6 Benefits of Social Learning & Collaborative Learning

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Learning from one another is what people have always done throughout human history, so ‘social learning and collaborative learning’ as a learning method is likely to be the oldest one in existence. Even if our approach to training and learning has evolved over time, we still inevitably learn from those we collaborate with.

“Learning is an experience, everything else is just information”

Albert Einstein

Learning doesn’t stop when ‘lesson time is over’

This statement is true even when we deal with employee training. Employees are generally comfortable teaching (e.g. coaching peers) and learning from one another, and they don’t stop learning once they leave the workplace.

The recent show of interest in topics such as social learning, community learning, coaching, peer reviews, etc. reveals that informal learning is not only accepted but also recognized as a huge opportunity by enterprises.

According to Brandon Hall Group, in the last two years the focus on social learning in organizations has increased dramatically (refer to the yellow bar in the graph below):

Brandon Hall Social and Collaborative Learning 2014 Studies
Brandon Hall Social Learning and Collaborative Learning 2014 Studies

If social learning has been always there, why has the focus on it increased now? Because technology is now mature enough to address the most common concerns regarding social learning in the workplace i.e. tracking, recognition, and security.

What’s more, social learning technologies now converge and integrate with performance and productivity systems, i.e, they are now full enterprise technologies.

Social learning technologies: 6 benefits

What kinds of benefits can employees and managers expect from implementing social learning technologies?

Social learning technologies have an huge impact on several enterprise core processes from recruiting, to training and developing talent. And what’s more, results are quickly measurable because social technologies have a direct and obvious effect on performance:

#1

No time wasted waiting to be trained (i.e. onboarding happens quicker!): imagine a situation where an employee can rely on peers to get answers to day-to-day issues from day one on the job. Scheduled training can occur at any time, but people don’t have to wait for it to start being productive.

#2

Ask questions and receive answers at the point of need: we know we have a problem to solve as in occurs in real time, and ideally we need an answer to solve it at that moment. Asking questions and testing solutions on actual problems in real time is the best way to learn a procedure.

#3

Take part, even if you are a passive learner: some employees may be intimidated by asking questions in classroom situations or during meetings. When using virtual channels this is much less of a problem, and those same employees are less likely to hold back asking and getting answers.

#4

Review and learn in your own time: when answers are readily available online they can be reviewed over and over again – until learning has taken place.

#5

Coach others, or just take part in whatever capacity you want: anyone can take part in a discussion, and at any level (whether fully engaged or not). An employee can simply read and “like” (approve of or vote up) a quote or an answer, while another employee can lead a discussion or even coach others. Employees are free to engage as they wish!

#6

Show your talent: if expertize has been developed, that knowledge can then be shared – contributions by senior team members (the ‘experts’) can be facilitated and encouraged by an environment that rewards top performers with measurable recognition. This can play a big role in growing talent in the organization.

What is the role of an LMS in this social landscape?

Elearning platforms are the most commonly used learning technologies within enterprises. Nonetheless, most, if not all, are developed to support (and boost) formal and structured training. Social learning is usually supported by a specific set of features for example, chat, forum, FAQs, blog, etc. But going beyond the “course” is often difficult. To get the most benefit from social learning, organizations need much more than just a set of features.

Docebo moves beyond the LMS to Learn. Coach. Share.

Docebo is developing new modules that go far beyond the role of the traditional LMS. These new modules facilitate informal, social and collaborative learning within the organization by giving full power to social features, enabling peer review and coaching, and extending to users the power to create content.

You can read about our upcoming release here, and this article provides further reading on whether the 70:20:10 model still has relevance in today’s learning organizations.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more!

Author: Valentina Piccioli

Valentina Piccioli is Docebo’s E-Learning Analyst has helped and supported many of the Docebo’s customers. Topics have included E-Learning, cloud-based solution deployment, and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to build integrated learning environments.