Social Learning

Why Social Learning Theory is Important?

Traditional classroom based learning has now been partly replaced by computer based and blended learning in both corporate and educational organizations. This shift towards E-Learning was mainly caused by a need and desire to cut costs, save time and hassles. However, one very important factor can easily be overlooked when organizations decide to migrate, and it’s called social learning.

For example, the main strengths of an university are their brick-and-mortar campuses. These are social hubs that bustles with people who share similar interests. As e-Learning is often performed at home, this interaction with others is lost and the instruction can become quite lonely and boring.

Here is where E-Learning comes in:

With a concept that has existed since the beginning of time, and formally discussed since the 1950´s. This concept is called Social Learning Theory, and states that people learn from one another, or learn within a social context.

social elearning

When we explore the meaning of social learning within a modern day organization, Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) defines it as “learning that happens outside a formal structure or classroom.” This process does not necessarily need to happen face to face.

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Learning can happen informally through emails and written communication. That is where today’s popular social media tools come in. Applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other tools allow us to easily interact with friends and other similar-minded people, even when we are sitting at our computers at home.

Consider the benefits of social learning in organizations using these e-learning tools:

social elearning

LinkedIn and Facebook both have “groups” where people with similar interests or who work in similar areas can connect and talk about pressing issues. They can seek and give advice, help one another and learn from other people in similar professions. Within the organization instant messaging tools can be used. This should become more prevalent over the next few years because younger workers and current entrants to the workforce have grown up using these tools. Some people cannot spend an hour without being connected to some form of device to chat with friends or family, post an update, etc.

Advantages of implementing the social learning theory in your organization.

Information Sharing:

  ~ Employees’ knowledge is a strategic advantage, and social media creates ease of information sharing, which in           turn leads to more informed and better decision making.   ~ Creates an environment where people acquire knowledge and info almost unconsciously.  ~ Students can generate their own learning and take advantage of collective knowledge. ~ New employees can ask questions about the organization and its culture and learn from peers whom they trust.  ~This carries more weight than what they are told in induction on the first day, possibly by someone with whom they will have no further interaction.  ~ Learning is more personalized as students can obtain info when they need it as opposed to when a course is delivered.  ~ Posting blogs and allowing comments enable people to get feedback on specific ideas. ~ Organizations can share and discuss best practices.

Social Media tools can be used alongside traditional classroom-based training

  • Provide links to additional info, articles, examples, etc.
  • Instructors can spread pre-reading info and link to content prior to an event. This can ensure students enter a course on an equal level and have a basic understanding before entering the classroom.
  • Speaking about classes or presentations, reinforces the knowledge that was passed to students.
  • Micro-blogging can be good to get feedback after classes, posttips of the day, etc.
  • Companies or individuals can post updates to keep an online presence.
social elearning

The main reason for the shift to E-Learning: To cut costs but research has proved that computer based instruction is actually also more effective than classroom based instruction when social learning is used. Here are some example of how this concept can benefit your organization. The social learning theory states that e-Learning is also much faster than traditional methods. British Telecom delivered virtual instruction to 23,000 employees in three months, at a cost of £5.9 million. If this training had been classroom based, it would have cost £17.8 million and taken 5 years (Taylor, 2002).

There are many options available to organizations when considering social learning tools. If it is to be combined with acorporate LMS, we argue that Google plus is the best tool to use to foster social learning. Google Hangouts is perfect for knowledge sharing as highlighted above, and with this great tool you can also: ~  Start video conferences in seconds with up to ten people. This can be done extremely quickly if you want to invite in a specific group already know. ~  Join meetings with a smartphone from anywhere making it very easy to get a “time and place” to suit everyone. ~ Watch a video from Youtube with others in the conference or can screen-share to watch a presentation simultaneously, look at a document from Google Docs, etc.

It was to create a concept of an online university where students could choose from a wide variety of courses; with full interaction amongst themselves. Below are the details of the project.

At Paradiso Solutions a client approached us to turn their LMS into a social learning platform. We explained the advantages of Google plus and they decided to go for it. Here is what we did and its short study case.

Our Moodle customization team created a bridge enabling direct connectivity from the client’s Moodle site to every registered student’s Google+ account. Our client wanted to consolidate the functionality of these two sites and overcome communication barriers as well as facilitating the appropriate tools provided by Google.

The final objective of this integration:

It was to create a concept of an online university where students could choose from a wide variety of courses; with full interaction amongst themselves. Below are the details of the project.

  • Establish a connection between the company’s interface and the Google personal accounts.
  • Display student’s registered courses on Google+
  • Determine and use the appropriate technology, extensions and plugins to support the client’s desired capacity for students.
  • Implement Google tools into the moodle site.
  • Finally we needed to ensure that students could learn in a fun, interactive and socially open environment.
social elearning

What we needed to do for this project was:

We decided to build a Moodle plugin which allows access to all the Google apps such as Gmail, Google docs, Google+ profile, etc. Also, we created and implemented a Chrome extension to allow access to the Moodle courses to registered students from Google+ profile.We focused on course creation and integration of video, audio and information tables needed. All of this was done by using Adobe Captivate and video technology programs. Below are the technical details that went into this project:

  • Chrome Application API
  • Moodle API
  • Linux
  • SSO
  • Google+ API

For more information about the social learning theory or how you can take advantage of this concept in your organization, send an email to s[email protected] or call us at +1 800 513 5902

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