What are the 20 mistakes Learning and Development teams make about social learning?
Over the last couple of years as an independent consultant helping organisations empower their people to learn continually so that they can work smarter, I decided to list the main misconceptions and beliefs that I have come across by some Learning and Development teams.
I believe that “social learning” is confusing to many because it also represents a radical move away from how training is usually structured and implemented in organisations. There’s also the perception that in order to create a social learning experience, you need to structure, design and develop it as you do any other course or that it must use social media, tools, apps, technologies and platforms. You can read more about this in my recent post: Social Learning Creates Confusion.
Everything in quotations below is what has been said to me about the perception of social learning and I used these times to explain it further and provide demonstrations so that they could better understand what it was about.
As many people know (since I write about it much of the time), my “A-Ha!” moment of social learning came from my crafting – in particularly, my knitting groups. Creative people use this form of learning as a natural extension to their learning so that they can further progress their craft.
So one of the ways I explain it to my peers and colleagues is to use an example of their passions, interests or hobbies because they’re more likely to resonate with a personal example of social learning than a work related one – especially if they haven’t experienced a similar experience in their workplace if they come from one that is traditional, or where open collaboration and use of social technologies discouraged.
People are more likely to understand how to learn with each other from each other when you use examples of tasks and activities related to art, music, photography, even community service and sport – because it’s all about people coming together to learn something new, be inspired with new ideas and apply these ideas to improve their skills or learn a new one.
So here are the 20 mistakes that Learning and Development make about social learning:
- Not understanding what “social learning is really about”.
- Designing and developing social learning programs as they would any other formal structured course.
- Denying participants access resources that sit outside of their corporate firewall and instead forcing them to use the enterprise learning management system or their new social learning system they bought and implemented.
- Googling the definition of social learning and then “attempting to work backwards to insert concepts into our organisational L&D strategy but without an idea of what it actually looks like”
- Social learning is “designed like a Coursera course” (ie MOOC)
- Social learning is to be instructed or lectured, “forced or mandated, controlled and evaluated”.
- Social learning is “using social media such as Twitter”.
- Designing social learning programs and experiences, not using social media or networks (“I never use Facebook” or “I don’t believe in social media” or “Using Yammer is a waste of my time”) or awareness of how to integrate learning tools and apps into workplace learning
- Believing that social learning is to “Add a discussion board at the end of all our online courses to make them social”
- Wanting to measure the wrong metrics (‘Likes’; ‘Replies’; Attendance) as an evaluation for success of the social learning program (“Is there any way we can find out how many times each individual responds to posts or doesn’t answer any questions online?)
- Social learning needs to “look good” and “be expensive” because participants perceive this to be “quality training”.
- That Learning and Development teams need not be social or use social media, tools and apps for themselves. (“We’re not the ones who need to learn these OR I have Twitter but have not used it since my last conference no need really”)
- That Learning and Development teams “curate the resources” for our specific internal business clients to ensure what is being curated is relevant and besides, “our business clients don’t have time to do this themselves OR we see that the business is not using our new social learning system we implemented!”
- You need to measure ROI of social learning.
- You need a specific vendor Social Learning system or platform because the current LMS “doesn’t have an online discussion board”.
- Social learning is about technology, mobile tools and apps.
- Social learning is telling people how and what they should be learning, how they should be learning and when they should be learning it.
- Social learning is putting rules in place to “ensure that people use the social learning system and not go outside it”
- Misconception that you cannot design a social learning experience using tools and platforms already in place in the organisation such as an Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) or productivity tools, instead, choosing to purchase yet another system.
- Social learning is a new concept because it’s the “new buzzword of the day”.
So what are some that you’ve heard?