Top five tips for using social media with learning

This short post is an edited excerpt from the updated Spicy Learning Guide, an essential compendium of 101 tips to improve your learning strategy. We’ll be releasing the new Spicy Learning Guide at Learning Technologies 2013, so visit us at Stand 33 to collect your free copy!

Since 2008 one of the biggest growth areas in learning has been the adoption of internal social networks. Businesses everywhere are waking up the fact that social media tools and applications need to be embraced rather than blocked. So here are Saffron’s top five tips for using social media to immediately make an impact on your learning strategy.

1. Build a solid, measurable plan

Ask yourself what the learning and development goals and objectives are for engaging in social media. Whilst leaders may agree in principle to social media adoption, you need them to actively champion new tools. This plan is your ammunition.

2. Find out what your learners ‘like’

Social media is plural, not singular. There are a variety of tools, applications and platforms available which you can either use or draw on for inspiration. Run a survey (with an incentive) to find out which tools your learners are already using. That’s your starting point.

3. Start blogging

Social media and social learning are the topic of dozens of blogs so find the best and read them. Once you understand how it works, start a blog for your organisation and encourage people to post on it. Get learners creating and sharing their own content and they’ll embrace social media!

4. Curate content to support your learning

Social platforms like YouTube, Udemy and Slideshare have one very straightforward application to learning: they make available a sea of resources and learning materials to support your programme which is absolutely free! Search out the best resources and encourage learners to do the same.

5. Explore the backchannel

A social ‘backchannel’ makes it possible for learners to contribute and enhance learning whilst a live session is in progress. One approach is to use a hashtag on Twitter (such as #SaffronLL12). More private backchannels include interactive post-it boards and mind-maps. Allowing learners to tap away on smartphones during a session seems risky, but you’ll be surprised at how well it works!

Visit Saffron Interactive at Stand 33 to try out our new learning platforms, or request a demo.