We love social learning – it’s as simple as that. Do you? If not, you may benefit from discovering more about the nature and function of the incredible thing called social learning. Once you grasp the breadth of advantages specific to social learning, you’ll sing its praises as loudly as we do.
Why We Love Social Learning (And You Should, Too!)
There are several key reasons why we adore social learning. One of the main reasons is that social learning promotes constructivism in the workplace. “Constructivism” is a term that should be in any forward-thinking company leader’s vocabulary. According to Learning Theories, “Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality.” Constructivism isn’t just some dry theory; it is a living, breathing facilitator of informal learning. What’s more, it positively affects a company’s well being. How? By putting an employee/learner in the position of teacher. This may sound trivial, but it is incredibly powerful.
When a learner becomes a teacher, entire companies are transformed. Bottom lines and turnover rates plummet, revenue and worker satisfaction rates increase, and effortless training takes on a life of its own. In the corporate world, constructivism is the antidote to boredom and the solution for disengaged workers. When a learner is engaged to the point of being a teacher to his or her peers, complacency ceases to be an issue. This changes company culture permanently. No company can afford to miss out on the benefits of constructivism, which is nearly synonymous with social learning.
Why It’s Important to Build Strong Corporate Communities
A company not seeking cultural transformation is a rarity these days. Company leaders desiring cultural change often go about getting it in ineffective ways. For example, they may offer employees more perks. There is nothing wrong with this, but it’s doubtful that it will bring about the transformation leaders want. It’s not uncommon for a business owner to think, “I want my company to have the type of culture that draws and retains talented workers.” Every company leader wants this. However, the issue is deciphering how to create this culture. The answer to this exists in building strong workplace communities where employees assume both active and passive roles in learning (namely, social/informal learning).
The Majority of Learning in the Workplace Is Informal/Social
Did you know that the majority of learning in the workplace takes place informally (i.e. socially)? “Over 70 percent of what we learn in life and at work is learned informally and socially,” states Pulse survey How Informal Learning is Transforming the Workplace. “Language is first learned not in a classroom, but in the informal setting of home. For most of us, social skills are gradually acquired and refined through life experience rather than etiquette classes. And some of the most critical skills to workplace success—communication, collaboration, teamwork, and even technical skills—are cultivated through invaluable and ongoing informal workplace learning: mentoring, coaching, peer reviews, and job shadowing.”
Almost three-quarters of what employees learn at work is absorbed informally. In light of this statistic, it is vital that workplaces have systems in place that support social/informal learning on a daily basis. The best support system may be a social learning management system (LMS), also known as an eLearning system.
Companies ripe for cultural change should understand the implications of launching a social learning management system. They must grasp that an LMS isn’t mere software – it is a culture changer. Launching a social learning platform simultaneously increases opportunities for employee training, connects peers, and allows leaders to easily track the learning paths of individual workers. But above all it allows employees to both learn from and teach one another.
Find an LMS That Facilitates Social/Informal Learning
All social learning management systems are designed to promote social learning. However, some systems do a better job than others. Companies wanting to build workplace communities and foster constructivism may want to try a free demo of TOPYX, a full-featured LMS. TOPYX is a social learning platform that has features solely dedicated to creating lasting corporate communities and promoting social learning. (One feature is aptly named the “communities” feature.) Constructivism, social learning, and community building happen when people can informally interact and ask questions of one another, assist each other, and build knowledge together. The TOPYX “communities” feature was specifically designed to facilitate learner interaction by course, user group, subject of interest, etc. TOPYX, an LMS without user fees, is an economical solution for companies destined to grow hardy communities and resilient workforces.
Social learning is so easy to love when its benefits are understood. What do you love most about social learning?