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How to Successfully integrate Social Media into Learning and Development

It is not a secret that the rise of social media and mobile communication has had an important impact on our lives. Nowadays, we spend much of our time on our mobile and on our social media profiles.

That is why many organizations are increasingly integrating social media into learning and development initiatives. If yours is not, well… it should be.

Christoforos Pappas, founder of the eLearning Industry’s Network, mentions in this article that there are multiple benefits on using social media as learning and training tool:

  • Improves Online Collaboration
  • Employees have access to round-the-clock support
  • Keeps Employees up-to-date
  • Facilitates ongoing online training feedback
  • Increases employee motivation and engagement

I would add that social media:

  • Boost sharing of info
  • Eliminates distance issues
  • Motivates content curation
  • Induces self-directed learning
  • Can be cheap
  • Allows prework and poswork engagement

Social media enables learning through channels that are easy to handle and familiar to the learners or participants (every day more tech and digital savvy).

Of course, there is still a long road to walk since how to effectively use social media is still an ongoing process. However,

We, as L&D professionals, have the responsibility to foster social media integration in a functional way.

So, I would like to share you a couple of practical examples of how to integrate social media as tools and networks. Maybe, it can provoke some ideas or you can add some insights.

WhatsApp Groups

I have been following for a while now to Aaron Benitez, a Mexican entrepreneur, podcaster, and blogger. I subscribed to his mailing list to receive notifications when he posts an article or upload a podcast session. Any given day, while browsing in his page I noticed that he was inviting people to add him to WhatsApp. I saved the number and I joined his WhatsApp group. From that moment on, everyday I receive short audios or messages with useful insights or information regarding no particular subject. Interesting way to change the WhatsApp game.

Nowadays, at the company we have WhatsApp groups (specific learning groups) where we share information, insights, and so. Of course, my advice would be to use it wisely in order to keep it as a learning forum. This depends a lot on you. Another piece of advice would be to curate the information you send to make it an efficient channel (read how in this article).

LinkedIn Conversations and Courses

This platform has conversation groups. These conversations groups (you can join them) gather people/peers from different parts of the world but with similar interests. People in these groups not only share info. They actually talk to each other about problems, challenges, experiences or ideas related to the office. You could not only join (or invite others to join), but also integrate your own group (learn how to do it here)

Once there, you can even take advantage of the many free online courses available in LinkedIn and Lynda (part of LinkedIn). We have enrolled in some online courses as a team (participants and facilitators) to share experiences and doubts later on through the groups boosting discussions and debates.

Twitter and 140 characters key points

Renie McClay, project manager for Caveo Learning, mentions about Twitter that you can encourage the use of it in meetings or workshops to engage participants and learners by allowing them to capture notes and key points using the power of synthesis:

turn ideas into 140 characters key points.

Clay also mentions that you can use a unique #hashtag identifier as a way to poll your audience and gain feedback, not to mention facilitating conversation amongst the group. Here is a quick guide to learn how to use Twitter effectively.

Youtube or any other video platform

According to the latest research from Towards Maturity, 69% of organisations are using video to share good practice, and this percentage is even higher (92%) in ‘top deck’ or highest-achieving organisations. Why? Because video meets learners needs in many levels. Read this about the benefits of video for learning.

Now, how to use it? To start you can create videos to share courses, moocs, videocasts, capsules, and so. You can use easy platforms such as Teacheble or CourseCraft to create a video.

These sites guide you to create a video easily. You can host the video there or upload it to a Youtube channel. Then you can share it through the Share Point of your company of vía a link to unload it. Enable a comments section and start discussions and debates.

Shift

Social Media is not limited to the popular ones. I think that an important thing to understand is that social media is any digital tool that enables social communication. For example, Shift.

This is the internal social media of our company. It is kind of a FB-meets-LinkedIn platform. Well used, it has the chance to improve the internal collaboration and sharing of materials in many formats.

For example, the C4LPT mentions that BT is using Microsoft SharePoint to enable employees to create, find and view learning segments (podcasts, documents and links), and also discuss and debate the content being created. It calls its system Dare2Share. This environment encourages people to experiment, innovate, collaborate, communicate and share their experiences and knowledge in engaging ways. The knowledge sharing has a positive impact on how other employees serve customers, find information or solve problems.

Podcasting

I love podcasts. I listen to many of them and about different subjects. Lately, I have been thinking of how to use this type of social media to enhance learning. While I am still onto the subject, these are some things I have thought. For example, it can be useful for managers or team leaders to create brief podcasts about the strategy or about case studies. A podcast is cheap, easy to distribute and easy to use because it just needs to be downloaded or listened online and a pair of headphones. We as trainers or facilitators can start to create course podcasts as well. You want an example? Well I will give you two-for-one. Listen to this free series of podcast where John Lee Dumas is podcasting a course about how to create a podcast. So, you can listen to how a podcast course looks like and how to create one.

The reality is that social media will increase its impact on our day to day. Every day we have more and more options. Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Snapchat, and of course FB. You can open up a FB page and take advantage of its notifications system to schedule events and use FB live FAQ sessions.

To be honest, it’s all about daring to try and trying smart and strategically. For that matter, take a look at this info from Center for Learning and Performance Technology (C4LPT) where you can find social media strategic approaches such as:

  1. Formal Structured Learning (FSL)
  2. Personal Directed Learning (PDL)
  3. Group Directed Learning (GDL)
  4. Etc.

These categories will be useful depending on the way you need/want to use social media for learning and development. So, I recommend you to read the C4LPT article to have clarity of concepts.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take advantage of social media platforms (like I and others did) to enhance learning at your organization and please share with us your experiences and insights.

Also share this note to a friend or colleague you think will find it useful. There is always someone.



Diego is an experienced learning advisor, a certified trainer and a design thinking consultant.

He is available for advisory where the focus is on driving transcendental learning and lasting change. Moreover, he is always eager to chat.