Skillsoft Blog

The 8 Truths of Social Learning

By Pam Boiros

Thetruthisoutthere We’ve been talking a lot about social learning lately.  Heck, the whole industry has been talking about it.  Between webinars, workshops, and whitepapers there is no lack of information and opinions.

You may have heard that our inGenius social learning product was announced officially today at the 2010 Bersin IMPACT Conference.  John Ambrose last week very eloquently conveyed the approach we’ve taken in bringing inGenius to market in order for it to be successful.  As he said, it takes enabling technology, a vibrant community and great content.  We think inGenius brings all of this together.

As we have been preparing to announce inGenius over the last few months we’ve been speaking with SkillSoft customers, industry analysts, and other people in the know, and we’ve seen a few key themes popping up time and again.  This insight has been just as important to how we’ve approached inGenius. These key themes are summarized below.  You could think of these as the 8 Truths of Social Learning:

  1. Cross-generational appeal.  Organizations want a tool that will appeal to multiple generations.  It’s not a stretch to think that Millennials will gravitate to social learning tools – they grew up with them and experienced them as an integral part of their formal education during high school and college.  But social learning tools should also appeal to your Gen Xers, Boomers, and even Traditionalists.
  2. Discovery of knowledgeable colleagues.  The task of finding colleagues who have the exact nugget of information you need to solve a business problem — when you need it — can be a tricky one.  This is especially true in today’s global, virtual, dispersed organizations where job titles don’t tell the whole story about a person’s range of skills and expertise.  Being able to pinpoint knowledgeable colleagues – whether they are three cubicles over or three time zones away – is a key benefit of social networking tools within an organization.
  3. Shared best practices and capture of tacit knowledge.  The impending retirement of the baby boomers has long yielded hand-wringing by managers, HR professionals, and executives wondering how to capture the decades of institutional knowledge that’s in the heads of these key employees.  Social learning can play a part in imparting this knowledge to the next generation.
  4. Intuitive to use and easy to roll-out.  Consumer-oriented social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have set the bar high in terms of ease-of-use.  Learners in organizations will expect a similarly intuitive experience from organizational social learning technologies.
  5. Enhance learning programs.  Learning Leaders want social learning to make their existing instructor-led and e-learning initiatives better, more engaging, and with improved learning outcomes.
  6. Respect for privacy. HR managers across the globe lose sleep over the private company and employee data that can (deliberately or inadvertently) leak out to the web.   Social learning initiatives need to allow for free collaboration between colleagues, without risking leakage to the wider Web world.
  7. Ownership of user-generated content. Content that is created by employees through social learning initiatives is the intellectual property of the organization.
  8. Safe, trusted, proven environment.  Organizations want to know that they are selecting a partner with a track record of a providing the type of platform environment that can meet the varied needs for safe learning collaboration.

We are confident that we have the enabling technology with inGenius, now it is time to build the vibrant community and great content in 2010!

Do you have any ‘Truths’ to add to my list?  Let me know in the comments section!

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