What Industry Says

Social Learning has been designed with the realization that each person’s grasping power and speed is personal and unique. Their needs also vary depending on the levels of expertise they are pursuing. Someone might be studying Geology, as he wants to be a geologist, whereas someone could be studying it just to clear his college assessment.

There are people who might need more time to learn something, compared to others who would take lesser time to understand the same thing. When you have a classroom full of students with all these varying needs and requirements, it becomes imperative that an innovative way of learning is implemented that can impact their understanding of the subjects and ultimately their careers in a more positive way.

The Case Study of URS

A recent example of this type of Social Learning can be found in URS, a construction and technical services company with numerous clients world over. They were working on a project when a breakthrough technology was announced, and the management decided to share critical instructions on implementing this technology among its 8000 employees working in seven separate business groups, spread across six major offices, while they are working on multiple project sites and facilities.

The Case Study of URS

URS opted for River, a web-based knowledge sharing and social learning tool developed by Triple Creek. It connects you to learning engagements and provides you learning and collaborative tools, which you can use to share information with others. Because of this software, all of URS’ employees were able to access structured learning, irrespective of their job location and designation. Different departments and teams within the organization are now exchanging technical knowledge and by opening up relevant online communities to obtain business solutions. This has helped small-to-medium companies with limited resources to also connect with a network of experts and advisors.

URS's energy and construction division managed to accomplish these objectives by implementing its social learning program that they have named as the URS Knowledge Network. All of this has led industries to wake up to the fact that social learning is the only way to get larger assignments handled through collaborative effort and interactive technology.

Interactive Technology

In the MIT Sloan Management Review Report, it was observed that the four main reasons organizations aren’t open to the concept of social learning are −

  • They have many pre-existing priorities.
  • They haven’t developed a strategy for it.
  • They don’t have a proven profitable precedent.
  • They have conflicting and competing operations.

Experts claim that many of these reasons have been given by companies who are start-ups, or small/medium scale companies, who haven’t diversified or set up operations in many different countries. Both these workplaces will not have a lot of exposure to challenging situations, as they would be content to operate within their comfort zone. However, when the same businesses face a situation at work that they won’t have any expertise on, the first place they would look for solutions is online. And when they do that, they automatically get initiated to the world of social learning.