People across the world are using social media to exchange knowledge apart from connecting up with friends. Knowledge need not always be structured and facilitated through training. For a globalized company, it is essential to have systems in place whereby their employees can easily collaborate and work with their peers across offices worldwide. Today, informal learning is being looked at seriously. Not that it never existed earlier. As a matter of fact, it was there all along. So, why not create platforms to enable social learning among a wider segment of your organization? After all, the broader the knowledge-base, the wider is the scope for learning.
L&D professionals can use their existing infrastructure to integrate some of the web 2.0 tools that promote social learning. Let’s take a look at some of the forums used.
Wikis: Simply put, a wiki is a web page that users can be view and access using internet. It can be beneficial for teams working on the same project across different locations. Team members can share, edit and view documents and exchange notes real time. From the instructional technology view point, wikis could allow employees to engage in collaborative activities that may not be possible in a structured environment.
Blogging: Most organizations use blogs to communicate information about their activities and products. Employees can be encouraged to contribute to the blogs by sharing their unique work experiences or ideas. This provides a platform for enthusiastic employees to share their ideas which could help organizations in altering their procedures or processes. Others not only will learn from these experiences but also be encouraged to share their own knowledge.
Podcasts: Podcasts are nothing but online audio content that can be accessed anytime anywhere as long as you have access to internet. In organizations, podcasts can be used to motivate sales teams, air interview with new leadership, recognize team efforts and so on. The content needs to change based on the intended audience. If it is for sales and marketing teams, podcasts could focus on product news, discounts and promotions or best practices.
Media sharing: This can be done through You Tube, Flickr, Slideshare etc. For example, an organization can use Flickr to display a range of products. It could also showcase promotional events or celebrations within the organization on achieving targets.
Social networking: Organizations can have groups or pages where employees can meet online and exchange information and have a range of virtual activities and events. LinkedIn groups have become a very interactive social learning platform in recent times.
Discussion forums: Organizations can set up employees’ specific discussion forums or chat rooms to facilitate interaction among co-workers. Since the platform is largely informal, a lot more exchange of ideas could happen which helps in peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.
Knowledge that is not immediately applied is forgotten. Social learning helps in sharing knowledge that is immediately relevant and put to use. Hence, it is a medium that L&D professionals cannot ignore.
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- Bryn Holmes(Author, eLearning Concepts and Practice, 2006)
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