Jane Hart’s writing in Really Useful eLearning Manual (blog post here) made me want to indulge in her ideas some more, and this is why I bought Social Learning Handbook. In this comprehensive eBook Hart looks at some of the key ways that organisations can start to support social workplace learning.
Let’s get some key concepts straight first. Social workplace learning doesn’t just mean adding social media to instructional programmes or letting people interact more freely with each other in organizational platforms. Social learning is, in Hart’s words “more about helping people learning from one another as they work together – enhanced by collaborative enterprise social tools.” According to Hart, knowledge workers want more and more their workplace learning to be about knowledge sharing instead of knowledge transferring.
The book was immensely interesting and it left me with two big open questions that I think deserve a lot of focus and consideration in my work in the near future. First, how do we acknowledge social learning in mandatory corporate trainings? By mandatory I mean trainings that based on e.g. an EU-level or a national regulation and where the obligatory content may be defined up to the smallest detail. Second, how do we encourage social learning in non-knowledge work? The non-knowledge workers I have planned trainings to don’t have the possibility to be online all the time, sharing their ideas and best practices during the normal workflow. And that’s the way I’d like to keep it – considering that these people drive our buses, trains and tankers, harvest our forests and work as process operators at mills. How can we include social elements into this type of learning?
These three ideas come to mind now:
1) We need to encourage dividing trainings into short modules as these can more easily be done more or less as part of the natural work flow.
2) In most topics, it’s always possible to encourage collaborative creation of the training content: We can always ask the employees to give their tips and tricks, and include those in the training – or even build the training entirely on these. In my experience this shows positively in the final result, as it reflects the feeling of genuine collaboration.
3) Always, always try to measure your success by improved business performance instead of pure completion rates of test success rates.
More ideas will follow, that’s a promise!