Informal learning is constantly happening across your organization. And when you recognize it, you can take actions to support and enhance these informal, social learning experiences. In this Distributed Learning blog post, we’ll explore strategies to help you get started.
Understanding & Tracking Social Learning
Social learning, a type of distributed learning, is any direct learning from other people—such as social media, online forums, and chats with colleagues—that happens naturally within organizations. In other words, social learning can’t be forced. But that doesn’t mean you can’t track, support, and even influence this type of learning.
Previously, we discussed five data capture strategies:
- Track with xAPI
- Use a Connector
- Make Assumptions
Once you’ve determined your data capture strategies, consider how you will record the learner’s name, who taught the learner, and what he/she learned. In particular, plan how you will tag and group learning experiences by competency or topics. If you're not sure how to get started with tagging, follow these steps:
Start by defining the different categorizations or tags for learning experiences that are relevant to you. For example, you might tag by: competencies in your competency framework, parts of the organization for which the experience is appropriate, or the experience topic.
Next, determine how the software tracking the experience will recognize the categorizations. For instance, will the software get this information from a database, will it have its own internal mapping, or will you rely on the learner to tag their self-reporting?
- Finally, decide how these categories will be represented in statements. Normally, things such as categories and tags are represented in xAPI statements using category context activities.
Due to its nature, offline learning can be difficult to capture. As a result, it may be best to start with capturing online learning and then extending your tracking system to capture offline learning.
Additionally, offering incentives can encourage people to report in-person learning. Three types of incentives can help encourage people to self-report:
Purpose. Learners see a good reason to record their learning. (e.g., They have the ability to share experiences with their teams or add it to a CPD record that's discussed regularly with a manager or mentor.)
Gamification. Use points, badges, and public leaderboards that honor active learners. These also can be considered as social rewards.
Real Rewards. Increase training budgets, cash prizes, or visibility of promotion prospects for those with good learning records. Incentives help ensure learners support your initiative and understand the benefits of using captured data.
Up Next: Supporting Informal Learning
Once you have data about the informal learning that’s happening in your organization, how will you use that information to support and enhance it? Find out in our next Distributed Learning blog post.
Want to capture social learning?
Use this worksheet to start tracking informal learning. If you need a refresher on tracking and measuring learning, download the Essentials of Learning Evaluation eBook.