What’s the Buzz about Social Learning?
Back in the day of the quintessential American cookie-jar, social learning was confined to interactions in the classrooms. Today however, the cookie has all but crumbled and the world is literally at our fingertips, with social media’s omnipresence bordering on being of nuisance value, albeit occasionally! Serendipity can be a wonderful thing indeed. Am I, with my decisively ugly exterior and beer filled pot belly, actually a fifth-degree-of-separation from the handsome Brad Pitt? I don’t know, mathematical theory though would suggest otherwise. Social media is a wonderful thing, it is key. And why, do you ask, is it so critical in L&D? Simply because it opens up a link between ordinary humans, potential clients and thought leaders. As a formal definition, the concept can be best described as group work to explore ideas and procedures. The ultimate goal must be to extract joint synergies to make the collective, larger than the sum of its parts. Add social learning experts to the mix and you are bound to reap rewards that are not available in traditional learning environments.
An intriguing value of social media is an endless stream of content being updated live, literally clicks away from the subject. In order to extract the most from such social media exercises, it is extremely vital that we understand from each other. Social learning begins to look ridiculously similar to regular learning if one is just reacting to a “How to’” post of a peer. A critical aim of social learning is to arrive at a joint solution together. If there is a particular problem faced by an employee, then classic L&D dictates that s/he be brought face to face using social interactions to meet with the next average Joe who has faced and circumvented the issue. That’s the bees-knees of social interaction.
Social interactions is also a great way of extracting complementary skills. Combine a senior employee with a rookie and see the mutual benefits that accrue to the L&D effort. Thus, not only will a well designed social interaction based L&D program highlight group strength, it will strengthen the process in the long run. In this regard, social media has been a huge catalyst in structuring innovative L&D programs. We at MYB are totally sold on the concept of leveraging social media to integrate and dovetail employees from various cadres and departments of an organization. The question now is, “Are you ready to take the plunge?”