Unless it’s a castaway situation learning is totally a social experience – we learn by observing and imitating others throughout our lives. In case of academic learning social engagement has a constructive effect on the way we comprehend lessons, it impacts our memory and capacity to absorb information. In a social environment learning is reinforced via discussion and exchange of ideas, the exposure to other’s opinions adds to the amount of information received.
Learning also is a continuous process, we don’t stop learning when the tutor is gone or we leave the classroom, we discuss, we share and we collaborate. In corporate learning social has larger role where employees realize the outright benefits of sharing. Social learning is more than the exuded corporate bonhomie, it has real significance and aids the whole learning process by creating a positive atmosphere and network of information flow.
Classes and trainings occur at scheduled times, whereas social learning continues, peers are available when you need a quick clarification on a topic, when you have missed on something important during the lecture. Sharing and collaboration supplements and adds to the amount of learning, we can ask questions or volunteer when others are in need. Social learning helps build trust among peers and promotes open communication and sociability.
Social Learning and Modern LMSs
Modern learning is augmented by technology; learning management systems or elearning platforms in which students access the learning material in the form of digital courseware via devices like mobiles and laptops, and classes are held online in a virtual spaces, are taking over from the formal classroom setting. Modern LMSs like iPC Scholar which contribute massively to academic and enterprise learning are bound to deliver and enhance the social learning experience, made possible with the unfathomed power of technology.
Tools like discussion forums, online chat options, blogs, news feed and user groups can be part of the platform. The administrator could set the guidelines to maintain professionalism and in turn enhance the learning outcomes and productivity of the group. Plug-ins to social media platforms and blog sites with discussion in news feed or auxiliary resource in blogs will have an added advantage. Hashtags are resourceful when we want information about a topic.
Researchers estimate extroverts make up 50 – 74 percent of the population, the rest are introverts. In the same blog in psychologytoday.com it says that Steve Jobs, a charismatic extrovert, teamed up with introvert Steve Wozniak to co-found Apple Inc, which shows that extroverts and introverts make up a powerful team. Introverts have inhibitions which keep them from open communication, this doesn’t mean they have any less potential than those who speak up comfortably.
In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain make this point, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” she suggests that our collective extrovert bias hurts not just introverts – but the wider economy. Savvy executives know that the extrovert bias also hurts organizations and teams. Elearning platforms that support social learning are a wonderful place for introverts to share their ideas, what they couldn’t say in a classroom they can express online.
Hence technology has a role to play in facilitating social learning by means of providing platforms for auxiliary learning and bypassing inhibition. Teamwork is essential in modern corporate environment, it’s the result of convergence of multiple talents that leads to achievements, without teamwork there would be no Apple, Google or Microsoft and no aeroplanes. Elearning platforms should have those features and tools to promote collaboration in learning and training, they are bound to be inculcating the value of teamwork in the minds of learners from early on.