Thanks in part to the continued rise and prevalence of social media, more and more companies are realizing the importance of incorporating social learning in the workplace. According to the social learning theory, people learn from each other through observation and continued socialization.
For business, social learning supports ongoing learning within organizations, and when used effectively can have a lasting impact on how your employees acquire and retain knowledge. Through the use of this theory, you can guide employee behavior and promote better business building behaviors to make your organization more successful than before.
Today, social learning in the workplace may include:
Searching for, bookmarking and sharing relevant blogs, videos, podcasts and other resources
Collaborating, crowdsourcing and creating shareable content with your team using programs like Google Docs or other employee run and generated wikis
Connecting and communicating on different social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and more
Participating in webinars and utilizing other online learning resources that promote dialogue among team members or groups
Frequent team meetings, brainstorming sessions, or water cooler conversations with co-workers at the office
Organizations now have access to a variety of social tools that can be used in all kinds of ways, and use them to accommodate their own collaboration preferences. In the case for social learning, using social media tools effectively in order to cultivate learning can result in your team collaborating and communicating more effectively. The more your team is engaged with the content they are learning, the more they’ll retain.
Here are some starting tips to incorporate social learning into your workplace:
Encourage active participation
Start by first defining a topic on which all your employees should have knowledge. From there you can begin to build a structure from this simple starting point. How can you best encourage collaborative learning in your team? How can you best share your companies' best practices with everyone on your team? Think about launching a company blog or wiki in order to have a great location to crowdsource information. Try beginning with common support issues or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). From there you can find your company's internal champion, or a well respected employee who not only actively supports your efforts, but gets others to join in on the conversation. This is a great way to ensure the success of your social learning efforts .
Provide the right tools
So you're encouraging your team to be more active learners- but how are you going about doing that? You need to make sure that your team has access to the proper tools that will allow them to communicate and collaborate with one another, either when participating in online training, or otherwise engaging with other content. While many social media tools make it easy for employees to connect and share information, they can easily turn into time sinks. With so much information available at your fingertips, it’s easy to get sucked into hours of aimless browsing trying to find the best content for your team’s needs.
Tiphive includes valuable features that promote social learning, by giving your team a space in which to collaborate and engage with great user created content. As your team shares their tips and insights around relevant topics, they can like, ask questions and give great feedback all in real time. Tools with an emphasis on creating a knowledge based community help create a more collaborative social learning environment.
Once you have begun to encourage and reward active participation, and have the right tools in place to continue to do so, it is important that you continue to stress communication. To truly create a successful social learning environment, it’s important to consistently encourage your team to share their knowledge and experience.
With the right tools and structure, social learning helps your employees better communicate and collaborate. This way it’s easy for your team to share, learn, and retain critical information. Not to mention this helps your entire organization function more effectively. Moving forward, try incorporating social learning into your team development strategies and watch employee engagement and knowledge retention increase exponentially!