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Professional Partner Content

Social Learning: A New Way to Increase Your ROI

According to Time magazine, the leaders of top large technology firms predict that both social networks and knowledge will drive the future of the digital revolution: "The next phase is not about the network alone, but also about knowledge."

If you believe this projection is accurate, what role will learning and development play in the future? You may be wondering what solutions your organization can implement now to support this ongoing transformation.

Today's learning management systems (LMS) are embracing social learning as an avenue to increase engagement and improve outcomes. New LMS features are making it easy to leverage your user community to generate a better return on your investment.

The Power of Collaboration
In the past, learning was a one-way relationship; information flowed in a single direction from the trainer to the learner. The learning experience was, therefore, largely solitary and ended when the learner completed a course.

With social learning, your participants don't passively take in the training content. Instead, new social LMS features are creating a more user-driven learning experience, in which learners can enrich and pass along their knowledge by collaborating with others.

Research has shown that collaboration can enhance your corporate culture and improve your training outcomes. It should come as no surprise that 88 percent of workers prefer a collaborative environment to a competitive one. According to a Harvard study, trainees who reflected on course content and shared their learning with others increased their performance by 22 percent.

How Social Learning Increases Your ROI
When your LMS includes an interactive user community, your organization can leverage subject matter experts and peer-to-peer discussions to enhance the learning experience. Also, user interaction adds context to your content and allows participants to continue learning even after they complete a module.

By implementing social learning LMS features, your organization creates countless opportunities to add value to your corporate training program with a minimal upfront investment. Social learning also increases participants' engagement with your content.

When your learners interact with each other, they reinforce key learning and encourage active participation. Increased user engagement and retention of your content deliver a higher ROI.

Key Social Learning LMS Features
Flexible LMS platforms like Totara Learn offer several features that encourage collaboration. To maximize the benefits of social learning, consider implementing the following LMS features:

1. User Groups
By creating distinct groups focused on specific topics, your organization can foster more valuable conversations. You can organize groups by course, job function, or career level to help your users connect in more meaningful ways.

2. Question and Answer Forums
Often learners have similar questions as they progress through a program. With a Q&A forum, your organization can bring users together to crowdsource answers and additional resources.

3. Timelines
Sometimes referred to as the activity stream, a timeline provides users with a quick view of what is new in their learning communities. This can be a great place to publish announcements and highlight learners' achievements.

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