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Social Learning – the future of training?


I’ve spent quite a lot of time this year looking at social learning. I actually think it has more potential for take-up than social recruiting, and could significantly change the way training is delivered and training is received.

The potential here is huge, and is the area I want to develop with the communities we have taken on with #Tru, namely Social Media Recruiting, The Recruiters Lounge and Recruitment Asia-Pacific.

Let me explain a little more about how I see social and collaborative learning developing and why.

 Firstly, it’s already happening in a less organised way. The advent of social media has created a real sense of community and sharing. There’s never been a time when it has been possible to connect with so many subject experts, gain access to their material, blogs, video etc and have direct contact. The walls  are down and the technology makes it easy to work together on learning projects.

There are lot’s of benefits as far as I can see to social learning.

 The 3 main ones are access at any time, cost and the opportunity to look at lots of view points and not be tied to one training company or trainer.

 Why use one training company when you have access to 1000’s of resources? The economics and learning opportunity don’t really make sense. I can get real time answers by using social media and reaching out for help.

I’ve always felt that the best training is delivered in-house by the business.
The turning point for social learning is the opportunity to set up in-house communities on-line for this purpose.

 Most recently I’ve been looking at Tribepad, Speachbobble and TribeHQ. These are corporate communities that link social activity, capture information and put it in one place as a corporate social platform. This really brings the internal training opportunity together in one place, you could call it the evolution of the intranet.

The best people to deliver training is the management of the business. They understand the business best and balance real life with theory. What has prevented this historically is a lack of material and process. Equally, in many organisations, training finishes at the end of the first year with little emphasis on development. Both these problems are addressed with a social learning community.

Here is my top 6 tips for social learning:

1: Develop your own video library. Create on-boarding and best practice video shorts. Use a platform like Talent On View to provide a branded secure area. Every time someone does something well, shoot a video on a flip cam. Cheap and comprehensive.

2: If you need to use external trainers, agree to record the session and put the handouts/resources on-line. That way you only need pay once. If they don’t want to play, plenty will.

3: Create a library of useful blogs, video’s, podcasts, slide-share presentations and free resources on-line. Write a tag-line and description for later search and store in a learning library. Allowing staff half an hour social media time a day allows for building a good reference library very quickly that continues to grow every day.

4: Maintain a subject expert log of people who can be useful information sources,that have proven to be good networkers and the best channel to connect on.

5: Include social learning in targets and objectives and regularly review development. For staff who prefer more active learning, look for competitions, learning games with an objective, webinars and record roll-plays for play back and evaluation. (I’m currently building an on-line training simulation for performance management and forecasting.)

6: If you want formal training, take a look at the latest offering from Redmos.com. I have taken a serious look at how this product has developed and the learning community they are building. I hope to do some more work with creator Dee Allan on this, as it blends workbooks, exercises, assessment and communities.

Hope this has given you some food for thought. I will be exploring this further in The Social Learning Track at #truUSA in April.

Be ambassadors for social learning.

Bill

7 comments on “Social Learning – the future of training?

  1. Great post, Bill. I am also interested in this area and posted on social learning over at XpertHR http://tinyurl.com/y98jmh7.

    I think the interesting thing for employers is that they already sit on lots of learning/training content and now there are tools (wikis, blogs, RSS etc) that enable them to share/update/reshape the content in line with the changing needs of the business.

    There is also a huge opportunity to better engage employees and reduce the cost of training – especially if there is less emphasis on instructor-led, classroom-based training.
    Social media tools now enable employers to

  2. Thanks Martin,
    I read your post and that extends on this theme, along with the links included. I think this could and should be a huge concept that caters for every learning style and replaces a lot of dated material.

  3. “For staff who prefer more active learning, look for competitions, learning games with an objective, webinars and record roll-plays for play back and evaluation.”

    You could argue that for any learning to be effective, it has to be active. It’s all very well showing someone how to do something, but you’ll get better return on your training investment if you get trainees to apply the theory, then offer meaningful feedback – whether from peers, managers or trainers etc.

    This human element is very often what pushes up the cost of corporate training, as it’s the trainers’ expertise or management time that you ‘pay’ for each time you run the training, rather than just the fee for the training materials.

  4. Bill, good article. However, you are describing directed learning . . . and/or a ‘place’ people can go to access information to ‘learn’ from real-time.

    This isn’t bad. However, there is a component to ‘learning’ far beyond where the information and knowledge exists.

    It’s about human-network structure. If you’re open to discussing, send me an email at jletourneau(at)OODAfive.com. Social Network Analysis can identify your “Organizational DNA” so that we can structure our human-networks in such a way as to lead toward more rapid cycle-time as it relates to learning.

    It is also worth mentioning that of all the out-of-the-box networks we evaulate with SNA at OODA5, the “Learning Network” is the one most dependent on trust itself. Put simply, trust is the utility in which knowledge flows.

    The level of trust is more important than where information or knowledge exists in a network. With high levels of trust, knowledge flows and learning occurs. Without trust, knowledge is silo’d and we must hope people find it on their own . . .

  5. Bill, I think the tips you give are spot on and some that demonstrate how intranets can (and will) evolve. This may address how to use social tools in a way that is more comfortable for companies who are reluctant to jump into the fray.

    I’ll definitely share this post. Well done!

  6. […] Bill Boorman, the Jedi of social recruiting and co-founder of TRU. talks social learning with his post, Social Learning–The Future of Training. […]

  7. […] Bill Boorman’s take on Social Learning–The Future of Training. […]

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