Why Social Learning Matters for Corporate Learning


Creating a positive corporate culture that facilitates learning, professional development, and employee retention requires a variety of strategies. Social learning, or learning from and with others, is one of the most valuable corporate learning strategies in nearly any field. Within your company, social learning encourages relationships and collaboration that move beyond a learning environment and into the everyday workplace, making your staff both more productive and more satisfied with the workplace environment.

 

Understanding Social Learning

While social learning may sound like a modern concept, in fact, it’s one of the most significant ways humans learn. You’ve been participating in social learning your entire life, from watching and engaging with your family as an infant and toddler to absorbing aspects of a new corporate culture. 

Most people don’t like learning in a classroom setting; it’s frequently defined as dry or boring, and retention rates are low. Swap that structured classroom for a more casual and interactive one and your staff will not only like their learning experiences but are more likely to retain information and integrate it into their daily work. 

 

Social Learning Face-to-Face

You might be surprised to realize that social learning occurs every day in the workplace. When one person asks another a question about the software, it’s an example of social learning. When someone on your staff takes the time to teach a new skill or provide information, it’s social learning. This kind of social learning occurs more readily when you create a collaborative and supportive workplace and provide opportunities for employees to interact with one another. 

Social learning can also be more formalized. For instance, you might host workshops to learn about new software, with open laptops and free interactions between coworkers, or designate specific times for learning and interaction in a more regimented workplace. That could look like a later opening time one day a week or a special event to show off and try out new products. 

 

Online Social Learning

While, on the surface, social learning sounds like something that requires people to be in the same building at the same time, that is far from true! In fact, companies with offices around the globe or with a remote workforce can still take advantage of social learning opportunities. These may look a bit different than social learning in person, but they’re just as valuable and offer the same benefits of collaboration, connection, and information retention.

What do opportunities for online social learning look like?

  • Using video conferencing technology to bring staff together in one place for conversation, interaction, or demonstrations.
  • Offering the ability to converse with others, both in and out of the office, through discussion feeds.
  • Live streaming work events and training so everyone is able to participate.
  • Enabling on-the-spot video chats for staff in multiple locations. 

 

 

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The Importance of Social Learning in Employee Training


Social learning is the oldest form of human learning; simply defined, social learning is learning through interactions with other people. Everyone has experienced learning through these interactions. In fact, social learning is likely the way you learned to talk, to say please and thank you, and to recognize shapes, animals, and colors. The same basic learning strategies can be employed in a corporate environment, and often take place in a variety of day-to-day interactions, both online and in person.

 

What Does Social Learning Look Like in the Workplace?

You might be surprised to realize that social learning is taking place in offices and businesses around the country and the world every single day. The following examples all illustrate the ways in which employees learn from one another.

  • One member of your staff asks a colleague a technical question.
  • Employees use online help files to solve problems.
  • You spend a short time demonstrating a new skill to a few employees.
  • Employees are offered the opportunity to shadow other members of your staff.

These are all forms of social learning or learning from one another. Some of them involve direct interactions and other indirect interactions.

 

The Advantages of Social Learning

Social learning offers a number of advantages for both corporations and individuals learning in those corporations. Traditionally, employee training and education take place in classrooms or during professional conferences. It requires time missed from work and is less effective at producing long-term retention of information.

 

Time

Social learning does not require dedicated blocks of time. Instead, it takes place during the course of the workday or on a regular and repeated basis. There is no need to close your offices or pay travel expenses when you encourage social learning over event-based or session-based learning.

Learning

Organizations that encourage and facilitate social learning may be quite surprised when they realize that their employees are learning more and retaining more. In many cases, social learning allows employees to learn through a variety of different learning modalities, and even to select the learning methods and styles that work best for the individual employee.

Collaboration

Social learning involves interaction between co-workers and facilitates engagement, cooperation, and collaboration. This team atmosphere supports employee well-being and happiness, encouraging your staff to work together effectively to help one another grow.

