Think about how social media tools could help you get into new spaces, such as those between or after formal events, or where conversations are otherwise naturally occurring. What are some ways to help support the new learning as people work to implement it? Some ideas include
- an online leadership book club to sustain learning beyond the confines of the organization’s structured leadership academy
- a networking group for graduates of a particular course, which can be a great way to support transfer of new learning from the classroom event
- a dynamic, evolving frequently-asked-questions webpage for new hires, created by new hires, or a webpage with tips from top sales staff
- a wiki for group projects
- a site for “critical incident” discussions related to training topics such as customer service or ethics
- a microblog-based live chat for all the leaders in your organization, or all leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, or all leaders everywhere
- a Twitter hashtag assigned to your training sessions so participants can tweet key points and takeaways to those who were unable to attend.
One area ripe for expansion is performance support. L&D is perfectly positioned to use social media tools to deliver job aids and provide real-time mentoring and coaching. Helping to establish and nurture communities for recent course graduates and new hires is an excellent way to build and reinforce ties between learners and learning.
Find ways for learners to support one another and showcase their work. For instance, Google’s Julia Bulkowski recommends that when a stellar salesperson closes a big sale, ask that employee to share her presentation by narrating key points, and objections, responses, and then ask what she considered critical to the sale. Publish this via a sharing tool or company site as a support tool for others.
Watch for opportunities that training and development may be missing. For example, do your workers have an easy way of finding one another? How long would it take someone to, say, find another person in the organization who is fluent in Portuguese? Lead the initiative to establish employee profiles that include skills inventories.
Work with others to establish blogs on topics of particular interest in the company, and recruit ambassadors or experts to help populate these and lead conversations. These can be specific to business, such as sales tactics or new product details, or information of more personal relevance to people such as wellness or work-life balance.
Host a “lifelong learning” blog or Facebook page with updates about L&D activities, as well as links to how-to sites and videos, links to free webinars or podcasts, and overviews of academic programs that might be of interest to staff. In other words, help your learners use social media to learn. Work to invite conversation, comments, and suggestions from your readers or members.
Support learners in generating help for other learners. For example, help them make videos showing successful performance or illustrating common pitfalls for new supervisors. Help them use tools such as Scribd or Slideshare to publish their projects and presentations.
Look for opportunities to help in the workflow. One of my biggest successes was intervening the day a higher-up asked for 15 people to review and return their iterations of the same document. It was a perfect moment to introduce simultaneously shared Google Docs.