How to use Social Tools for ELearning and Training

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We have already got used to the fact that social networks have stopped being just places for connecting with friends but have evolved into marketing, advertising and learning channels. Businesses all over the world use social media for advertising, establishing brand loyalty and building personal connections. What is more, thousands of people all over the world use variable social tools for education and training. To be on the same wave length with students, teachers master educational technologies, register accounts at social networks, chat and tweet with students thereby bringing social learning theory into practice.

How to use Social Tools for ELearning and Training

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But what exactly does social learning theory imply and how can we use social tools in education and work places?

Social Learning theory was formulated by a psychologist Albert Bandura and implies learning though observing other people and modeling their behaviors. In simple words we have been applying social learning since our childhood, copying our parents and other adults.

Social Learning in Education

If we talk about applying the theory to the education sphere, by social learning we would mean students’ collaboration and interaction with one another to learn new skills, to accomplish studying goals, to share the experience etc. Numerous studies show that people study faster and more efficiently in groups, communicating with one another.

Social learning can be carried out both in the classroom and online. With the distant education popularity growth more and more educational institutions started looking for alternatives to personal interactions eLearning is missing. And social collaboration is one of them. If the discussion is in the classroom there are always students who don’t express their opinions being afraid to be criticized and not supported by the classmates. If the discussion is conducted online, students feel more relaxed in expressing their thoughts and even learn how to respond to criticism.

How does it work?

Social learning can be carried out though blogging, video sharing by means of YouTube and Vimeo, wikis, podcasts, discussion forums and chats, user ratings, communities, knowledge base. The list is endless.

Plus, the approach is closely connected with such eLearning models as synchronous/asynchronous learning, personalized learning, blended and flipped learning, which opens new opportunities for building an effective eLearning environment.

Social Learning in Working Environment

Social learning is becoming a widely used solution for employee engagement, collaboration and training. Many companies encourage employees, instead of banning social media during working hours, to share their training results on their social media profiles and get benefits through competitiveness and increased employee motivation. If previously training at the workplace was associated with forced and boring time spending, with a social component it is a funny and engaging process.

You may wonder whether it is secure to share such kind of information publicly. The point is that the companies mainly build their own communities within the LMS (Learning Management System) or in the integration with a social platform. Many solutions nowadays, besides internal social learning tools such as blogging, chat, wikis, discussion boards offer integration with popular social communities where access can be limited ( JoomlaLMS + JomSocial, LearnDash + BuddyPress). Others create their own networks inside the platform (Totara Social) or are fully based on the idea of social collaboration (Edmodo and Topyx).

How does it work?

Each employee creates his own profile where the passed courses and received certificates are displayed. Observing the colleagues’ success other employees try to be more active learners, not to lag behind and get promoted up the career ladder. As simple as that the managerial team gets increased productivity, a lower level of employee turnover, commitment to the company and increased profitability as a result.

In conclusion

According to scientists’ predictions, online learning environment is not only here to stay but to evolve and grow, which means it is time to embed social tools into your learning and training practice to get maximum benefits and not to lag behind your competitors.

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Author: Ilona Hetsevich

Ilona is Marketing and Partnership Development Manager and an eLearning geek with a history of collaboration with leading manufacturing companies. She is inspired to create a shift in the approach to how trainers can deliver knowledge over the web.

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