The rise of social learning | Is your L&D human enough?

Is your L&D human enough?

Steve Dineen, Founder & President, Fuse

To say that the world of corporate learning has changed dramatically during the pandemic would be an understatement. Remote and hybrid work forced a universal reduction in classroom training, at the same time presenting a new and unique opportunity to break away from course-led learning.

Of course, we also saw new challenges, with the physical distancing of learners and company subject matter experts (SMEs) being perhaps the most obvious.

What we do know is that the virtual classroom is no substitute for the human and social connection that remote workers are now craving - and that’s before we even touch on the topic of Zoom fatigue.

So what is the solution? How can L&D re-humanise learning in the new world of work?

To answer that, we need to turn our attention to the consumer world of social media. The platforms where people go to access meaningful interactions with friends on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It is these same social connections that many people are now lacking in the context of their working lives, so why would we not apply those same principles in the corporate world?

The significance of the human element

But why exactly is this human element so important for L&D success?

To put it simply, human-to-human connection is the driver for learning success. Why? Because it’s the thing that sparks learner engagement. People engage with learning for the perceived value that a known and trusted peer or SME can offer them. It is these relationships - and the value that learners take from them - that motivate people to become continuous learners.

At the heart of this, sits human psychology. We are social beings by nature, and so we place higher value on content that comes from people we trust. We know this to be true because data consistently tells us that people are more likely to engage with learning content that is created by a known SME and delivered in context.

Social learning that powers performance

Of course, what we’re describing here is the value of social learning strategy - something that is being widely adopted as businesses seek to compensate for loss of face-to-face connection by reinstating access to company expert knowledge.

But the benefits of social learning don’t stop and start with building learner engagement or even creating community, though clearly those present significant advantages. Supported by modern learning technology, a culture of social and collaborative learning enables workers to instantly access the exact information they need to solve problems in the flow of work and achieve high performance. No longer do they have to settle for the only answer that’s available. Instead, they can instantly tap into the very best and most relevant subject matter expertise - an act that very much mirrors how we habitually turn to Google when we need expert advice in our consumer lives.

The cyclical benefits of social learning

But here’s the best bit: by empowering employees to perform and develop in this way, organisations can also improve the overall employee experience, creating a more engaged and motivated workforce. And, as a result of the relationships and connections that employees can develop through social learning, they’re also likely to feel a stronger sense of connection to their company and its cause. In fact, people who frequently go into a social learning platform are known to stay longer, resulting in reduced business training costs, and a brilliant advert for talent recruitment.

Happy, engaged, connected, and high performing employees who are less likely to leave their company and who even make others want to join. That’s a pretty strong case for the value of social learning and it speaks to the cyclical bottom line benefits that it can create for business.

To learn more about enabling a social learning culture underpinned by human connection and instant access to knowledge on the job, contact the Fuse team.

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