Sharpening skills through a social learning platform
3 minute read
Bev Da Silva
Bev Da Silva
In the evolving landscape of professional development, social learning platforms have emerged as a powerful tool for sharpening skills and fostering a culture of knowledge exchange within growing organisations.
These platforms leverage the concept that learning is most effective when individuals collaborate in groups, allowing them to observe and replicate each other’s experiences. By incorporating social learning elements into your learning and development (L&D) strategy, your organisation can improve employee engagement, boost knowledge retention, and nurture a culture of continuous learning.
In this article, you’ll get to explore the practical applications of social learning platforms and how they open up new coaching, mentoring, and knowledge-sharing opportunities.
- Your social learning platform’s knowledge base leverages existing expertise
- Social learning platforms create coaching and mentoring opportunities
- Social groups and forums facilitate human connection
- Five practical applications of social learning platforms in growing organisations
Your social learning platform’s knowledge base leverages existing expertise
A learning management system (LMS) that offers social learning functionality can help you create a diverse repository of knowledge. Your organisation can designate knowledgeable employees as ‘bloggers’ who contribute articles that are accessible through the platform’s search function or homepage. Adding these user-generated articles into your learning mix enables employees to explore new ideas and topics without committing to time-consuming courses, and cuts down on the amount of eLearning content your L&D team will need to create or purchase. Additionally, your organisation can incentivise and maximise engagement with your eLearning platform by using the principles of eLearning gamification: rewarding employees with points, badges and awards, and encouraging healthy competition with leaderboards.
Social learning platforms create coaching and mentoring opportunities
It’s easy to facilitate meaningful coaching and mentoring relationships with social learning platforms like Ciphr LMS. Learners can volunteer as mentors and showcase their expertise, while those seeking guidance can identify areas where they require support and easily reach out to the most suitable mentor within your organisation. Ciphr LMS effectively matches mentees with suitable mentors, allowing them to schedule virtual or face-to-face meetings directly through the platform. This seamless integration empowers employees to find the support they need, fostering a nurturing environment that encourages professional development (and forms the basis for a positive employee experience).
Social groups and forums facilitate human connection
Within modern LMSs, social and discussion groups offer a welcoming space for learners to share ideas, insights, and knowledge among like-minded peers. Administrators have full control over group creation, membership, and activities, ensuring only the right people can access the right groups (which could be tailored to specific roles or locations, for example). This fosters a sense of community — an essential component of diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) — enabling employees to support each other, ask questions, and engage in constructive discussions.
Five practical applications of a social learning platform in growing organisations
- Connect your workforce together to share knowledge: in an expanding organisation, it can be challenging to break down communication barriers and connect employees across departments — but it is crucial. Social learning platforms facilitate knowledge exchange, support problem-solving, and encourage brainstorming through discussion forums and chat features. This not only enhances productivity, but it ensures that valuable skills and knowledge that’s essential to the growth of your organisation are developed and retained.
- Set up general groups for all employees to join: ‘open to all’ discussion forums create a safe space for broader collaboration. This inclusive practice promotes transparency and a sense of belonging, while also driving innovation through an easily accessible free flow of information. By participating in these groups, employees gain insights into the broader workings of your organisation, helping to align individual efforts with organisational goals.
- Create private groups for specific cohorts: private groups for onboarding new starters, apprentices, graduates, and managers can help your organisation to deliver targeted learning at exactly the right time. Personalised learning experiences instil a sense of belonging in your organisation, and are a great way to demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ professional growth.
- Provide a digital space for sharing ideas and best practices: social learning platforms act as virtual communities where participants share ideas, insights, and best practices. Peer-to-peer support fosters continuous learning and professional development without increasing costs. Furthermore, this digital space is not bound by location: office-based, remote and hybrid employees will all have the same access and opportunities to grow.
- Assign bloggers to contribute to the knowledge base: your organisation can start building a robust knowledge base by assigning experienced employees as bloggers. Compiling training based on lived experience and expertise can instil a further sense of appreciation and achievement for the blogger, while giving learners unrestricted access to valuable information and insight they might not have otherwise had access to.
Eager to explore the potential of social learning?
Social learning platforms are revolutionising professional development. By embracing collaboration, knowledge exchange, and the world of possibility behind coaching and mentorship, these platforms enable employees to sharpen their skills, create an organisational learning culture, and stay ahead in the ever-changing business world.
If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into social learning, here are some valuable articles that might pique your interest:
- Gamification in learning: why does it work? >
- The advantages of eLearning at work: employer’s edition >
- The A– Z of eLearning terminology >
- An introduction to micro learning and the associated benefits >
- Finding the right eLearning content: which formats and sources work best? >