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Martin Couzins

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Review of TrainingZone’s Twitter chat on social learning


Here we look at the learning from our recent Twitter chat on social learning.

TrainingZone recently ran its first Twitter chat - #tzchat. Jane Hart, founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies hosted the chat, which lasted an hour and looked at the topic of social learning. More than 90 people joined us on Twitter to discuss these four questions posed by Jane:

  1. What do you understand by the term "social learning" and social medias place in it?
  2. Learning continuously is key, so how can you encourage people to learn continuously & socially outside your organisation?
  3. How can/do you enable and support continuous social learning in the workplace?
  4. You can't force people to be social, so how can you include appropriate social approaches within formal (e)learning/training?

Below are some of the answers that were posted during the chat - each answer had to be 140 characters or less. They provide a valuable resource on the approach to social learning. And below these is a report that shows all the tweets from the discussion.

This was TrainingZone's first Twitter chat and we decided to give it a try in the spirit of our September social learning month. A lot of interesting ideas were shared and reaction from participants has been positive.

TrainingZone is keen to run another Twitter chat so please let us know if you woud be interested in hosting a chat or simply suggesting topics for further discussion.

1. What do you understand by the term "social learning" and social medias place in it?

  • For me it's broader than just learning via social media tools
  • Social Media tools are exactly that, a tool to help you learn
  • The ability of people to learn outside a formal classroom environment
  • Social learning - theory focusing on importance of socially-constructed learning - social media enhancer of social learning
  • It's about learning from one another, sharing expertise, collaboratively building understanding whether F2F or virtually
  • For me, it is sharing knowledge, skills and experience wherever and whenever
  • Social learning is what happens when we interact with one another. Social media (SoMe) helps it
  • Social Learning is vicarious learning happening when people chat (sometimes via social media) resulting in knowledge negotiation
  • Most learning is 'social'. Social constructivism is a social learning at its best
  • Social media tools are alternative ways for people to connect
  • Learning from one another, either formally or informally. Social media helps with the sharing
  • SoMe's role in Social Learning is the big enabler to unlock people's imagination and creativity
  • Social media can change a whisper lost in the forest into a global shout
  • Getting us back to the way we were mant to be - innovative, creative and collaborating
  • Social learning to me is learning from others while having fun
  • Informal collaborative learning where participants share their experiences and learning.
  • Social media is the conduit
  • You were born social! It's just natural, that's why it has been such a success in the world, we love learning from others
  • To me, social learningg means gaining knowledge by collaborating with others, not in a vacuum, SoMe is a set of tools that facilitates it
  • Social learning is everyday chats with others when you want to know something and social media is just the tech. platform
  • Co-operation in learning. Problem solving online using socialmedia media

2. Learning continuously is key, so how can you encourage people to learn continuously & socially outside your organisation?

  • Learning? Listening others with interest, read materials the community recommend, and share the results you find
  • Talk about your experience to encourage others
  • Share success
  • make it easy, provide incentives, get involved yourself,
  • consciously balance time invested in internal and external communities, help analyze this balance
  • be a beacon of what people are interested in. Attachment by passion and interest is very powerful
  • For some people you have to show the business results of social learning to let them see its not just "useless chatter"
  • Introduce people to resources & experts in their field(s) of interest they never knew existed. #Twitter chats are good example.
  • help them see that they already learn socially, need to learn continuously; model, challenge to engage
  •  I find that I need to embody the change I want to see in others: "walk the talk" and bring attention to those who do likewise
  • Help them to awaken their skills of noticing what is going on around them - hear, see, smell, feel etc
  • I think linkedin is a good place for folks to start feeling their way
  • Encourage people to use all the available means - that includes the soMe platforms eg twitter, Yammer FB
  • I always praticed learning continuously - this is a pull issue or self motivation.
  • twitter, conferences, technology sites, networking thru user groups, Share, share, share!
  • Share what you learn in forums such as Twitter, org uses Yammer and I post insights I gain there
  • Social Media fosters interpersonal interaction regardless geographical, ethnical, institutional or even linguistic
  • barriers.
  • I'm getting more and more from my blog - comments are really helpful
  • social learning can also help people engage company strategy as they feel like they have a say & better visibility on information
  • Find learning leaders in the org that can tell their story about learning. We all need learning ambassadors.
  • Educate everyone in the tools available but would be best to have one for everyone to engage with
  • How do you get your kids to read more? You read with them
  • You model. You make it a social object: a reason to stay engaged
  •  this is where the importance of cloud based solutions come in. easy access to relevant information wherever you like
  • Every note you share on your Kindle is the potential start of a new conversation.
  • Quora and other interest driven/ question based services. Linked in groups work for a lot of people.
  •  Youtube is genius for finding out about things

3. How can/do you enable and support continuous social learning in the workplace?

  • Based on the organisation's strategy and preferences, share a list of suggested sites locations, where people can continue learning
  • My team has a SP site where we share our learnings...we post them there with links to the source (blog, etc.) where we found info
  • Make friends with the IT staff so they don't block it
  • Model it. Coach others who are interested and help them become evangelists for it.
  • Reposition learning and training. They are different and L&D's role is to create the opportunity, not manage it.
  • Provide the platform, model behavior, facilitate good practices, reward usage, ensure value is found
  • If you can show what you've learned in the context of those you're trying to teach, that goes a long way
  • role is as a supporter in business support - enabling, supporting, encouraging - showing new and better ways
  • To start from the top. Create the space "Tools" and lead by example, don't prescribe suggest self-medicate
  • Get them together with laptops & support, work with them to explore tools available, follow up regularly, share links, blogs
  • Team members also record podcasts when they learn something and post to SP to share it with others
  • when managed an L&D team internally, set up delicious account to share bookmarks, also had one person summarise industry news
  • Keep in mind social learning does not necessarily involve social media or IT. It's a pull environment - usually share via email, but also talk about it at lunch/while getting coffee/soda/tea/water :)
  • Start by encouraging social learning as a follow up exercise to taught programmes
  • For me it's about working with groups who are already learning from one another & building on that, not trying to impose it top down
  • Too many consider social learning as a brand or channel, it's about allowing creation of connections.
  • I have them set short-term goals with resources ex- curricula that worked for me. We feedback on results after time alloted
  • Around 50% of your org are already using SoMe tools to address their own learning and performance probs, bypassing IT and L&D
  • I heard my org's call center mgmt is using Facebook as means to communicate with associates

4. You can't force people to be social, so how can you include appropriate social approaches within formal (e)learning/training?

  • Appropriate social approaches within formal (e)learning/training?
  • By developing pre and post course communities
  • People are social by nature. given the right platform they will share & learn from each like they do everyday face to face
  • Stop doing learning events and start building learning networks
  • Give group assignments, take turns performing & critiquing (reciprocal teaching)
  • Two of last years Elearning award winners can show you how...BA did it pre course, Fire Services College did it post course
  • By including opportunities for sharing and discussion within training sessions
  • Blended learning (the key is knowing when, why, and how to use the delivery method
  • Need to use a "gentle hand" of leadership in online communities
  • Encourage "listening-is- participating" mindset. Participation can be passive at first/always
  • Content needs to be embedded in the communities - not separate from it
  • Add links to forums, chat, twitter, SoMe from WITHIN instructional design
  • Remember not all valuable time is spent logged into the system - some orgs feel value is only found in action that is tracked
  • Encourage co-creation of content - not just commenting on "expert" content

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