3 Ways to Encourage Social Learning in Your Business
In a typical work environment, a great deal of learning occurs informally through conversation and basic social interaction. This is formally known as social learning and happens when people interact with one another and learn new things. The practice and participation aspect is a crucial component, and it can take place on the Internet, in a classroom setting, or even in the hallway.
Why is social learning so influential? Mainly because the people and social environment that individuals spend time in and around the most can directly shape and influence their behavior. Peer observation can be a significant factor in behavioral change, which can be helpful because it increases employee knowledge and decreases the cost of formal training.
Being connected to one’s peers increases engagement and deeper learning. Social learning is also incredibly powerful because it allows people to give one another a sense of accountability, and it offers a stronger influence over the behavioral change.
If you’re looking to cultivate better social learning in your workplace, hopefully, the following concepts will be helpful to keep in mind.
1. Conduct Training in Groups
Group learning can give a team a chance to learn new concepts together. Lunch and learn sessions can be helpful when information is brand new; that way, everyone can discuss what surprised them or connections that they made. Conducting informal training sessions in person (or through video if necessary) can also help cement concepts better than textbook learning can.
A popular format for training sessions begins with a summary of some of the best and worst possible outcomes. This allows prior recollection of the subject to come through for people and gives the group a mutual starting point that can help ground the lesson.
2. Offer Access to Social Learning Tools
Discussion forums that are held before, during, and after the lessons occur can also help to keep the conversation going. When employees share personal perspectives and experiences, it facilitates the learning and connection even more.
Additionally, a business can directly contribute to social learning when they post content online that’s intended to be sharable. “Shared knowledge that gets transferred from one individual to another should also be recorded in an internal log that keeps track of the best practices. Wiki-style tools also work well for this so that the data can always be kept up to date,” remarked Jim Parrish, partner at Parrish Law.
3. Create Accountability Teams
It’s no secret that social learning can have an impressive impact on a new hire’s learning ability. Once training is over, partners can help one another solidify the latest concepts and help them make a lasting change in their daily actions. Teams can commit to a particular step or action that resonated with them the most. Following up and modeling the actions will be critical for making progress.
To cultivate more social learning in your workplace, try to facilitate more discussion, group tasks, and accountability. Sometimes, an employee needs to hear something from a different perspective, and it’s important to help cultivate an environment that helps them flourish.