What are the benefits of social learning? (Top 3)

Alex Mospanyuk

We as humans are social animals. We need connection and community, and we simply function better. Isolation leads to all kinds of mental health issues. 

This stands strong in the workplace, we function better working together and in teams. With COVID 19, the global workforce essentially went remote overnight.

Many challenges arose with this, and companies were looking for answers to questions such as “how do we keep employees motivated and engaged?”

Allowing for employees to be continuously upskilling and refining their current skillsets helps keep them motivated. This used to look like large in-person conferences and in-person training programs and development or workgroups. Now, the staff is taking courses on their own, and reports of them feeling isolated, bored, and lonely has led to drop-off rates and lack of engagement.

Social learning can come into play, and become an incredibly effective solution for this. The strategy is supported by many cognitive scientists. The Archy team is all for it as well, and we’ve put together this article on exactly what it is and how to use it to help your employees.

What is social learning?

The theory of social learning was actually developed by Albert Bandura and Richard Walters in the 1950s. Both psychologists researched and developed this simple theory: Humans learn better when they are learning together.

The process of social learning can be introduced into groups of at least two people. The founders learned that when 2 or more people are learning, as well as exchanging knowledge, and perspective, they actually learn more effectively, as well as a lot quicker. Retention rates go up as well.

When learners observe each other’s actions and feedback, they make decisions based on those observations.

This happens because learners can observe each other’s actions and their consequences — and make decisions based on these observations. As discussions happen, lessons set in a bit more into the long-term memory, creating higher learning and retention rates. Humans influence each other, and adding social learning is proof of this.

We don’t do well with passive info, more so with active. In comparison to traditional learning, social learning creates a more positive environment and creates active conversations that all contribute to their cognitive behaviour.

Social learning and remote learning

As online learning and social media rose in popularity, so did social learning methods, and the theories behind them. The online training process generally meant that users would engage and travel down the learning pathway alone. It doesn’t have to be this way though.

Social media has proven that people can make great connections and interact successfully online, in real-time. With all of COVID lockdowns, those interactions became an important factor in our mental health.

Social learning then became one of the best trends to come out within the eLearning world in 2020.

What are the benefits of social learning?

There are a few key benefits of social learning inside of the workplace. These benefits are both for the actual business as well as the employees.

Statistics show that learners on average retain about 5% of what they hear and 10% of what they read. Though those aren’t the highest numbers, what helps improve this drastically is social learning.

Studies have shown that when learners are actively involved, that is, discussing and interacting regarding the learning content, retention numbers increase to up to 50%! 

Even better, when social learning is happening on the job, 75% or more of the information is retained. These are some incredible statistics and just prove to show how important social learning and development is, and how seriously we should be implementing it across all of our student and employee online formal training processes.

Here are a few ways that Social Learning can improve your employee training sessions and performance

1)Maintain an A-team, and boost employee retention
2) Identify and address knowledge gaps
3) Foster a strong company culture

Maintain an A-team, and boost employee retention

It’s no secret that having engaged employees create a higher overall retention rate for the company. When management focuses on employee development and their social wellbeing, social learning is an effective way to implement this.

As you know, employee retention or attrition depends on the company’s management and working environment. Focusing on employee development and their social wellbeing via implementing social learning, helps with that.

As a result of social learning, employees’ engagement levels rise, and they become more high achieving. As a result, they stay on longer and continue to develop and upskill within their roles. This helps build company reputation, which then can further attract more talent as it is needed.

  • Identify and address knowledge gaps   

When students and employees learn and train together, they get more done, quicker. When your company offers opportunities for employees to have team activities and discuss, they are able to cover more ground and achieve more. Implementing gamification can also help with this, as it helps users create fun competition and tests them on their knowledge of the lessons.

It helps encourage collaborative learning, as they can reach out to each other when one is falling behind, and help pass on and explain lessons that might be confusing to some.

  • Foster a strong company culture

The point to this one is quite obvious and has been explained previously, but it’s one that should be pointed out nonetheless. Bringing your teams together and creating connections has a very strong impact on morale.

A team that gets along well and genuinely enjoys working together as a large part of creating as well as maintaining strong company culture. Engaged and productive teams are positive and healthy teams. Your stakeholders in return will see amazing returns because of this.

Conclusion

Social learning is an incredible way to help your learners and students retain information and overall do better in online training and development. It helps increase engagement as well as build a strong culture of teamwork. Mentally, the connections and social engagement help build team morale and promote a happier, healthier work and study environment.

There are many LMS (Learning management systems) that can help you do that, Archy Learning, in particular, allows for social learning techniques such as gamification to be involved to help create fun competition and team-building activities. You can sign up for a free trial here today.

Has your workplace tried social learning? Let us know down on the comments below?

Alex Mospanyuk

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