 

Taking Social Learning Online

Many companies maintain multiple offices, different shifts, or rely upon remote workers. Social learning can take place in an online environment, as well as in face-to-face interactions. If you need to bring workers together from different sites and offices, you can encourage social learning by:

  • Using real-time live streaming to bring staff together to learn.
  • Relying on mobile tools to show site visits to your staff.
  • Implementing video conferencing options to keep people talking, even if they live and work thousands of miles apart. 
  • Maintaining accessible media content to educate staff when they have time available or questions.
  • Allowing questions and comments visible to all users on media content.
  • Offering an online discussion feed to post questions, comments, and engage with others while building collaborative relationships. 

 

 

 

Previous article: Using Lecture Capture and a Video CMS with Blackboard

 

Using Video to Facilitate Communication and Collaboration for Remote Workers


In today’s economy, more and more workers are doing their work from home, from a coffee shop, or from a co-working space. Many companies have multiple offices; there may not be any opportunity for meetings in the conference room or for conversations around the water cooler. Video technology can facilitate and support communication, interaction, and collaboration for remote workers.

Challenges for Remote Workers


Remote work places challenges on workers, employers, and colleagues.

  • Employers often have concerns about remote worker productivity, whether workers work hourly, on salary, or on a contract basis. Various tools are used to assess remote worker productivity, depending upon the situation.
  • Workers may experience challenges related to loneliness, overwork, and a lack of structure. Remote workers are likely to feel isolated, and may feel like they are unaware of goings-on in the office.
  • Colleagues may find it difficult to communicate with or access their remote-working co-workers. Collaborative projects may be especially challenging.

Using Video Technology with Remote Workers

Video technology can solve many of the struggles associated with remote working for all parties involved, including remote workers, their colleagues, and their employers. 

Ongoing Communication

Real-time video conferencing or video meetings provide an effective way to have actual conversations online. Rather than relying upon email, which lacks the nuance of tone and facial expression, real-time video meetings provide instantaneous feedback and can reduce misunderstanding and confusion. In addition, real-time solutions allow for immediate problem-solving, with no back-and-forth communication.

Collaborative Teamwork

One of the flaws to remote working is the challenge of collaborating with others. Some tools already in use in many companies help to reduce those challenges by allowing for shared documents and files on a cloud-based system; however, collaboration requires communication. Immediate access to video meeting spaces can improve the collaborative process, whether two people are involved or ten people. 

Face-to-face Interaction

While digital technology has made remote work possible, it still often lacks the personal factor–it is much more difficult to develop good working relationships with colleagues when you speak only via email or an occasional phone call. Video technology provides the ability to develop personal working relationships with co-workers, even if the two workers work across the country from one another.

Evolving Corporate Learning for Increased Impact


Corporate learning is a 164.2 billion dollar industry, but many companies find that their investment in corporate learning is not as impactful as they might hope. Evolving corporate learning provides the ability to increase learning and retention, lower costs, and offer improved flexibility. Effective corporate learning programs engage learners, meet their needs, and keep both lower-level staff and management increasing their skills, abilities, and value to your enterprise.

The Evolution of Corporate Learning


Changes in corporate learning and professional continuing education are essential in today’s marketplace. In a world of ever-changing technology and best practices, keeping employees up-to-date, involved, and capable is essential. Traditionally, corporate learning is provided in short, periodic bursts, like a professional conference. This model remains commonplace, and offers some distinct benefits; however, it may not address all corporate learning needs.

Evolving corporate learning strategies rely upon the latest technological innovations to create a multi-faceted plan for continuing employee, staff and management training that facilitates learning, commitment and growth. 


Leadership

Effective corporate learning should be guided by and supported by management, and should include and integrate management into the corporate learning process.  When companies empower management and encourage excitement and involvement in the learning and continuing education process, employees have the ability to grow and expand their skills.  Management goals and priorities should include time for employee support and mentorship to make the most effective use of corporate learning programs.


