Why is a Social Learning Platform so Important?

Since Stream LXP (formerly Curatr)’s conception in 2010, Social Learning has been at the forefront of the Stream LXP story, with Learning Pool (formerly HT2 Labs) striving to create exceptional learning experiences for learners around the globe.

In December 2018, HT2 Labs (now Learning Pool) was awarded Gold for Best Advance in Social Learning for Stream LXP, the Social Learning Platform, at the Brandon Hall Excellence Awards.

Brandon Hall are world-class leaders of research and data analysis in Learning & Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Management.

Following this recognition from Brandon Hall, we wanted to highlight a few reasons why a Social Learning Platform can be helpful.

What is Social Learning?

Social Learning is a learning concept which recognizes that undertaking training/educational courses in a collaborative forum, in which ideas can be discussed and concepts freely explored, contributes to much higher engagement and retention than more traditional teacher/learner environments.

Learning technology solutions, such as the Social Learning Platform, pioneer Social Learning features (e.g. like and share functions, chat forums and message boards) to help learners test their knowledge, share their expertise and take ownership of their own learning.

Social Learning & Its Advantages in the Workplace

While its significance and usage in corporate training is a relatively new concept, Social Learning is intrinsic to the way we learn:

  • As children, we learn through observation, as well as through interactions with our peers
  • As we grow older, we add learning through collaboration (e.g. through group projects and assignments at school)
  • And when we start working, we learn through the same approaches (during meetings, through a conversation with a colleague in the staff room or a debate at lunch)

Arguably the best part of learning was doing it as a group with the mentality of “we’re all in it together!”

Benefits for Learners:

  • Social Learning is learner-centric and therefore, appeals to the learner
  • Social Learning appeals more to millennials (those who are now starting to enter the modern workforce)
  • Social Learning offers support to more formal means of learning, as well as flexibility in the application

Benefits for Businesses:

  • Facilitates learner engagement
  • Triggers effective collaboration and teamwork within the company
  • Encourages self-organization among learners

So, How Do We Replicate That at a Larger Scale  & Online?

Well for starters you need a topic to build your course around and that involves curating content from either your own library or from the web. Content should act as a trigger of discussion.

Once you’ve developed a little bit of structure and direction, you can start to formulate the discussion points around the content.

A couple of things to keep in mind when generating discussion points:

  • Use open-ended questions (a yes/no answer will kill the conversation)
  • Keep the discussion point on topic and relate directly back to the content it sits with (you can’t afford to have your students go off-topic)
  • Encourage collaboration by replying to learners comments, inviting them to do the same with their peers

How Can We Get People to Participate?

Learning with peers in a work environment can be a fundamental part of the learning process. But getting people to actually participate, especially in an online environment, has often proved a barrier.

Most Social Learning Platforms, like Stream LXP, allow learners to create discussion by gamifying the social process to encourage quality contributions. Having made a connection with a theory, idea or activity, learners are then motivated to create a commentary on their thought processes.

Learners and managers are also encouraged to curate the best conversations as well as vote, bookmark and recommend the most popular ideas and opinions.

The gamification features, such as points, levels and badges, exist to nudge participants through the learning process and rewards users who interact regularly using the social functions.

Taking It a Step Further

Asking for input from those taking the course can be taken a step further with user-generated content. Comments on content and generating a discussion around a certain topic is fantastic and certainly the first step in formulating a social course, but with user-generated content, you can allow those taking the course to elaborate on their thoughts.

Giving your users multiple options for participating in a course shows that you want to hear their opinions and you value their input. Giving your employees a voice and multiple avenues to broadcast on will certainly elevate the training process.

Want to learn more about the Social Learning Process? Head over to a blog for more insights, particularly 3 Reasons Why Stream LXP (formerly Curatr) Doesn’t Have a Discussion Forum.

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