Learning trends come and go but social learning is one that’s likely to be around for a long while yet. Social learning is also known as modelling and in simple terms means learning by watching other people. Traditionally, workplace learning meant sitting in a classroom while a trainer delivered instruction. The focus is now shifting to peer to peer learning, where employees share knowledge and skills with each other, and the benefits of this are many and varied. So why should you make social learning part of your business in 2020?
Social learning has some obvious business benefits, like reduced costs. Why pay high fees for a trainer when you can use your existing staff to deliver training? There’s the time cost too – traditional learning takes staff out of the working day and often out of the workplace entirely, whereas social learning happens on the job. Bringing learning into the flow of work means learning happens in situ, when it’s most needed. Because problems can be overcome immediately, delays are reduced, and deadlines more easily met.
Learning “on the job” from our peers is often a richer experience than learning in the classroom. An external trainer may know their subject inside out, but do they know how it impacts your business? Probably not. Whereas colleagues understand the issues they face, they have already found solutions and they are best placed to deliver those solutions to their peers in accessible ways. We are always more comfortable learning from friends and colleagues than strangers and we all like that warm fuzzy feeling that comes through being helpful. Sharing with our peers builds confidence and trust; we understand the sticking points and it can lead to new insights and innovations.
Social learning also helps connect teams and departments through collaboration. Remote communication tools like instant messaging, file sharing and video conferencing bring people together wherever they are located and collaboration on projects is seamless.
Watch and Learn is a platform designed especially for social learning and collaboration in business. Your staff can create text, audio or video content wherever they are, share it in private and public channels, and instantly exchange feedback. Watch and Learn goes beyond simple video sharing, however, to create an enhanced learning environment. A transcription service adds text descriptions to videos in real time, saving time and increasing learning effectiveness, and an advanced tagging system enables you to build a searchable library of videos. There’s live video calling to compliment the recorded content, and analytics show you what viewers have used.
The implications of this for business are huge. Imagine the benefits of an engineer sharing live video of a faulty machine with the development team, for example, or a programmer demonstrating live how to execute a command in a client’s software installation. Through creating and sharing resources in minutes, and accessing instant feedback, teams can learn from each other and collaborate more effectively, saving your business time, money and stress.