Social Learning While Social Distancing
Digital (knowledge) exchange combats loneliness and boredom while in quarantine
Bedroom - kitchen - bathroom. That pretty much sums up the living space of the E-Learning Punk editorial team and the daily life of many people around the world. Coronavirus restricts us to our own four walls. For most, this is an unfamiliar situation. Usually always on the go, enjoying a large circle of friends and a range of hobbies to break the routine, many are now fighting boredom and isolation.
Yet, there is another way! This time is an opportunity for polishing your competence profile and finally getting started on that Spanish course or training your inner Zen master by practicing yoga and meditation. Trainers are increasingly offering virtual services to small groups via social media. Thanks to digital media, effective communication with the coach and other like-minded individuals always remains germ-free.
Companies are equally forced to step up the digitisation of their professional development measures. For this undertaking, they can leverage lessons learned from online trainers and social media gurus in relation to knowledge transfer and community exchange via livestream, Facebook groups and other platforms. Social learning is among the top e-learning trends in times of corona and social distancing.
Why should companies bank on social learning?
Social learning means learning supported by digital media while in exchange with other individuals. To this end, interaction between online learners must be facilitated. The crucial advantage: Interaction enhances reflection, promotes repetition and encourages scrutinisation of information. These processes help to anchor the learned material in the mind for a much longer period.
This is by far not the only way an organisation can benefit from social learning. Every employee has dormant knowledge – each of them in a different field. Better networking between this diverse brainpower means more decentralised knowledge exchange, enabling a faster, more acute corporate response. Each individual presents their knowledge while benefitting from everyone else’s knowledge. In our fast-moving times, this is a key competitive advantage.
Very importantly, this type of learning promotes soft skills like engagement, team spirit and strong communication skills – qualities that also play a crucial role in everyday working life.
Social learning means learning supported by digital media while in exchange with other individuals.
social learning scenarios in the business context
In social learning, knowledge is acquired by collaboratively finding and/or sharing insights and solutions in a digital environment. Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and many more – suitable tools are now a dime a dozen. HR departments, L&D professionals and managers are responsible for selecting the tools most appropriate for achieving the learning objective, and defining the organisational framework for social learning.
On the most basic level, companies can draw on three distinct social learning scenarios, each of which can be supported with a range of tools from various providers:
With proper planning including breaks, small group rooms and a focus on interaction, these are particularly well-suited as a substitute for formal face-to-face training.
Made famous by the private WhatsApp groups, they are primarily geared towards facilitating fast and informal information exchange.
In addition to giving access to experts on specific questions and providing a platform for discussions with the community, forums ensure that knowledge is collected and preserved.
tips for social learning
We want to share the following recommendations with anyone needing to push the digitisation of their professional development measures in times of corona and seeking to implement social learning:
No social learning without social collaboration
Make sure that learning takes place through interaction in teams.
Mix it, baby
Combine different scenarios and tools. Include both stationary and mobile learning.
Teach how to click
Prepare technical guidelines that explain proper operation of the social learning tools.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast
Create a learning culture in the organisation and set an example.
The next edition of E-Learning Punk is coming out next month, dedicated to the topic of “Immersive Learning”. Until then: Stay healthy and focused!
Infografic about Social Learning
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