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Better Learning through Social Media

Originally posted by ubabenefits.com.

Social media is not often associated with learning — unless you want to learn about the latest gossip concerning your friend or a celebrity — yet it is emerging as the next tool for employers to improve upon the learning environment for their workforce.

This is not to say that employers should jump on the bandwagon. Just because the cool kids are doing it doesn’t mean that it’s the right tool for every learning situation. An employer should focus on the goal of what needs to be accomplished and then determine whether social media can help take employees there faster, better, or more easily.
If it’s determined that social media is the way to go, then an article on Society for Human Resource Management’s website shrm.org titled, Social Media Can Enhance Employees’ Learning, has a few recommendations on how trainers can use it to its full advantage. Primarily, if social media is to be incorporated into a training program, then it needs to be utilized before, during, and after each session.

Trainers need to embrace social media as a collaborative gathering place for employees. People are able to share notes, ideas, materials, concerns, and expectations in order to maximize the value they receive during the training sessions. In fact, trainers and organizers, not just participants, must participate in order for the sessions to be successful. You can expect others to offer input if the leaders are not willing to jump in first. The author of the shrm.org article says that the “holy triangle” of social media is to give/ask/thank while creating enthusiasm for the program.

Equally important to social media training is the follow-up once the sessions are complete. Just because it’s over, doesn’t mean that it has to be over. The trainer, organizer, or both should collect feedback on the program while also sharing references, resources and providing connections that will help participants continue to learn and grow.

From the comfort of one’s own home or office, employees have access to other people who have the same passion as they do about a particular topic and are willing to share their knowledge. HR leaders need to think of social media as the ultimate study group that never stops and then evaluate whether social media fits into their corporate culture.