Social Media in today’s Learning Environment- Tools for today’s Learners

August 4, 2014


Recent survey data has shown that Social Media tools are becoming more prevalent, proving to be one of the most used for relationship management, knowledge transfer and the sharing of ideas among the next generation of Learners. These tools allow users to engage with others that share the same interest and perform research within the subject matter and expertise of the issue or learning item at hand

Talent Management systems are now including the social aspect as a module since the generation in the work force today has come to realize that this is an important tool but corporations are slow in moving to adapt the social aspect. If you were to ask the workforce of today their thoughts, the answer would be that corporations must adapt and we are beginning to see movement in this area. Creating a social environment is not only useful for the learner but also a good knowledge transfer tool allowing users to interact and share multitudes of information. In the past, when there was an issue or situation that arose where you felt someone had “been there before”, you sent an email or just picked up the phone. While these are great methods of communication and are still valuable today, today’s generation of learners are more adapt to send an IM or chat with someone since they are accustomed to real time responses.

So how will Corporations deal with this from a learning perspective? First and foremost, start with a plan of how to incorporate the social aspect of learning. Designate a group to head up a discussion board that creates discussion topic categories based on the learning catalog and allow some controlled interaction to take place. Monitor the social platform and make sure that you designate fallback SMEs to answer questions that are not getting answered in a timely fashion. Assign areas of interest to folks that can respond quickly and accurately. This generation is fast moving and if they can’t find the answers with the tools you provide, they will search elsewhere.

So how will these tools allow Learners to become more efficient? Let’s face it, when we sit down to take training or work in our corporate Talent Management System, time is both our friend and our enemy. Using social as a tool can offer assistance allowing users to collaborate about learning items and supply information relevant to the Course. Another way to use this is to establish guidelines and principles. Create discussion groups, topics of interest and items that will entice participation in discussions about training items.

I recently spent some time interviewing and discussing the importance of Social Media and Collaboration tools in today’s learning environment with a group representing a Fortune 500 company. This work force group consisted of the Baby Boomers and Millennials which provided a diverse view of the social tools that are being pushed to the forefront of Talent Management Systems in the work place. They are customer facing, meaning they spent the majority of their day interacting with customers in one fashion or another; face to face or on the phone, and require both fast and accurate resolutions.

Each group had different views on the subject but both reached the agreement that having such tools incorporated inside the Learning environment added greater value allowing for easier discussions related to training items.

Everything is available and connected, all answers are out there either through searching the web, social media or just putting a question out there for an instant response. If your company isn’t out there using these channels then your organization effectively does not provide all the necessary tools for the new generation of learner to be successful.