Product update: Integrating with social learning tools

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We are regularly asked whether it is possible to incorporate social learning within On.Board programs.

One of the key benefits of On.Board is that you can integrate or link out to other platforms. So, in order to see how social learning could fit, we decided to do an experiment with one of our clients by building a program which integrated with Yammer, a widely used enterprise social networking tool.

What we found was that whilst learning content is great for building knowledge and having activities to encourage practice, was great for applying it – social learning helped to build “tacit” knowledge.  These are the things that you would only know from experience. Take for example cement mixing. The instructions may advise mixing 1-part cement, 2-part sand and 3-part gravel. However, if you were to speak to an experienced brick layer, they might recommend adding a little bit of fairy liquid to make it more fluid!

By connecting social learning to a learning program you can make the conversations more focused and stimulating as well as help learners to get a more complete picture of the subject area.

With this particular client we created a scaffolding blended learning approach, where by they were asked to carry out different activities at various stages. For example:

  1. They might begin with some learning content to read or go on a classroom training event to learn the basic knowledge.
  2. Then they might discuss what they have learnt and what they think about a specific topic area. For example, in a leadership course they might be asked “What defines a leader?”
  3. Afterwards the learner might go back through more learning content, then complete some knowledge check quizzes or game-based activities.
  4. Then the learner might be expected to complete an activity where they are required to practice what they have learnt on the job. This encourages experiential learning.
  5. Once they have completed this, they can be encouraged to share their experiences through the social network – what they learnt, what they felt went well or areas they would like some advice or support on. This is where some employees might share some of their “tacit” knowledge with others.

By getting learners to curate this type of content, it helps them to reflect on their experiences and test application, rather than just retention, of learning content.

Social learning is already happening around us in the workplace, through a conversation over lunch or by the water cooler. Having a social learning platform is only a mechanism to encourage and support it. It helps employees to share more knowledge and experiences with each other, so that they can learn at a quicker pace and become better connected.

Would you like to explore this in more detail? We would be happy to put you in touch with one of our program build experts. Get in touch and let us know!

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