Social learning capitalises on the knowledge and experience existing within your workforce, making it easier for employees to locate the expertise they need and to share their own knowledge.
Social learning sits naturally in learning management systems because it complements formal training. Whereas a reluctant employee might have to be compelled to complete a training course, social learning encourages them to discover useful knowledge voluntarily and, because they are in a more receptive frame of mind, they can be more likely to understand and retain this knowledge.
Social learning in an LMS includes question and answer tools, knowledgebase wikis and online forums where employees can discuss topics. Just by reading posts and forum threads, individuals can pick up knowledge that is useful in their jobs, even when they’re not consciously seeking it.
Online groups can be used to create communities of employees interested in a particular topic, collaborating together on a team project or working remotely or flexibly. For example, employees from different departments studying the same course can support each other in an online group, continuing their learning outside classroom or online training by discussing topics to reinforce their understanding and experience extra benefit from the course.
News feeds, blogs, user-generated content, file and content sharing, chat, and the ability to rate and recommend content can all be combined in an LMS to promote social learning. These can be delivered through custom features built into the LMS or by integrating with public social networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Gamification can also be used with social learning so that employees earn points or badges when they participate. Monitoring participation can identify employees who display natural leadership in sharing their expertise, helping others or leading discussions to extend the collective knowledge of the community.
Rather than have it viewed by employees as something separate which they only do when told, your organisation can use the social learning features of your LMS to put learning and development at the heart of your workforce as a natural daily activity.