Remote working can be both a blessing and a curse. For some, it means a welcome change to a better work-life balance but for others, it means isolation and only limited interaction with colleagues. This is a problem—learning should be a social experience! The 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that learners of all generations feel motivated to learn in a social environment with 67% of Gen Z and 50% of Millennials agreeing.
In the shift to new ways of working, whether your employees are hybrid workers or fully remote, it’s important to find new ways of engaging with learners and delivering a social learning environment. It’s down to us to use the technology at our disposal to replicate the social learning that employees used to have and make sure our current learners are getting the most out of their experience.
What Is Social Learning—And Why Does It Matter?
Think back to your time in education. If you had a problem, a concept that was just out of your reach, then a quick chat with other students soon set you right. Or remember the reassurance that you got from knowing that other learners were getting the same answers. That’s social and collaborative learning and without it, a learner can feel less confident or, worse still, have wholly misunderstood a particular point.
With no peer group to communicate with, a learner’s progress can be slowed or even derailed. Social learning, having a community of learners who can share knowledge and succeed together, is a way to ensure that the courses you want to deliver will be enthusiastically completed.
So, how can you deliver a social learning experience?
How to Encourage Social and Collaborative Learning
Here are five simple ways to use technology to encourage social learning:
1. Offer Discussion Boards
Online discussion boards are invaluable in fostering a sense of community among your employees. Employees benefit from personalized learning journeys, self-selecting the courses they feel are right for them leads to a better learning experience. Furthermore, being able to chat with fellow learners about which courses are particularly relevant and valuable makes the learning journey easier. Best of all, employees who have already completed a course can offer guidance to current learners. Never forget that your talent pool is also your knowledge pool, and making it easier for employees to communicate with each other pays dividends.
2. Support Peer-to-Peer Feedback
If your LMS offers a peer feedback facility then employees can easily find out how they’re progressing. They can find out which of their skills need improvement or what practices they need to start or, equally, stop doing. With peer review, this whole process is more immediate than a one-on-one with a manager, and having honest feedback from a fellow employee who is on the same wavelength is invaluable. The benefits of peer reinforcement in L&D can’t be underestimated—and there are still ways for employees to connect with each other in the remote space.
3. Schedule Live Training Events
Live training events can help learners to feel more connected in the remote working environment and give them more control over their individual learning objectives. Seeing fellow learners onscreen and being able to engage in an exchange of ideas in real-time can replicate quite closely the classroom feel that can be missing from remote learning. Fostering a sense of community like this goes some way towards tackling the isolation that some of your remote workers may be experiencing.
4. Encourage Learners to Share
Gamifiying elements of your eLearning courses can be an effective way to help your learners connect with each other, no matter where they are. A lively sense of competition, whether through measuring lessons completed, course progress, or the number of days that an employee has been engaged with a course, can drive learners onwards and motivate them to continue. Again, discussion boards can be a place where employees can boast about their achievements, commiserate with others, and offer valuable encouragement.
5. Leverage Institutional Knowledge
Giving education a familiar face is another way in which you can make learning a more social experience. By having your top talent share their wealth of experience and expertise on, for example, video tutorials, you’re not only making great use of the resources at your fingertips but also making your organization seem more cohesive.
How Can Bridge Help?
Deliver a seamless learning experience for your employees in the hybrid workspace with Bridge.
Bridge’s Learning Management System LMS encourages employees to take ownership of their own learning objectives, making it easy to collaborate and share with other learners, and providing an engaging experience.