Organizations are increasingly turning to social learning to provide exciting e-learning services to their clients, stakeholders, and personnel. The concept is not just puffery, progressive organizations are increasingly using it to foster cooperative learning and its application in the workflow helps in driving organizational performance and learning & development activities.

So, what is it that has propelled social learning to such dizzying heights? Is the hype warranted?

This strategy has been shown to strengthen learning communities, foster a thriving knowledge economy, and ultimately boost business productivity. While formal training environments are still required to meet specific learning outcomes, organizations must leverage platforms that enable social and casual learning, where learners stay connected, communicate, work collaboratively, and swap ideas and solutions.

Delivering truly engaging learning experiences that magnify the success of an organization’s learning approach is essential to the bottom line of a business today. Including social learning concepts and applications in the learning and development mix is no longer an option; it is a requirement

What is Social Learning?

Social learning is based on Albert Bandura’s theory developed in the 1950s, which suggests that learning is a social-cognitive process that occurs either via observation or direct interaction. People nowadays learn by combining hands-on visual, observational, and auditory learning methods. This is called social learning.

People often associate social learning with social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, but the concept of social learning is much broader than a few social networking platforms – after all, it’s been around since the 1950s.


The social part of learning refers to how learning takes place outside of the average classroom setting and frequently involves sharing and collaborating. There are numerous tools to achieve this in the workplace that do not involve the distractions that often accompany social media use.

Incorporating social learning with e-learning content is the new norm: organizations are using it to drive engagement with their L&D activities, resulting in improved job and organizational performance. Furthermore, social learning takes place in informal learning environments where learners collaborate, share, and exchange ideas to solve problems which ultimately results in increased employee engagement.

Why is social learning important in the workplace?

Employees and employers both benefit from social learning. The more employees open up, the more they will share information and learn from one another, all of which will benefit the company they work for. There are several reasons for businesses to implement social learning in the workplace, including:

  • Social Learning promotes employee engagement.
  • Aside from the technology investment, learning is frequently free or low-cost.
  • Social learning allows you to learn when you need it and apply what you’ve learned right away.
  • It is brief, so it has little impact on a learner’s working day.
  • Reduce the new arrival’s onboarding time.
  • Increases productivity all the while promoting constant personal and professional development.
  • It helps in keeping the employees motivated.

How to use Social Learning for employee engagement?

Employee engagement implies being physically, mentally, and emotionally invested in their work. Today employee engagement goes beyond the surface level engagement that we expect from organizations and seeks to uncover what truly motivates employees.

Conventionally, it was assumed that employee engagement was solely determined by compensation – that increasing an employee’s salary would also increase engagement. However, it is now widely accepted that deeper incentives and motivators play a role in engagement.

Offering generally accepted incentives like gym memberships or on-site massages is no longer enough. Instead, modern employee engagement requires us to understand what makes our employees tick, to keep them happy and engaged at work.

Here are some ways you can use social learning for employee engagement

Connect using Chat platforms

Chat platforms such as Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat encourage employees to collaborate effectively and achieve goals. Threads can be created within these platforms that can be both work-related or personal. Group members can assist one another in their tasks, and they can also join the non-work chat to share pictures and videos or talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives – because getting to know one another on a more personal level is key to better collaboration!

Learning management software

Before putting together your social strategy, you should look at the tools you have at your disposal. If you don’t already have one, you should consider investing in LMS. These platforms are chock-full of social features like:

  • Sharing Videos: With the video-sharing feature, employees can easily share video lessons via links, email, or Microsoft Teams. This feature is especially important since retaining information is easier and more enjoyable through video-based learning.
  • Forums and FAQs: Employees can ask questions and get answers from other employees within the organization.
  • Rating: Employees can rate the courses available on the learning platform and also see how other employees have rated the courses. This enables them to choose the right course without doing extensive research.

Gamification and rewards

You can’t make people learn, but you can give them the right resources and rewards to ensure they don’t miss out on opportunities. Gamification can aid in the creation of these incentives. Gamification allows learning administrators to track the progress and performance of their learners. Users and experts who consistently share their knowledge can be rewarded to encourage participation.

Encourage collaboration on projects

Given how vital collaboration is in social learning, it stands to reason that this would be an excellent strategy for triggering social learning in your employees. Social learning encourages employees to take matters into their own hands and seek opportunities to collaborate with their coworkers because only this way will they truly learn from one another.

Conclusion

To say that we live in uncertain times is an understatement. Whether it is societal upheaval due to the pandemic, the impact of technology and innovation, or explosive markets, you must have your employees on your side to maintain resilience. Engaged employees will ride the influx of change alongside their employers. Maintaining engagement is thus a top priority for leading organizations.

Artem Borodin

CPO at Standuply. PMP, CSM, CSP. Ask me a question via Standuply

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