporting social learning means helping to build the framework for conversations and discussions around team and group activities.
  8. You can’t train people to be social or how to learn socially – you can only show people how to work and learn collaboratively.  It means a mindshift from a focus on shaping (training) to modelling (coaching).
  9. The most successful social learning stories are coming not from the ad hoc use of social media in e-learning or classroom training – but from organisations that are supporting more effective learning in the workflow via sharing of knowledge and experiences as part of the everyday work.
  10. Since most social learning in an organisation takes place outside of training (the formal, structured organised, learning that takes place in classrooms or in online courses) – in the flow or work, if you are not supporting it, then you are missing huge opportunities to have an impact in your organisation.

I have some more which I’ll leave for another post.

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Jane Hart

Founder at C4LPT
Jane Hart is an independent Workplace Learning Advisor, Writer and International Speaker. Every year she compiles the Top 100 Tools for Learning activity. She also offer a number of online workshops on modernising workplace learning. Find out more about Jane and her work.