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Technology Enabled Learning Excellence Essentials January 2015

FEATURE Social Learning Eight truths By Pam Boiros Most learning professionals are keenly interested in the topic of social learning, but many organizations have not yet figured out a way to leverage the potential. One reason is that it is difficult to separate hype from reality and focus on elements that are really important. This list of eight “truths” has been compiled to provide a founda-tion for learning professionals who are launching social learning in their organizations. 1. Social learning is a three-legged stool To be successful, three elements are needed: a technology plat-form, a vibrant community and great content. If one of these legs is missing, it can spell an early and disappointing end to your social learning initiative. The platform is pretty obvious — you need a place to capture the interactions of your organization. Hopefully, it’s a place that’s easy to find and use in the course of everyday work. However, with just a platform you risk the dreaded “empty drum syndrome”. People may come to visit your new social platform once or twice out of curiosity, but if there isn’t anything there to engage them (interesting content) they won’t be back. If they don’t come back, you will never develop a vibrant community. However, if you seed your platform with great content, it is much easier for employees to jump in and offer their first comments. Nuggets of content act like magnets for comments, and these comments attract other comments and before you know it you have a flourishing com-munity that’s engaged in active discussion. But it all starts with the seed of content. Starting with the right content is also important. It should be some-thing that is not only interesting to your audience, but also provides business value. And as learning professionals, we have the trusted information and learning content that can form the basis of these discussions. So building your social learning program around your existing base of learning content makes a lot of sense. With valuable business or technical content as the seed, you are much more likely to surface conversations that add unique business value (as opposed to gabfests about the weekend social scene). 2. Social learning doesn’t add to the problem of information overload, it helps alleviate it! We are all bombarded with new messages and bits of information all day long, and many learning professionals are managing content collections with thousands of assets. Over time, this rich abundance of content can become a challenge. When a user needs some specific piece of information to solve a business problem, it can be impossible to find! Social learning communities, with their power to amplify the most relevant content, can act like a spotlight on the most useful 22 Submit your Articles Excellence Essentials presented by HR.com | 01.2015


Technology Enabled Learning Excellence Essentials January 2015
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