Are you enabling learners to share their knowledge?

Phone social sharing concept art

Over 75% of all Internet users are on social media. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and more,  have now invaded our everyday lives, and added a new dimension not only to the way that we communicate, but also to the way we learn!

With social media, communication is no longer a one-to-one conversation, but rather a one-to-the-community, or community-to-community conversation. The power of an individual using this medium cannot be understated, given that major social revolutions in our recent history such as the Arab Spring were fuelled by Facebook.

Another movement created by social media is the switch in the perception of ownership. More and more people, and according to the American Planning Association, 73% of millennials (numbering 2.68 billion in 2014), are questioning the value of accumulating tangible and intangible goods. Instead, there is a strong emergence of a ‘people economy’ where individuals across different sectors and age groups create a Sharing Economy. Mindsets are changing where power is no longer knowledge, but instead one is defined by what and how you share. Applying all of this to learning and organisations, it’s clear that individuals understand more and more the importance of sharing, networking and adding value to a community, but are Learning and Development professionals harnessing this phenomena sufficiently to create a culture of knowledge sharing in their organisations? Do they have the tools to do this? It’s well known that changing hearts and minds and getting an organisation to do something better or differently is given greater momentum when fuelled by the people at the coal face rather than from those in ivory towers.

The tools that can be used don’t have to be expensive LMS’s – in fact the majority of proprietary LMS that have more features than benefits are unappealing to most learners. LMS’s that have consumer-type benefits such as recommendations, peer dashboards and playlists really can make transformational changes within organisations and our recent experience at Saffron attests to that. But we’ve also used simple techniques like incorporating yammer feeds into courses directly, to post scores and public pledges of change which have been incredibly effective. These have created a movement within organisations, actual tangible behavioural change that will generate new revenue streams and has connected people to create communities of practice across the globe…and all this in a traditional engineering firm! Isn’t it every L&D professional’s dream to have their learners sit down at their desktop and log straight on to access their learning content without prompting? Giving the learners the kind of experience that they are familiar with and come to expect from consumer websites , allows learners to make knowledge sharing a part of their daily lives. While social media is often associated with Millennials, its use goes far beyond attracting only millennials to an organisation. Studies from 2015 show that the vast increase in social media usage correlates in all age groups, not just 18 to 30-year-olds, with the average user spending at least 1.5 hours per day on social media. This means that a socially-enabled learning platform or social features in your learning will help all of your learners, rather than target specific groups. It’s clear that learners want to share, want to be acknowledged by their peers and want to contribute…but do you make it easy and natural for them to do so?

Please let us know if you have pain points in getting your learners to collaborate and we’ll share what has worked for our clients #SharingIsCaring

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About the author

Marlene Cursoux - Sales and marketing assistant

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