Social Learning - Strategies

Many companies have started implementing a lot of best practices that help incorporating social learning in workplace. Many of these practices are developed keeping in focus some clear objectives. These objectives are result-oriented learning, increasing creativity through imaginative approaches to work, and connect with people on real-time issues.

To meet these objectives, companies have come up with the following strategies −

Strategy 1 − Focus on Learning

Many social learning tools are just social networking tools or social media forums in reality, that don’t have a clear, focus-driven approach to learning. Most of the times, they are just randomly written articles that don’t directly address any problem. The intent is not to learn, but in expanding their membership base.

Social Learning Tools must provide specific learning programs. The objectives should be to help people realize their learning goals. People using social learning tools must get real-time assistance when they need it. People must collaborate on similar ideas to reach a faster and more efficient conclusion. A critical factor to consider is the structure provided within them. The aim should be to provide result-oriented career-specific learning that can be compared with corporate training standards.

Lastly, people should be given the freedom to learn as per their convenience, without anybody guiding them through a structured flow. This gives the learners the control to develop their knowledge on the areas of their choice and gain expertise on that.

Strategy 2 − Quitting Traditional Learning Methods

Companies who want to associate social learning with their workplace have now started to add LMS (Learning Management System) software as a social feed. However, this is not a step that sufficiently addresses the concern of the employees. These social feeds only provide for an instructor or subject matter expert to put a query across to, but that is not enough.

The social aspect of learning needs to have provisions where people could discuss the answers with their colleagues and see whether such solutions have had success in other real-time implementations. These provisions should allow people to have conversations before a training, and after that as well.

Strategy 3 − Structure Learning on Real-life Scenarios

Companies realize that hardly anyone would be interested in taking time out of their busy schedule to sit in a training where they are taught on something irrelevant to their jobs. Many people won’t like to spend time after work in a place where they are not learning something that directly improves their performance, or something that doesn’t have a direct relation to their work responsibility.

People need experts and experienced peers to share scenario-based information, as well as giving answers to questions that might arise exactly at the time they will be needed. That will help these professionals to get very specific and exact answers that address the situations precisely. This reduces the time they look around on bogus sources for answers, and helps them doing their jobs quicker and better.

Social Learning experts stress on the need to treat every single professional as an individual who will have his own pace of working and giving output. By treating everyone asking a query as a unique person, the learning becomes personalized and customized to the needs and specification of the individual employee.

Strategy 4 − Change in Attitude toward Learning

Many companies are yet to fully embrace social learning as they lack a clear understanding of the positive impact it can have on their business. This is where companies who have witnessed significant improvement in their company’s bottomlines need to step forward and share their experience, and provide a clear idea that social learning not only improves the soft skills of an employee, but also delivers on business generation and profits.

People need to realize that Social Learning is not some out-of-box, experimental practice that is being implemented to gauge its effects. Social learning comes naturally to people and that has been the case for centuries. We are only engaging technology into it and making the experience faster, smoother and better.

Prolinnova, a multi-stakeholder program, focuses on highlighting the dynamics of indigenous farming techniques by promoting local innovation in agriculture. The idea is to provide a forum where the farming techniques handed over to farmers from their forefathers would be compared with scientific techniques using empirical data, and the ones that are better will be practiced.

A farmer-led Innovation Fair held last year is one example of the work that Prolinnova does using social learning-type approaches. The fair was organized by farmers themselves, as it made them familiar with a reliable support group beyond their immediate network.