Have you heard of the 70-20-10 principle?
According to this principle, only 10% of our learning happens through formal training. Rest is indirect learning that happens by accepting challenges(70) and observing other people(10).
Formal learning is essential for you to increase your value and get better at doing things. But there is so much you can learn from other people. This is called informal learning and happens via observation and using technologies like Learning Management Systems (LMS), discussion forums, social media, blogs, etc.
What is social learning?
Learning by observing people. This is the simplest definition of social learning. We all have been doing this since we were kids, knowingly and unknowingly. It is a simple tactic our brain uses to adjust our behavior in a social situation. From simple things like greeting people and respecting the elders to street etiquette and work ethics all are learned by social learning.
Albert Bandura in 1977 was the first one to notice this learning pattern. His theory revealed that humans imitate or model the behavior of others. The environmental factors, his/her behavior, and the mental and physical ability of the person have equal influence on social learning.
There are four stages of social learning theory proposed by Bandura
Awareness: A person becomes aware of certain behavior. This happens by observing the people around you.
Retention: Once you are aware of a certain behavior you also need to remember that to follow the same in your life.
Modeling/ imitation: Now comes the stage when you start imitating the same behavior. Your physical and mental abilities are an obstacle in imitating the exact behavior.
Motivation: If the imitation of that behavior gives you some benefit or you are appreciated for it, you will be motivated to repeat it often. Similarly, if it is discouraged by people in your social settings, you will stop doing it.
Though social learning has been a part of our lives for ages it is now being used deliberately to create better performers and leaders. It is widely used in educational institutions and workplaces to provide learning that is as important as formal learning.
Social learning in a corporate
According to the 70-20-10 principle, 20% of our learning happens through social connections and collaboration. Social learning happens in corporate environments via direct interactions with other employees or indirect interactions through arrangements like Learning Management Systems (LMS), online discussion forums, blogs, etc.
Such interactions initiate a two-way learning process. One is where we learn from our seniors and the other is when they are presented with new ideas and methods of doing things by the younger generation.
Benefits of social learning in a corporate
Power of unconscious mind
Our unconscious mind is more powerful than the conscious mind. Most of the social learning happens unknowingly and naturally. For instance, a colleague of yours was awarded for exceptional performance. It is a human tendency to want to get that appreciation as well. Hence you start learning from how they do their work and start interacting with them. Eventually, you will see your performance getting improved.
An experienced mind can teach things no one else can
The people you idolize are at a certain level because of all the hard work and setbacks that they have faced. When such people share tips, experiences, mistakes, and suggestions, you get to learn something exclusive, something that no book will teach you.
Faster problem solving
With so many talented people on one platform, it is not a difficult task to seek a solution for your query. Fast resolution of employee queries increases productivity.
Use existing talent
Unlike formal learning, social learning doesn’t require professional instructors who charge a lot of money. You have amazingly skilled people in your company who can contribute to sharing useful knowledge with the rest of the staff.
The more engaged you are in whatever you are doing the longer you remember it. Social learning in a corporation is interactive and is far from bookish knowledge. This encourages employees to engage during the training or while completing a task. Employee engagement is a challenge but social learning using an LMS or an online discussion forum can make it way easier.
You don’t have to invest a lot of money into this. Creating a platform for open discussion isn’t very difficult. With software programs like LMS, it is a piece of cake.
Employees become well informed
When employees discuss a bunch of topics they are expanding their knowledge. They get to learn something beyond their technical skills. Your employees will know a lot about your organization, more than what the numbers on the annual report said. A well-informed employee can add a lot of value to the company.
How can an LMS help in social learning?
An LMS is a software program that helps in creating a seamless online learning experience. It has a lot of handy features that make creating, executing, and managing online training easy.
These features make conducting formal online training easy and cost-effective. But an LMS can also help with social learning. Your LMS can include the following features.
Your LMS can be used to create online learning communities for your employees to connect with and inspire one another during training. You may also divide the employees into groups depending on their job functions and the sort of training they are receiving.
With the gamification feature, you can make the learning process enjoyable and motivating. Leader boards are a great motivation for employees who are lagging. Actions are reinforced when you are rewarded for the same. Awarding the leaderboard toppers is a great way to motivate people to reach their goals.
Q and A sessions
Such sessions are great to meet and answer questions that might lead to better discussions as well. Answering one question helps a lot of people in the group, increasing the scale of learning.
You can send notifications of news feeds, announcements, etc. These one-way communication methods are great to make people more aware of the organization.
With AI technology you can give recommendations and send invitations to people for joining a particular online training course. They can also know which eLearning courses are more popular. So if more people are doing a course and are discussing it, you will also want to do it – fear of missing out.
You can host some contests and motivate employees to participate. You can give a question and ask your employees to come up with solutions. Group activities are better preferred. Seeing everyone’s unique solution is a great source of motivation and social learning.
Docebo is a cloud based leaning management system which has a buch of features that will help in social learning. Discover, Coach, and Share combines social learning and material curation into a single, unified system that delivers an unparalleled learning experience.
Read more about Discover, Coach and Share here
Social learning is as important as formal training. Social learning can contribute knowledge that formal training may not. It creates deeper bonds with other employees and helps in maintaining good relationships. Social learning has a higher retention rate and is also cheaper.
In a corporate environment, employees can learn from the experience of their seniors. It helps in solving queries at a faster rate, thus making your workforce more productive. You can use an LMS to give online training and to add features like community, contests, games, Q and A, etc to encourage social learning.