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Organizational Readiness: 5 simple steps for effective social learning

Have you ever discovered new information by simply observing someone else’s behavior either through the internet or face-to-face? If so, then you’ve participated in social learning. This type of learning is commonly practiced outside of the classroom, either informally or on-the-job. Not only is it preferred by most employees, it has proven to be extremely beneficial for both employees and employers.

Having a positive social learning environment helps create solutions for three common issues that are critical to the success of a business, including:

  • Decreasing company training costs by encouraging employees to generate friendlier, more personalized learning content.
  • Improving the company’s return on learning investment by shortening the “training” stage.
  • Producing an effective workforce that responds quickly to customers and the marketplace.

By following five simple steps, you can easily tie this effective learning method into your business strategy and impact how your company operates.

How to help ensure social learning success

Going from a classroom learning environment to a collaborative learning environment is a major change for many businesses. Implementing social learning into the formal job process, with incentives and rewards to support the efforts made, will help make the transition smoother. This isn’t about simply introducing Yammer or Jostle. Rather, it’s about encouraging a culture of collaboration and learning from each other through both in-person and through technology.

You can support this through proper planning, assessing needs, testing proven concepts, marketing and analyzing the outcome.

Make plans

To plan for better social learning, you first need a solid understanding of how your employees currently perform. Work alongside leaders to conduct a business case study. Through this, you’ll discover opportunities to enhance future employee performance. Be sure to “market” these opportunities so the business can take action and support your case.

Assess

Look at the work that’s being done and how it affects other aspects of the business. Rather than only looking at the technologies (like social networking tools), assess learner and business needs that the technologies are geared toward. Ideally, you would leverage existing tools (technical and non-technical) that can support social learning.

Use proven concepts

Use social learning concepts that have proven successful with other businesses, along with a pilot test that includes a representative sampling of your employees. Make sure to test the content, technology, learning networks, etc.

Market the test

A successful pilot test can drum up enthusiasm about the company. Use marketing techniques and senior management to boost awareness of the pilot test so that more people will want to be involved.

Analyze

Watch how your business applies these social learning techniques and note what techniques work best and which don’t work. This will be useful for future social learning methods.

What to expect with a social learning environment

A successful social learning environment can have a positive impact on how your learners absorb information. It encourages participation, is cost-efficient, individualized for learners and highly effective.

Save time and money

Experts spend a substantial amount of time and money gathering the right material for training courses. Using informal learning for a collaborative social learning environment can result in more effective learning overall.

Individualized learning

In a collaborative and social learning environment, the learning experience is more specific to each learner’s needs. When specific interests and personal needs are considered, employees will have a greater willingness to learn.

Active learning environment

This environment encourages learners to be responsive and active. There are several basic skills training, e-learning and classroom experiences that are affordable and efficient for building common skills and expectations.

A smart way to learn

Needs are ever changing and businesses have to deal with all kinds of stressors on a regular basis. A high-performing staff can make a big difference in how a business handles these stressors. Today, social learning is one way to build the constant high-performance foundation every business needs.

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