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Web 2.0: Social Learning In The 21st Century

Sosyal ÖğrenmeOnline platforms and social media are effective tools for promotions in marketing as well as for hiring in human resources. When you take into account the development of learning technologies and the learning habits of Y generation, these platforms also represent an essential opportunity for learning activities. Before further details and examples of the use of social media in learning, I would like to explain “Social Learning” concept briefly.

“Social Learning Theory” was developed by Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura in 1960s. According to Bandura, most of the learning acquired by the individuals occurs in social environments. Fundamental behaviors and information are obtained by observing other individuals and the results of their actions. In other words, at home we learn from other parents, at school from our classmates and at work from our colleagues (simplypsychology.org).

Nowadays the definition of social learning has expanded. We are connected with each other not only in physical environment but also via internet and social media platforms. We can benefit from these new types of connection in order to sustain continuous social learning. I would like to focus on learning activities in the corporate life and to group the tools that could be used for this purpose under three main headings: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Blogs and Social Media Platforms.

Using these tools as separate learning method is possible. In addition to that, to enrich and increase the effectiveness of learning experience I do suggest using them with other methods such as face-to-face trainings and online learning. This type of mixed learning is called as “hybrid learning”.

1# Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

A Massive Open Online Course is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students and instructors (Wikipedia).

Today there are numerous online platforms that present world class and free online courses. I strongly recommend you the web sites of TED, Coursera, and Khan Academy. (For a more comprehensive list of free online platforms and courses please visit http://www.mooc-list.com/) These platforms provide free learning videos, development resources and on-line training sessions.

2# Blogs

One of the main complaints that participants mention after corporate trainings is that “the training was good, I have learned useful things but after I get back to work I will forgot everything and go back to my usual life.”

We can benefit from the blogs in order to overcome this hurdle. Because blogs;

  • make it possible for the instructor to remind important messages of the topic after the course,
  • encourage participants to share their real life experiences after they get back to work,
  • et the participants join interactive discussions and share their ideas via comment boxes.

We can benefit from different blogging platforms for this purpose. Instructors can prefer to use their personal blog pages, corporate bodies can dedicate special pages via their intranet sites or micro blogging sites such as Twitter can be used (please see my another blog post Twitter For a New Way of Learning for details) to follow up after the training program.

3# Social Media Platforms

Internal corporate platforms can be used as interactive social learning platforms. One of the most well-known service providers for this kind of use is Yammer. In “2013 Informal Learning Report” prepared by ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) Research, two corporate experiences with Yammer are presented as best practices.

One of them is Deloitte, which uses Yammer as an enterprise social network that functions like an internal Twitter platform. The initiative has been very successful because of the fact that Deloitte’s CEO is an active user. As noted by one observer, “This was crucial for two reasons: first, because it sent the message that Deloitte was serious about embracing new technology; second, because use of Yammer by the CEO gave younger associates a voice—they were part of Yammer discussions in which their ideas could be seen by the CEO and he could respond to them” (ASTD, 2013).

Pitney Bowes is the other example. Mike Petersell, director of the Management Center for Learning and Development at Pitney Bowes says that Yammer is a pivotal part of employee learning. Petersell sees value in the connections Yammer makes possible: “I recognize that what makes people most successful is not what they learn from the content of the programs we provide, but what they learn from one another” (ASTD, 2013).

In today’s world, many of the learning activities focus on providing training content and designing training programs. The information flow is generally one sided: from the instructor to the participants. However, the expectations and learning habits of the new generation is different. They want to have an interactive learning environment and learn from each other.

Interactivity, collaboration and utilization of the technology are the future of learning. As human resources professionals we need to put such applications into practice and lead our companies for the future.

*This post was initially published at http://learnnovators.com/guest-blog/

  • Amit Pandey

    I really like reading all the points, and these are really very informative for me. After reading this, I got to know much more information’s about the Human resource.Thanks a lot for sharing.

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