Social learning is something that goes on naturally in every organization, David James, Learning Strategist with Looop, said to HRZone. The key for learning and design specialists is to tap into this powerful resource and amplify it within the existing learning culture.
James calls social learning, “The very essence of evolution: becoming transformed by our efforts to respond to the demands of the environment.” He warns that learning and development professionals have become too caught up in the focus on scaling traditional learning and classroom learning into results-driven content and e-learning. However, the only real way to influence employee behavior is through social learning.
By harnessing technology that’s readily available (mobile apps and consumer electronics), learning can become much more social. He advises that this is much more measurable than other learning formats that only track attendance, completion, and assessments.
The nature of learning is to develop skills that can support workplace success, and a great deal of it comes from applying new concepts to real-world situations where peers are present. If learning is enabled by social tools, then it’s more meaningful and learners have a chance to practice within actual situations that may arise in their work life.
Human beings generally learn better when supported by peer feedback and hands-on experience. Mobile devices allow students to learn concepts while in the safety of a social environment, and then immediately apply new principles to improve their work behaviors.
James explains how learning and design professionals can utilize readily available technology to foster social learning. Video is a powerful way to make learning more social and personal. Tapping into the expertise of subject matter experts and having them be part of the initial planning phase of training content is another way to bring more social learning into the mix.