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 everyday in the workplace. When one person asks another a question about 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 trainings so everyone is able to participate.
- Enabling on-the-spot video chats for staff in multiple locations.