Why social learning is super learning!

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Social Learning sadThink back to your school days. You likely spent a lot of time in stuffy classrooms, listening to a teacher speaking to you for an hour. The moment you opened your mouth to try to talk to the person next to you, you got shot down and sent to the dreaded Naughty Table…

That’s no way to learn! Were you engaged with what was being dictated to you?

Back in the early 20th Century, a young Russian man named Lev Vygotsky was formulating his Social Cognitive Learning Theory. It took far too long to catch on, but a key part of his theory is that we tend to learn best by socialising with our peers.

You might be forgiven for thinking that an online learning solution will strip away any chance of social learning, but that’s absolutely not the case with our Academy LMS!

The benefits

There’s a reason why nearly one billion of us visit Facebook on a daily basis. We’re social animals who crave interaction with our peers. When we get that interaction, not only are we more engaged with what we’re doing, but we begin to build habits and are far more likely to repeat our actions in the future.

Sounds great! But how does this help a learning and development team?

One of the biggest problems you might face when running a learning management system is in convincing your learners to keep coming back! Unfortunately, for many people the stereotype of online learning is that it’s about as dull as debating the existence of worms.

But as soon as you whack in some social features, your learners will be as fired up as Mount Vesuvius in AD 79!

Take our client GAME as a perfect example. Their learners are using their Academy as a real social network, and GAME is feeling the benefits.

Social Learning GAME
Chloe is clearly loving the social features on GAME’s Academy!

The learners keep checking in to chat to each other and post photos of the best costumes worn to their store promotions. To put this into perspective, from April-July 2015, their 3,600 learners logged in more than 40,500 times. That’s nearly 12 logins per user!

And in case you’re worried that social activity is no good if no-one’s learning anything, over the same four months these same learners completed more than 61,000 pieces of content – 17 per learner!

That’s before you even consider the benefits brought by having a community of leaners helping each other to understand and apply their knowledge. Clearly, fostering these communities is the way forward.

How we encourage social learning

You can find social networks designed for businesses knocking about on the market, but if you have an LMS, you’d greatly benefit from incorporating social elements within the same virtual space.

Thankfully, our Academy LMS was built to engage learners, so it’s packed full of all the features you’ll find on your favourite social network:

  • Social Learning HappyWhat’s Happening? Feed – Similar to Facebook’s newsfeed, this is a stream of updates and discussions started by other learners, all of which can be liked and commented on.
  • Insight Groups – Like focused chatrooms, you create insight groups around specific topics, to keep discussions relevant to the matter at hand. As an added incentive, learners earn experience points and climb leaderboards by participating.
  • Comments under learning – Learners can rate each piece of content and leave comments underneath. This is a great way to start a discussion about it!
  • Live chat – Pop-out chat boxes let learners have discussions in real-time while they get on with work, learning, or pretending they’re not actually watching cat videos.
  • Access to experts – Learners can ask questions to subject matter experts at any point to check their understanding. The discussions are saved as FAQs for everyone’s benefit.

Interested in reading more about what makes social learning so brilliant? You’re in luck, because we’ve got a white paper about it!

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