Social media is changing many aspects of our lives. Learning is no exception. Many people want to learn in a collaborative way and have their progress displayed publically online. That's why an increasing number of Learning and Development Managers want to use social media to complement their LMS solutions.
There are numerous way social learning can be implemented:
- collaborative tools/wikis can support group work and brainstorming
- class discussions held synchronously, and archived, using live chat and twitter
- class blogs for group discussion and group assignments
- social bookmarking of sites to support curation of team content
- utilising video (YouTube, Vimeo) and podcasting for multimedia assignments and discussions
- employees using engagement with business based social media
iLearning PLUS is social
iLearningPLUS provides various social learning capabilities, including:
A public user profile, so users can share their expertise and achievements across the business
Online chats, enabling tracked synchronous communication between students and instructors/administrators.
Threaded discussion forums (with moderation and attachments if needed) to support informal learning and knowledge management at the site, usergroup, or course levels.
Wikis, supporting learning through collaborative content developed jointly by users and administrators
Blog/RSS feeds, providing further content for learners
Personal course notes, which can be shared with others, according to rules set by the administrator
content ratings by users, enabling users to recommend courses to others, as well as provide feedback on good and bad points of the course. Again, according to rules set by the administrator.
In addition to its inherent social networking capabilities, iLearning PLUS provides integration with externally available social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In. Just how information is shared is fully configurable within the application. iLearning PLUS is also client application for Yammer (as well as SFDC's Chatter), the private social network tool used to aid collaboration within many businesses. That means your users can share discussions, invitations and outcomes within the timeline, keeping discussion within the business.
The benefits of Social Learning
Theory suggests that learning is a cognitive process that occurs in a social context. In other words, it will be less successful if it occurs in isolation. People crave rewards through feedback and encouragement. By sharing their achievements learners are more likely to achieve better outcomes and encourage others to do the same. It also facilitates reciprocal learning, where the course leader can share discussions, or a group of learners can achieve outcomes through a teamwork approach to learning.
The presence of a social learning program also means more useful data can be gathered on employees than is stored in convention HR systems. By getting workers to share voluntary data with co-workers, management can develop a clearer understanding of individuals in their organization.
It helps the individuals as well. When an employee use tags to identify an area of expertise and interests, update statuses, or connects with people of like skills and interests, they are building a work profile and network. This helps to build their network, brand, and reputation quicker; complete projects faster; and further develop their career.