Flexibility

In today’s rapidly changing world, it is essential that corporate learning strategies be flexible. Many enterprises involve multiple locations, and may incorporate virtual teams or remote workers. Corporate learning programs should facilitate learning and collaboration between all of these workers, including those working virtually and remotely.

While traditional models of in-person teaching require workers to be available at the same time and place, opting for newer models that integrate online learning options can facilitate employee learning on their own schedule. In addition, mobile accessibility means that staff can fit corporate learning into available windows of time, including during business travel.


Development

Technology is, today, changing so fast that it can be difficult for corporations, management and employees to keep up. Planning corporate learning events once a year or every other year is simply not adequate to meet the needs of today’s business world. 

An evolving model of corporate learning is continuous, rather than merely occasional. Continuing employee training could be a set period each month, or even weekly. Working with modern corporate learning options, like video learning, can enable employees to learn at their own pace, gradually and over time. Repetition and review facilitate retention of new information and new skills. 


Ferrazi, Keith. “7 Ways to Improve Employee Development Programs,” 2015. https://hbr.org/2015/07/7-ways-to-improve-employee-development-programs  Accessed September 9, 2017. 

Teaching Collaborative Skills with YuJa


small-classroom-lecture

In today’s workplace, collaboration and the ability to be an effective member of a team is critical to success. Colleges, technical schools, and universities have a responsibility to prepare students for a collaborative work environment.

The Harvard Business Review has identified eight factors essential to effective teamwork and collaboration.

  1. Investing in practices that support employee relationships.
  2. Modeling of collaborative behavior by senior members of the administration or management staff.
  3. Encouraging mentorship and coaching in the workplace.
  4. Ensuring employees have adequate relationship building and communication skills.
  5. Supporting a sense of community in the workplace.
  6. Assigning quality team leaders with both task and relationship skills.
  7. Building on existing relationships.
  8. Understanding the importance of clear roles and flexible task assignment.

While these ways to build collaboration are relevant to the workplace, they can also find a place in the traditional or online classroom. Implement these strategies in a traditional classroom to provide students with essential real-world experience.

Maximize Collaboration with YuJa

While teamwork and collaboration are common in the traditional classroom, individuals in the modern workplace need to be able to collaborate just as effectively with remote workers, and individuals working at different sites and locations. The online collaboration experience offered by YuJa is an ideal way to train students in those collaboration skills and to prepare them for the challenges and benefits of the modern workplace.

Consider the following ways in which YuJa can enable each of the factors essential to effective collaboration.

  1. YuJa provides students or staff with the tools needed for collaboration, including video conferencing and file sharing.
  2. Instructors and teaching assistants have the ability to model collaborative behaviors and work habits.
  3. The ability to engage and teach one another on the real-time discussions, as well as easy access to support staff, supports coaching and mentorship through YuJa.
  4. Conversations in the real-time discussions and video conferences enable students to develop key relationship and communication skills.
  5. YuJa creates a community of students, both as an addition to the classroom experience, and as a replacement for the traditional classroom experience.
  6. Instructors and teaching assistants can provide effective leadership in the blended or online classroom.
  7. Students can develop ongoing relationships with one another to provide support, work together or even create their own online study groups.
  8. YuJa offers instructors the flexibility to easily customize tasks to students, providing task flexibility, while maintaining clear roles for students, teaching assistants and instructors.

With YuJa, instructors can effectively prepare students for collaborative work in the modern office or workplace. Students will develop the understanding and tools necessary to succeed in both face-to-face to face teamwork and online collaborations.


Gratton, Lynda and Erickson, Tamara. “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams.” Harvard Business Review. Web. Accessed on 16 November 2015.

 

Taking It from the Experts: HBX and Social Learning


University-Campus
The Harvard Business Review recently posted an article describing the results of their HBX experiment. While traditional online learning focused on a lecture by a speaker, HBX focused on a more collaborative learning modality.  The goals of HBX included:

  • Dealing with real-world business problems.
  • Encouraging interaction with the material and enterprise video.
  • Facilitating collaboration among students using social learning tools.

