How can your remote and hybrid L&D strategy transform into a higher level of engagement? The social learning theory may be your solution.
Social learning theory – what is it?
Social learning is not a new idea. People have been acquiring knowledge this way since ever. However, when it comes to the remote mode of working, this is a fresh and innovative form that has grown in popularity recently. The theory of social learning was developed by a Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura. Its main principle is that humans learn through the observation of others. Thus, they are able to acquire new competencies by perceiving the consequences of actions and modeling their own behaviors on that basis. How does that work in practice? Social learning in a workplace environment may consist of, for example, sharing knowledge with other employees, using the latest technologies. These can involve a series of media: knowledge databases, newsletters, blogs, vlogs, discussion groups, and others. Social learning is also based on information exchange within the team or learning from more experienced colleagues.
What makes the social learning theory work?
Everyone occasionally skims through books, magazines, and websites to find information, but what people love best is learning from other people. The theory of social learning is right on target! It helps in making the learning process more effective and remembering the knowledge for a longer time. Why is that?
- Attention: employees will better focus on the training subject if they understand that what they are learning is innovative. The social context further reinforces this feeling.
- Retention: employees will better remember a given subject if they come to know the theory right at the moment of the occurrence of a problem. Social learning makes that possible because teams can e.g. take a look at the prepared materials to find answers for the problem at hand.
- Reproduction: the information one acquired through social learning tools can be basically put into practice at once. That supports the process of remembering and consolidating the newly learned knowledge.
- Motivation: social learning methods motivate employees because the knowledge is transferred by experts who have met with a given problem and are able to refer to real-life situations, respond to questions, and provide support to those who need it.
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Better processes, better effectiveness
Why is it a good idea to implement the theory of social learning in your organization? Here are its benefits for employers:
- Shorter, cheaper, and more efficient onboarding: social learning tools shorten the time that is needed for employee onboarding. New team members have a chance to use the available resources and go back to them anytime they need. They can perform their initial tasks knowing that they will get help if they need it.
- Better productivity of the team: problems don’t need to be solved by individuals anymore. The materials available in the database show that similar problems have already been solved by other members of the organizations. Instead of searching the void for answers, employees can refer to tested resources.
- Better communication: employees communicate in an easier and quicker way to find the answers to their questions.
Social learning – benefits for employees
Learning from managers, mentors, and supervisors within an organization is very beneficial to employees; for example:
- Easy access: employees have access to the internal company training platforms at any time, in any place and it also includes remote teams.
- Time efficiency: team members can use internal platforms at any time of the day. As a result, they combine their everyday duties with raising their qualifications and acquiring knowledge.
- Professional know-how on demand: employees can return to the resources of their choice right when they need them.
- Stronger team: learning from senior employees and experts who belong to the same organization boosts the sense of community and we all know a strong team makes a strong company.
- Motivation: as employees can make use of professional know-how, available for free and without hassle, their motivation level rises – especially if they really mean to grow and improve their qualifications.
- Knowledge made-to-measure: the materials prepared by the employees of the organization refer to real-life problems. Sharing experience-based knowledge is the best method of supporting your colleagues.
- New opportunities: when social learning enters an organization, senior employees and managers get brand new opportunities. They can share their knowledge, empower their job satisfaction, and strengthen their relationship with the company.
Social learning – what is its ROI?
Is social learning profitable for companies? The numbers speak for themselves.
- 75:1 – that’s the ROI for social learning in organizations, as compared to other L&D methods.
- 85% – that’s the completion rate resulting from the introduction of social learning methods in Harvard Business School.
- 20-25% – that’s how much the productivity of employees can rise thanks to the application of effective social learning technologies.
- 250,000 USD – that’s how much the semiconductor manufacturer AMD saves per year in web-based training production costs.
- 73% – that’s the percentage of companies surveyed by Brandon Hall Group which intend to focus on that method in the future.
A growing number of companies implement social learning methods. Because learning from their colleagues and leaders helps employees retain the acquired information for longer, reinforces their attachment to the team, responds to their actual needs, and supports them in finding tangible solutions to their problems, this trend is unlikely to slow down. Are you ready for a change? Let’s get down to business then!