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social learning

something we can curate. We impact our reputations through our actions. Social tools carry our reputation into online spaces: how we behave, respond and contribute on the platforms, our status updates, sharing, contributions and writing all influence our reputation, so think about how you want to be seen and act in ways consistent with that. You can build your reputation effectively by thinking about the relevance and timeliness of what you share: if you contribute in ways that are timely to individuals or groups, and if you make your content relevant and practical, you’re likely to build a stronger reputation than if you just throw stuff out to everyone. Again it’s about making sure that what you add is value, not noise. Choose your space, then curate your content and take your actions within it. Be


n Habit 3: Solve problems with a community Got a problem? Time to draw on the capability of your community. After all the effort you’ve put in, supporting, challenging and enlightening others, now it’s payback – you use some of the social credit you’ve built up to ask for help. Communities are great at problem solving: but don’t just throw it out there. Curate it and invite collaboration. Here’s how:

1. Find the right people. You can browse your network and decide what subset of people may have the expertise, skills, motivation and time to help. Then establish a group and throw out the question. People have an option to engage or disengage, but it’s a tight, focussed and purposeful effort. The system can provide you with the space for problem solving, but ultimately it’s your reputation and engagement style that will determine success.

2. Give them a reason: Having trouble getting people to engage? Think about whether you’ve worked on your reputation and offered support yourself. Have you invested enough in the system to expect it to work for you? Is there something in it for people to participate, do they have a shared interest in solving the problem?

3. Reward collaboration – be nice: And when your problem is solved? Reward input with social recognition. The group you’ve curated is a closed space. Share your thanks and gratitude with respect and acknowledgement back in the public spaces, endorse them where it matters, e.g. LinkedIn. Explain how they helped. Gratitude and etiquette are part of the new social currency. Keep building your social credit. What goes around…Key to this is finding a currency of reward that has value for people in your organisation, and engendering a culture of collaboration. We know of several organisations where helpfulness in a social context is part of the performance review process. If you want it to count, then keep score.

4. Create the right culture: Does collaboration come naturally in your business?

Pro Tip: L&D and HR leaders need to share by example

“I personally think too few HR leaders are embracing social learning. Many are simply not active on social media and not seeing the potential of social learning. How can we expect HR leaders to be guiding and leading their organisations on the “new world” of human capital management, when they are not embracing and are not actively participating in this “new world”.” Con Sotidis @LearnKotch

Gratitude and etiquette are part of the new social currency. Keep building your social credit.

Or do people regard their knowledge as their power base, and helping or sharing is a distraction? If so, or if your team feels like that, then you need to work on that before you introduce a tool. We elaborate further in the next guide on engagement.

Habit 4: Share your learning story, work out loud. Learning is about change, and working out loud is about sharing your story of change over time (see #WorkingOutLoud) It’s about reflecting, pondering, making decisions and sharing consequences. You can do it on an enterprise social network, through status updates, asking questions or even creating a dedicated reflective group, or you can do it externally, on a blog, and share your posts back inside the organisation. It’s a way of actively reflecting on what you’re learning and how you’ve

developed. The point of a learning story is this: you read it at the end of the year and, whilst

it’s familiar, you recognise what’s changed. You see how you’ve learnt, how your ideas have been challenged, what you are doing differently. And self awareness at that level is good for you, your team, your organisation. Again, culture is at the core here. It takes a certain mindset, trust, and an

organisational culture that fosters openness and authenticity. You can’t expect to transform a culture overnight, but you can be sure of one thing: you won’t’ be the first person to have made that mistake and someone out there is ready to hear you and help you. Working out loud can transform your professional practice.

Take away: Use the tools, and lead by example Successful L&D leaders need to lead the charge in social learning. It’s up to us to show what’s possible, to build our personal learning networks, to learn out loud. In a future article we’ll walk through the steps for making social learning

Pro Tip: Get your leaders to work out loud

The best CEO blogs are open, honest and authentic examples of leaders working out loud. What they start, their teams will follow.

“I’m encouraging the executives in my organisation to post real work problems to our activity feed and ask for help from the crowd in solving them. This in itself is a challenge, but as they say, we’re on a journey.” Ryan Tracey @ryantracey E-learning Manager at Australian Bank AMP in Sydney.

happen. To set the tone for that, we leave the last word to another expert in social learning: So if it’s not too late to set resolutions for the rest of 2015, aim to form a social learning habit. Technology can only help if there’s a will and good practice in place – that starts with each of us.

Richard Wyles is co-founder and CEO of Totara Learning Solutions and Julian Stodd is a consultant and writer on social learning @totaralms @julianstodd


e.learning age april 2015

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