Social learning is quickly becoming an increasingly hot topic for corporate learning & development departments as more businesses look to leverage the knowledge of their subject matter experts across their entire organization. The proof is in the numbers — 28% of companies used social learning to train employees and encourage collaboration in 2021, compared to just 19% in 2020.
But what is the definition of social learning? And why is it gaining such importance in the enterprise?
What Is Social Learning?
Social learning isn’t a new way of learning. In fact, social and collaborative learning may be one of humankind’s oldest forms of learning. At its essence, social learning is the continuous process of learning from other people. We are learning socially when we observe other people, ask questions, and share knowledge resources.
However, in recent years, the definition of social learning has been refined for its application in the workplace. In a business learning context, social learning is defined by the informal ways that we learn from our colleagues, particularly through social technologies like blogs, wikis, discussion forums, subject-matter directories, and videos. Businesses that support social learning have environments that foster conversation and collaboration between learners across the organization.
The Benefits of Social Learning in the Workplace
As the economy continues to change, businesses are looking for new ways to improve upon the skills and agility of their workforce.
The main benefit of supporting a social learning environment in the workplace is that it enables employees to take responsibility for their own personal learning. Whether it’s by using discussion forums, searching wikis, or simply by reaching out to a colleague over Zoom, social learners leverage the expertise around them on an on-demand basis to get exactly the information they need at the point that they need it. In turn, the learner can then quickly apply that information to complete a task or achieve a goal.
Social learning also supports continuous training. In recent years, companies have been looking for tools that can help make learning more continuous throughout an employee’s career. Under social learning, employees only spend enough time to learn exactly what they need, with minimal interruption to their daily workflow.
Finally, social learning enhances corporate culture and fosters workplace collaboration. Humans are naturally social beings who need to feel part of a group, whether remote, in-person, or hybrid. Learners that are able to support and be supported by other learners are more likely to feel that they’re part of something bigger — and are motivated to pay that feeling forward to other employees.
View an example of a social learning video:
Why A Video Platform Is Essential For Social Learning
Social learning platforms enable knowledge to be shared across an organization easily and quickly. Although text-based channels such as blogs, wikis, and discussion boards are commonly used, video is fast becoming the preferred method for sharing information. With a video platform and as little as a laptop and webcam, or even just a smartphone, employees can record problems, share best practices, and capture insights — then share them company-wide with just a click of a button.
For example, sales reps in the field can use their smartphone to quickly record newly discovered information or tactics that their colleagues can use during upcoming sales calls. Or you can capture the vast amount of institutional knowledge from Baby Boomers getting ready to retire from your company.
Watch an example of how video can be used for internal knowledge sharing among sales reps in the field:
However you decide to use it, video can be an invaluable social learning tool that ensures your employees have the resources they need to stay up-to-date and engaged.
Learn How To Build A Social Learning Program
In our white paper, How to Enhance Your Social Learning Initiatives with Video, you’ll learn how your organization can embrace social learning, you’ll discover six ideas for getting started, and you’ll gain an understanding of how an enterprise video platform can provide the technology foundation to your social learning program.