“Don’t Be Lazy with Social Learning,” a post that Chris Browning wrote for the ATD Learning Technologies Blog on April 6th, makes some excellent points about why social media channels can be ineffective for learning purposes. To quote from his post . . .
“If I see a three-minute video or read a blog that I like, I can quickly share it with my network, with the thought that they too might enjoy it and learn something new. Some folks in my network may even reply with a `thanks for sharing,’ or `interesting read.’ So what’s wrong with that? Nothing, per se. It’s just lazy to assume that simply allowing people to share and comment is sufficient.”
Chris Browning is making the point that liking or forwarding material to other people does not usually allow them to absorb information fully. As he points out, genuine social learning is actually social – a learning experience that takes place when people convene face-to-face to share information and experiences, ask questions, and do things together. The insights that people learn directly from each other tend to be better absorbed and longer remembered than lessons that they only read about.
Where Genuine Social Learning Can Take Place during Training
Although he surely knows them, Chris Browning doesn’t write in his post to about some of the ways genuine social learning can enhance training. Here are some uses that we at Tortal have seen work effectively:
- Simulated or actual projects that let small groups of people solve a problem or – often better – work together on an actual project in the weeks or months after the formal training ends. That kind of social, experiential learning promotes change and “sticks.”
- Break-out discussions in which a room full of trainees form smaller groups to discuss an issue, find a solution, or develop questions to ask when the whole room comes together again.
- Games, in which trainees interact with each other to solve a problem and learn lessons from each other as a result. Some people think that long-lasting, important lessons can’t be taught through games. If you have ever seen how well games can work, you will see those people are wrong.