12 features of supporting social collaboration in the workplace

I am often asked how to support social collaboration in the workplace. As I showed in my recent blog post, there are some big differences between learning in an e-business and learning in a social/collaborative business.

So it is not just about adding new social approaches or social media into the training “blend”, supporting social collaboration is underpinned not only by new technologies but by a new mindset.  In other words, it means ..

1 – moving from a focus on organising and managing training (which includes e-learning and blended learning) FOR others, to helping  individuals and teams address their OWN performance problems.

2 – recognising that most learning already happens in the workplace – informally and socially – as people connect and work with one another – as well as outside the organisation in their professional networks. It means encouraging everyone to take responsibility for their own continuous learning and professional development.

Want to find out more, then in October we are running the Social media for professional development workshop at the Social Learning Centre.

3 – helping people work and learn effectively in this networked era (and within a social business), by developing their own Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) skills. PKM is “a set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world & work more effectively”, and is therefore a fundamental skill in social and collaborative learning, as Harold Jarche explains in PKM is our part of the social learning contract.

Want to find out more about PKM, then the Personal Knowledge Management workshop runs through September.

4 – identifying the underlying root cause of  a learning or performance problem by working with the teams involved in order to identify the best solution that will work for them – not just by organising what is in effect a “social training” solution for them.

Want to find out more, then the Moving from training delivery to performance support workshop runs in December.

5 – measuring success in terms of performance outcomes – not in testing against learning objectives, or in course completions or “bums on seats” in classrooms.

6 – realising that even when there is a need for more structured approaches to collaborative learning, it is not just telling people to learn socially, but encouraging them to have a more active part in either  facilitating or supporting the process and sharing their knowledge and experiences.

See my recent article, Facilitating collaborative learning: a recipe for success, which describes our experiences at the Social Learning Centre

7 – recognising that even when there is a need for new content, this doesn’t have to be provided top-down, in sophisticated formats, but may better be achieved by helping teams create their own content and share it with one another. It also doesn’t need to be moderated or managed by L&D, but in fact should by moderated by the group members themselves.

8 – providing support to  groups to build and sustain their OWN communities of practices – rather than doing it for them, forcing them to participate in them and trying to monitor and tracking their activity

Want to find out more Online Communities? This workshop runs in February 2013

9 – helping teams to work collaboratively, sharing knowledge and narrating their work – by modelling the new collaboration and community skills. So it’s not just training teams how to use the social tools, but helping them to use them in the context of carrying out their work.

See Harold Jarche’s article on Modeling not shaping. In March 2013, the Social Learning in Business workshop runs)

10 – fostering connections across the organisation to build collective intelligence – which might start in onboarding/induction but will be an ongoing process

11 – understanding that the technology that powers collaborative learning in the social workplace needs to be one that enables conversations, knowledge sharing and collaboration (not manages learning) and in fact needs to be the VERY SAME that is used to power the work in the organisation – not a separate learning management system or platform that tracks “learning” activity in a few courses, or traps knowledge in a separate system from where work takes place.

See my article Using a collaboration platform for brilliant learning

12 – appreciating that the role of L&D is therefore much more about managing an enterprise community than managing a learning management system, and involves a whole range or activities (including those described above).

See my article The Role of the Enterprise Learning Community Manager for more about this role. If you want to find out more, the ELCM Workshop runs in May 2013

As you can see, the online workshops at the Social Learning Centre (led by Harold and me) will provide a whole year’s worth of professional development activities geared to Learning in the Networked Era  – and how you can support social and collaborative learning both inside and outside the organisation.

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