In today’s high-octane online digital work environment where learning for skilling and up-skilling is just a tap away from your smart-phones’ screens, social learning has come as a great saviour for organisations seeking to take their businesses to a new height, through cooperative learning and increased workers engagement.
Windows of opportunities
So, learning is no longer just class-room lectures or through contents supplied to you via the organisation’s learning management systems. It has on the contrary, and for good, too, assumed a new dimension. Students or learners can pick up skills or knowledge on-the-go through a collaborative online learning ecosystem. This obviously throws open windows of immense opportunities.
A viable option
Particularly, in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, when willy-nilly enterprises had to fall back on online digital learning methods, as nobody would dare to venture out and rather prefer to work or learn from a Covid-free safe bubble, that the real worth of social learning as a long-term viable option has been recognized.
· Videos uploaded online by users, creating and interacting through gamifications and making use of tools like video conferencing are some of the most effective social learning methods.
· This ensures learners have a holistic learning experience.
Social learning real
Games that are played online between teams, discussions on related subjects, organizing monthly or fortnightly webinars, holding question-answer sessions on the basis of the subjects raised in an online video and staying connected throughout the learning process make social learning more intense, apparently real and effective.
Learns are supposed to learn and skill up. It’s the job of a trainer or teacher to ensure that learning is effective enough to draw students or trainees to it.
· A lot however depend on the ability of trainers to put the online educational tools to their best use during the social learning process.
· The challenge before trainers is not only to promote collaboration in learning but also to adapt to different learning methods seamlessly.
· One of the best advantages of social learning is that it comes for free.
· The learners or organisations don’t have to allocate big budgets for installing the learning software.
· The entire learning process happens online.
· There are thousands of online courses known by their collective title of MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses. It is accessible to anyone and anyone can enroll in it without spending a penny for learning new skills at his or her own pace.
· For the learners it opens up new windows of opportunities and for organisations it means adding value to learning and development.
· Social learning thus enables learners, alongside increasing learning capabilities, to inculcate the ability to develop self-organisation skills.
· It facilitates a higher level of learning engagements with those who are beyond the ambit of the formal learning process.
· It promotes collaboration among learners. It has been instrumental in skill development.
Informal learning – big picture
· A brainchild of psychologist Albert Bandura, informal social learning is estimated to comprise about 75 per cent of learning within organizations.
· Organisations cutting across sectors see social learning as a great way of continuing the learning process even after the formal training sessions.
· So creating a culture of social learning is the new buzz at workplaces.
Social learning, to sum up, impacts learners at various conscious and subconscious levels. It is also considered to be the most effective way of engaging learners and making them understand and appreciate the usefulness of learning. This in turn enhances their learning abilities. It also facilitates effective retention of learning. The exposure to various methods of learning makes learners job-ready for any place, time and situation.