It is important to consider how your organization uses the social web for learning professionals. The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) recently published INFOLINE: Social Learning for Learning Professionals initiated a review of social media engagement beyond knowledge workers (educators). Social learning is not competing with formal education, training, or employee development; instead it is a space to connect professionals and share ideas. Although social media learning is often compared to informal or e-learning, it distinguishes itself as learners search content, develop interpersonal engagements, and form shared communities of practice.
The key Social Learning Technologies include:
- Online Communities – personal learning networks & virtual learning environments
- Media Sharing – sharing & tagging videos, images, photos and more!
- Microsharing – 140 characters to highlight news, share trends, ask questions & link URLs
- Collaboration Tools – wikis, shared documents & cloud computing platforms
- Immersive Environments – virtual worlds, gaming, augmented reality & simulations
- Social Learning at Events – IRL meetings to connect offline for shared interests & goals
More professionals value social media tools to enhance communication, improve knowledge sharing, find resources and connect to a broader learning network. Many social resources create a space to solve problems, mentor employees, scaffold training initiatives and support effective decision-making. Organizations that support social learning may not see traditional return-on-investment (ROI); however they do have the potential to enhance the following items in its organizational culture:
- retaining institutional knowledge
- attracting and retaining professionals
- succession planning
- connecting dispersed employees
- collaboration to solve problems
- integrated & holistic approach for staff development