The learning and development landscape has seen tremendous evolution in recent times. New trends and technologies have completely changed the way humans consume information and learn.
In fact, it is because of these advancements in technology that we are able to continue with our educational initiatives as a society, despite being confined within our respective homes.
With that said, the concept of social learning, contrary to popular belief, is not a new one.
Social learning is simply the practice of learning with and from others. This peer to peer exchange of knowledge has been around for ages and chances are, everyone reading this article has experienced it at least once in their lives.
You may have a memory of talking to your friends after class, discussing things you have learnt during the day. There was sharing of knowledge, friends commented with their own insights about the knowledge, and many of us even had a circle of like minded friends that we regularly shared our knowledge with.
Between your school days and today, there has been a lot of research done to improve our understanding of how social learning concepts help with more efficient training.
As a result, today, social learning is mostly driven by technology like elearning LMS (learning management systems) and authoring tools.
If you want to take advantage of the benefits of social learning, make sure your training technology arsenal comprises of the following social learning features:
Integrated Social Learning
One of the more advanced features, integrated social learning eliminates the different “tabs” dedicated to social learning and integrates various relevant features within the interface of the learning management platform.
This way, social learning features don’t just become part of the learning experience, but can also be tied to gamification features like leaderboards and point systems.
Doing so will not just boost healthy competition among the learners, but will also enable them to easily identify various “experts” amongst their peers and seek their help whenever they require assistance.
A news feed is an indispensable part of any digital social environment. With a newsfeed present within your training platform, learners can stay updated about any announcements regarding their batches/courses.
Moreover, news feeds can also be programmed to display the achievements and announcements made by other learners. This can act as a motivator for others to perform better, and can help learners start productive conversations with their peers.
In other words, being social becomes easier when there is a news feed filled with topics of common interests.
Integration With External Social Networks
The ability to post accomplishments and share awards and achievements with their personal social network will further act as a motivator for your learners to perform better in their training.
Not to forget, this activity will also help you get new enrollments as a result of the additional visibility driven by your existing students/learners.
With instant chat, you can facilitate conversations between your learners. This way, learners can instantly get support from their peers or their instructors, whenever they run into a doubt.
An additional feature to instant chat can be the ability to form chat groups dedicated to specific subjects/topics. This way, even if a learner joins a chat group long after it is created, they will be able to get answers to common questions by accessing the previous discussions that happened within a chat group.
There are several other social learning features that you can look for, depending on the unique needs of your trainees. Basic features like learner profile creation, the ability to add friends or follow other people are commonly found in most modern learning management systems. However, some of the features mentioned in this article are only available in the best ones. Hence, it is important to conduct thorough research before settling for a LMS.