How to boost social learning in your training strategy

New year, new training strategy? Whether you’re rolling out a new strategy or simply enhancing your existing one, now is a good time to review some research-backed, proven learning theories that can improve your training programs.

One of those theories is the Social Learning Theory, which emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Because we know that humans learn best when they collaborate with peers, we can’t forget to include social learning in training strategies and programs.

Sure, some of your employees may only need to stand up and walk to another office or talk through a cubicle wall to learn from and with their colleagues. But what about your remote workers, those working from home or working on a job site? What about your veteran employees who need to transfer knowledge before they retire, or new hires who could use a mentor?

Integrating social learning concepts into your 2018 training strategy will not only help your learners collaborate to create shared knowledge, but it will also capture knowledge that may otherwise leave your company.

We’ve put together a few tips on how to boost social learning in your existing training strategy.

Re-examine your Current Tools

You may already offer social learning aspects through your LMS. Discussion rooms and threads, email and text notifications, question and answer tools, and more, are standard, albeit underutilized, features in most learning management systems. If you have a good relationship with your LMS vendor, call them to see what social features exist that your learners may not be using.

Gamify your Content

You know that your LMS is only as effective as the training content it delivers. Take social learning beyond your LMS and into your courses with custom content. Most modern games are rooted in social sharing. When you finish playing a game on Facebook, you’re often prompted to share your score or your results with your Facebook friends. The same is true of gamification in eLearning. Your learners will want to share their results on social media channels. We create badges that learners can add to their social channels after they complete a course.

Reward Collaboration

While social learning occurs naturally, your learners still may need a nudge. Incentivize collaboration by awarding badges or “expert status” to employees who comment most on message boards. Consider promoting employees who are invested in learning and who collaborate with their peers.

Create an Experts Corner

Develop your more senior or more knowledgeable employees into experts. Create a board or area of your LMS to capture “expert” knowledge, and make sure to give the expert employees credit. This corner can serve as additional ROI, as your experts are creating valuable learning content for you.

Capture Feedback

Surveys are social tools that capture information that can drive your learning strategy and improve ROI. Whether through a 10-question survey, or a simple “like” button on your content, you can determine what type of content your learners most enjoy. Using social feedback, you can determine what type of content to release, what skills or information your employees want to learn next, and how they use your LMS.