Skillsoft Blog

A Visual Guide to Social Learning

Download the info graphic here:

By John Ambrose

Social learning – other than the global financial scene, no topic creates more lines of news these days. It is also the single most asked question I get when discussing the future of learning. The next most frequent question is: “Where do I start?”

The list of social tools available is long, growing and downright confusing. Many have comprehensive feature sets and may overlap with other technologies your company is already using. The vast majority are empty technology drums that require you to pour in the community and the content. Your IT organization is likely already evaluating an enterprise-wide social application.

But that doesn’t mean it will do all you need from a learning perspective.

The real opportunity at the intersection of social and learning is about the scalability of learner insights. What I mean, is applying social technology deep within the learning content so that every interaction with the content is an opportunity for the organization to get smarter by capturing, sharing and discovering new insights on that topic.

Concrete example: I am a manager with an open req and I haven’t hired much in the past year. To brush up my interviewing techniques, I might search for a short elearning module or a relevant chapter of a book. If the right social strategy is in place, I should be able to find not only great off-the-shelf content but also a rich tapestry of comments and insights harvested over time from past users and embedded contextually where they are most useful.

Social learning is about extending the value of expert information and infusing it with the knowledge and expertise of an organization’s own employees. It’s about making those learner insights scalable.

This achievability of this goal is becoming increasingly recognized. Last year we started our We-Learning Workshop Series that features experts from Bersin & Associates discussing tips and tricks on applying a successful social learning, or we-learning, platform. The series became so popular that we brought it back this year and added more locations across the country to the series. We also teamed up with Jeanne Meister, author of The 2020 Workplace on a series of highly rated Social Learning Bootcamps. And, of course, SkillSoft’s own inGenius social learning platform is already helping hundreds of companies on this journey.

However, for the many organizations that are just starting to think about social, we wanted to offer a framework to assist. The infographic above distills what I consider the six essential elements of social learning programs.

The infographic, along with our We-Learning Workshops, is part of SkillSoft’s initiative to ease the organizational shift toward social learning. They both offer training professionals an intangible opportunity to sharpen their perspective on how their organizations can leverage social learning to impact business results, and position themselves and their employees for continued growth. Does your organization offer social learning?

Registration for the We-Learning events in Long Beach, CA and Chicago are now open. To register, please visit

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