Social Learning cover image

Social Learning: Keeping Your Team Connected

Wisetail | 3 min read

Less than half of the workforce feels socially connected at work, and even fewer feel satisfied with the amount of connection they experience. For personal well-being, social support and a feeling of belonging are essential, and for business, helping employees meet social needs is a requirement for long-term success.

The components of community

When employers strive to meet employees’ needs for social support and belonging, they begin by looking for areas to foster connection. Workplace connection doesn’t always happen organically, especially in remote, hybrid, and dispersed workforces, but successful leaders don’t cross their fingers and wait for it to occur spontaneously. They find ways to create community from the outset — during hiring, onboarding, and learning and development (L&D). 

Healthy workplace communities enjoy higher employee engagement, productivity, retention, and ultimately, success. Elements of such an environment include: 

  • Clear company values
  • Open communication
  • Formal and informal collaboration
  • Easy, continuous access to L&D 
  • A culture of continuous learning and improvement
  • Frequent opportunities for social interaction

A strong working community supports employees in their efforts to communicate, collaborate, learn, and grow. 

Social learning

Learning management systems (LMS) govern all your company’s training needs, but they can also support a thriving workplace community. Social elements are long-standing features of online learning platforms, but without L&D professionals and subject matter experts (SME) to maintain relevant and regular interaction, social learning efforts can drift off topic, slow down, or stop altogether. 

With evolving attitudes about the efficiency and efficacy of social learning, these formerly optional features have become integral to the employee learning experience, providing for: 

  • Community development and on-demand support 
  • Enhanced visibility to attract and engage learners
  • Accelerated content curation and knowledge sharing
  • Enhanced productivity and collaboration for remote learning groups
  • Effective microlearning and other creative learning options

Features like these offer organizations opportunities to create and sustain learning communities around any topic, course, idea, or learning style — and deliver accessible content quickly and easily.

The social learning experience

With social tools, your company’s LMS can help you build an engaging, interactive learning environment, and social learning maximizes L&D while enhancing the work community. Social features create valuable employee learning experiences with capabilities for building and optimizing: 

  • Learning groups. Use L&D content to connect employees from different backgrounds, departments, and locations. Group features allow for interaction and collaboration in pursuit of a shared goal. 
  • Social networks. A social networking feature allows employees to join your company’s online community and helps learners motivate each other as they work their way through L&D content. These connections can last far beyond the duration of a single course.
  • Q&A forums. Employees can use forums to post messages, start discussions, ask questions, and exchange ideas. Forums facilitate social learning via active participation and knowledge sharing. When employees are active in these communities, they tend to learn, engage, and evolve together. 
  • Communication channels. Chat rooms and direct messaging apps let employees interact with one another, their instructors, and company leadership. These features facilitate open communication, one-on-one interaction, constructive feedback, and immediate answers to urgent questions. 

As more employers implement remote and hybrid work policies, building a workplace community takes more forethought and planning than ever. It’s also more essential than ever — for successful learning, engagement, and an optimal employee experience.

Ready to embrace a developmental mindset? Check out our Implementing Your L&D Programs Resource to guide you through a thoughtful exploration of your company’s L&D program. This worksheet also helps you prepare for Part III of our Reflections & Projections webinar series, Implementing Your L&D Programs. Join Wisetail leader, Jamison MacKillop, as he guides you through company buy-in of tech solutions, how to actually find the right partnerships in those tech solution providers, and how to make it all happen – to drive success!