For users of YuJa, the HBX experiment provides some valuable information about how and why you can and should integrate YuJa’s social learning experience into your brick-and-mortar or online classroom. HBX found that social learning could even take the place of expert-driven learning as students worked together to learn, taking an active role in their educational process and providing accurate answers to 90 percent of questions posed. While this research involved university classes, the findings can be applied to work in corporate training and education or even collaborative teams in the workplace.

HBX made several significant changes to the traditional online learning format; you can do the same with the tools available at YuJa. Here’s what the HBX experiment learned and how to adapt it to your YuJa connected classroom or team-based collaboration in the workplace.

  • Give your students the opportunity to get to know one another; the YuJa profile allows students or employees to upload a photo and share personal information. You can also use the multimedia discussion forums to allow members of your class or team to engage and interact with one another.
  • Require involvement and collaboration. Connecting the use of social learning resources to grades is an easy way to make certain that students actively participate in online learning. You can use the multimedia discussion forums, file sharing, online video collaborations, or quizzes and polls to support student involvement. Regular participation can also be treated as a workplace responsibility.
  • Encourage your students to commit to their classwork, or team members to commit to their team in the workplace. Commitment and capability are both key to successful participation. This principle is, for the class instructor, a bit harder to implement, especially for lower-level classes.
  • Promote shared experiences. While flexibility is valuable, maintaining some set deadlines and shared class times or online conversations promotes collaboration among your students or team members.
  • Set clear guideslines and ground rules for behavior and conversation. These promote positive interactions and social learning, without allowing less committed or interested students to control discussions and interactions.

It’s all in the numbers; HBX illustrated the potential for social learning. Typical completion rates for online-only MOOCs are in the single digits. The completion rate for HBX courses, on the other hand, was between 85 and 90 percent. Collaboration, cooperation and social learning created significant change in how students interacted with one another and the course material. Students reported high satisfaction with the course and their learning process.

YuJa offers online instructors, brick-and-mortar course instructors, corporate trainers, and collaborative teams the ability to embrace the tools of social learning and collaboration with equal success.


 

Anand, Bahrat, Hammon, Jan and Narayanan, V.G.. “What Harvard Business School Has Learned about Online Collaboration from HBX.” Harvard Business Review. April 14, 2015. https://hbr.org/2015/04/what-harvard-business-school-has-learned-about-online-collaboration-from-hbx

 

Using YuJa for Corporate Training


Female speaker giving presentation to group in conference roomThe applications of YuJa extend well beyond the traditional classroom. Corporate training and continuing education is a significant cost for many businesses; however, YuJa can reduce travel, expand the educational options available to your employees and make training sessions more efficient.

YuJa’s software-based tools are an ideal choice for corporate trainers. Using a podium computer or the instructor’s laptop computer, instructional lectures, including supplemental materials, like PowerPoint presentations, can be captured, streamed in real-time, or watched at other times. Additionally, file uploads of all types make it easy to share instructional materials, while real-time chats and discussions allow for question-and-answer sessions, discussions and collaboration with employees.

How can YuJa benefit your company?

  • Real-time streaming and playback can enable individuals to attend training sessions from other locations.
  • Easy and convenient video interactions allow for feedback, questions, and an improved learning experience over other online options.
  • Lecture capture technology can be used to “flip” your corporate training. Employees can watch material before training sessions, enabling on-site time to be used for various exercises, as well as questions and answers.
  • YuJa is easy to integrate into your current training programs and technologies. There is no need to invest in new programs or materials.
  • Designed to be quick to learn, your corporate trainers can embrace all of the aspects of YuJa in a very short time, bringing your training programs online without extensive preparation.

Furthermore, according to research done by the United States Department of Education, online learning leads to better student performance, particularly among older or non-traditional learners, like those in a corporate environment.


U.S. Department of Education. “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning.” U.S. Department of Education. Web. September, 2010. Accessed on 23 March 2015.

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