The Role of Social Learning is the Future of L&D


Social learning is based on a theory developed by psychologist Albert Bandura. It proposes that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and occurs through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of reproduction or direct reinforcement. This means that even if no one is formally teaching, we are all always learning from our environments and from each other.

Social learning favors a common sense, real-life approach to learning and focuses on how we interact with our peers for situational learning and skill acquisition. A successful social learning framework relies on the 70-20-10 framework, which suggests that about 70% of someone’s learning happens via on-the-job experiences, 20% through interactions with their peers, and just 10% in traditional, instructor-led classroom environments. That's why customized blended learning solutions can be so effective; they allow for different elements of learning to be combined to most successfully meet a particular objective or reach a specific audience.


The Benefits of Social Learning

It’s important to consider aspects of social learning when developing a training or learning strategy because social learning:

  • Creates a culture of learning: Social learning is based on the fact that we are all learning from each other and that we are learning all the time. Learning isn’t just an activity that takes place in a classroom, but is ongoing and experiential. Formal learning presentations have a time, place, and usefulness, but a lot of learning is also happening through other everyday situations and interactions.
  • Helps future-proof learning and development: There’s no denying that the future is social. With millions of people using some form of social media daily, how people have come to interact with content and learn about the world around them every day has changed from the old model of classroom teaching or media/news watching. Social learning practices make sure that your training can keep up by staying relevant and engaging.


Ideas for Socializing Learning

  • Gamification: Incentivizing learning can make it more engaging, and creating a fun environment of healthy competition among peers can go a long way in increasing engagement and retention.
  • Chat platforms: Many organizations are already using platforms like Teams or Slack to conduct meetings or collaborate on projects. Setting up separate channels to engage in discussions around a particular training session can be helpful in furthering and continuing discussions that lead to sustained learning, but even just having a chat platform can facilitate learning by giving employees an easy outlet to quickly ask a question or share something they just found. Plus, the more people are able to share and collaborate, the more they will trust each other as resources and contribute to a culture of learning.
  • Social sharing: Certain learning platforms now include “social share” features the way that certain websites have social icons built in to easily share a link to Twitter or other platforms. Social sharing features make online learning solutions more than just a training tool, but also a social tool. Users can leave feedback on lessons, share videos directly from the platform, look at course ratings from peers, and more.

We are always learning from our peers and from our environment, and businesses can take steps to make sure that learning isn’t just passive and fractured, but intentional and useful. We can help you develop the right mix of social learning tools for your unique organization and its business goals. For more information on how to create a successful blended learning solution that integrates social learning, connect with our team today for a complimentary consultation.

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