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social learning

Water cooler learning W

Richard Wyles and Julian Stodd analyse four habits of highly social learners

e live in the Social Age: a time when the ways we work and learn have changed beyond recognition. United and connected by collaborative technology, we are able to find stuff out, solve problems, discover new ideas and share

our stories widely, effortlessly and directly. This presents huge potential for organisations which form social learning habits and create an environment for social learning. This article looks at the why, the drivers, and the social habits you should form.

Social learning: it’s having a moment Social learning isn’t new. It’s the water cooler conversation, it’s two colleagues reflecting on what worked in a meeting. It’s as old as conversation. You could argue that all learning is social, because it has to be applied in some social context to have an impact. But let’s not get too existential about it. Social learning is having a moment. Why is that? Because technology is enabling it to happen on a much greater scale than

before, and because work pressures make it necessary. Tony Sheehan, associate Dean, Digital Learning, at London Business School sets out four drivers for the rise of social learning: n Time pressure: The time available for discrete, formal learning is under threat;

n Technology enablers: Tools and platforms create more opportunities for collaboration than before;

n Societal changes: social collaboration and sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are the norm outside of work, the trend to ‘workify’ tools in other contexts is well underway;

n Rising to challenges: Workplace problems are increasingly global and complex, and need more collaboration to resolve them.

It’s already happening in your business As learning professionals, it’s probably fair to say that the majority of effort goes into the design of formal learning experiences – courses and blended designs. However, that formal element only counts for the 10% of the 70/20/10 formula. It’s in the 70/20 that the pervasiveness of social learning becomes clear: n What enables us to make sense and create learning from our on the job experiences (the 70%)? In moments where we are sharing, reading and writing blogs, actively reflecting – these are key social learning moments.

n Asking questions, following influencers, learning from other people is another dimension of social learning.

n Reflecting on what worked (or didn’t work) on a project, then actively reflecting and sharing lessons learned – that’s sense-making via social learning.


e.learning age april 2015

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