SilkRoad's Blog
Jun 11, 2013

A Snapshot of Social Learning [SURVEY RESULTS]

By Jaclyn Branch

There’s a lot of buzz out there about “social” learning.  Actually, there’s a lot of buzz out there about “social” aspects of all HR functions.   But what does it mean and are companies really taking advantage of these types of features, especially as it relates to learning programs?  According to a May post on ASTD’s blog, some social media tools have a bad reputation when it comes to learning, mostly because “social” features are haphazardly added to learning programs or people simply just don’t know that much about it.

As part of our TalentTalk research program, we wanted to gain a greater understanding of what’s going on in corporate learning management programs, specifically around social learning adoption and usage.  Below are the conclusions from this research.  You can also watch an archived version of a webinar we recently presented that covers the full results.

  • Many companies are on the path of using social technology for learning.  Almost half (47%) use it and love it, have just started using it, or are working on a plan to implement it.  Yet, they are at different stages of maturity in implementing the technology.
  • Respondents cited social collaboration as their companies’ second most popular investment in learning for the coming year.
  • Responses indicate that professionals might be stronger advocates of social learning than their executive leadership.
    • In a write-in question, professionals said that their top challenges in implementing social learning were “lack of management support,” “fear on the part of leadership,” “corporate decision makers are slow to commit,” “working through the dinosaurs,” “demonstrating value to management.”    “Organizational readiness” and “learner readiness” were also common responses.
    • Most professionals are ready to give control for collaborative learning to employees:  The majority (56%) said that employees should be able to initiate collaboration groups.  Only 4% said that just administrators should initiate collaboration groups.
  • While it is excellent that most organizations have systems of measurement, they are less likely to measure learning and development in terms of business ROI—improved performance, sales, revenue, or customer service.
    • If HR and L&D professionals want to convince leadership of the value of “social,” they must move beyond evaluating learner responses to evaluating the impact of learning, particularly “social” learning, on the business, e.g. the effect of greater employee engagement and passion on the bottom line.
  • The need to keep learner momentum and involvement in social learning will be paramount to its success.    Professionals expressed concerns about the lasting impact of social technology on learners.  As one respondent said, “Adoption: Sizzle, then fizzle.”

How are you using social technology and features as a part of your learning management program?

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