Social Learning means collaboration

By Jeffrey Backus By Alexander Klier Mar 24, 2015
Social Learning means collaboration

Translation of the Original Article by Alexander Klier

Even Social Learning does only work when you are aware of the grounding conditions of groups. Fortunately it is to be combined with Social Collaboration.
Picture: What is Learning? by Denise Krebs.Being Used under the conditions of the Creative Commons 3.0 – BY (Name).

Everyone is currently talking about Social learning and Social E-Learning. There is agreement that Social Learning and Social E-Learning are a consistent further development of the “Social Idea”. This means that - after Social Media and Social Collaboration, as well as a Social Innovation and Social Creativity – workplace learning and E-Learning are also going with the term Social. More difficult is determining what exactly is meant by "social" in the field of learning and whether social learning coincides for example with the social media and their use. It is easier to show that there are many similarities with what we understand as a social collaboration. Reason enough to take a closer look at the topic of Social Learning.

What social learning is not

To avoid a misunderstanding from the outset: Social learning is not to be equated with learning with social media. Nor is it some sophisticated kind of knowledge management. While Social Tools represent – by their own “ethos” of Exchanging and Sharing – a particular simple and inviting possibility to implement and practice Social Learning, it is not a digital form of learning. Its root is in the analog world. „However, although social tools can make learning a more powerful experience, social learning doesn’t demand the use of social tools, and the use of such tools doesn’t necessarily mean social learning will take place“ (Jane Hart 2014, Social Learning Handbook). Rather, a successful Social Learning requires its own didactic considerations: The deliberate design of the learning conditions of and for groups. This is especially true if Social Learning is supposed to work in a business context.

What distinguishes Social Learning

Social Learning occurs from the beginning in joint collaborations. It is also relatively easy to integrate it along the processes, the groups and in the area of cooperation between teams. However, not every group is a group - in a group-dynamic sense. Collaborative work, as well as social learning are about groups, which design corporate processes or implement corporate targets with shared responsibilities and especially autonomously. Or a common learning objective is adopted. This also means that specific conditions such as trust (in the group members and in the structures) or transparency in communication must be present. As a learning method, Social Learning can use the advantages that Social Media or Social Software present in the area of collaborative and social learning to great effect. For this purpose, the group processes are didactically specifically allowed and implemented through social software. Ideally along the work processes.

Why Social Learning is more than digitization of learning …

Social software is characterized by the fact that it allows the participation of the members of a community. Social Learning works therefore by the same mechanism, which is so characteristic of the Web 2.0 and Social Software in general: The learners become, as members of a community, content suppliers of information they would like to share with others. The learners are able to (jointly) critically develop what they have learned through sharing. This makes Social learning processes very creative and versatile, especially in their results in the form of generated knowledge. „ [Such] knowledge is simultaneously seen as […] a social activity, a commons within which knowledge flows as people share and refine ideas“(Frances Bell 2011 – Connectivism). It also shows that the latest digital technology or the technically craziest tools are not crucial for successful Social Learning.

… and where we can help.

If the company or organization ensures that collaborative learning develops in the context of group and teamwork, the communities will be the ideal and effective environment for learning. With Social Learning, you get the experts that you want and you need. Through our workshops and tools, we offer the manifold opportunity to help in a necessary to target determination. What bases are there already for Social Learning? In which direction should Social Learning develop within the company? How exactly should it be implemented? Which way is the easiest, to integrate it into the Social Platform? The direction to take, as well as the steps towards integration of social learning in social platforms are very diverse, yet specifically implementable, depending on the situation. You just have to do it. We are here to help.