Nowadays, the concept of “social learning” is subjected to special attention and detailed study, from both a practical and operational point of view and from a purely theoretical one. In regard of the latter, I think it is important to provide an opportunity to allow those who want it – beyond the fact whether they deal with training or human resources – to get a clearer idea of the logic and communicative skills needed to generate this new type of learning.
In the article, I point out a very simple scheme created by Jane Hart, who deals with “social learning”. She has also written a book on this subject, that I advise to read for further depth-in analysis: “Modern Workplace and Learning. A Resource Book for L & D.“, which allows to grasp the problem in its entirety and in its possible evolution.
The scheme is sufficiently explicatory, it explains how the learning process is changing in Companies, especially those mostly related to the use of digital and social tools. The problem that clearly emerges from these general guidelines is the importance to know well their employees before proceeding to plan the learning activity, particularly taking into consideration the following three factors:
- the manner in which employees will approach the study (learning style)
- the level of their knowledge of the digital and social tools
- their greater or lesser availability towards collaborative dynamics.
Surely, there will be someone, more linked to the past, who will still favor the established systems of teaching in the classroom or in specific educational or updating courses, through traditional lectures; others, with more dynamic and independent mentality, will prefer less structured processes and tools, adaptable to circumstances, such as gamification.
In the segmentation of knowledge of digital and social tools and levels, it will be necessary to recognize also the different steps achieved by the collaborators, from beginners, to the millennials and to those, defined “change agents“, able to offer their knowledge in the field they operate on, in order to favor a cultural change within the organization.
To carry out this task, at least at the beginning, it is vital to consider an interpersonal interaction, kind of “face to face” contact to clarify the identikit of each employee according to the above mentioned factors. After that, it is necessary to develop a communicative action of different kind, according to the adequately mapped group of persons. More”push” when it comes to pushing and direct individuals who have not yet embarked on a journey along the digital road; more “pull” with those, who, on the contrary, want to learn in a more autonomous manner, having already acquired a certain familiarity with the digital instruments.
This is also the only way to facilitate the engagement and active participation of people in the planning phase of a learning method which, as Jane Hart also mentioned, can only rest on three pillars:
- top-down (contents and information coming from the organization)
- button-up (contents and information coming from individual contributors)
- peer to peer (contents being exchanged and processed collectively)