As we close in on the end of the first quarter of 2018, many eLearning industry trend predictions are materializing, including increased social engagement in eLearning. Social learning is intrinsic and validates the learners’ preference to learn with others in order to observe, exchange knowledge and apply social reinforcement. By incorporating social opportunities such as allowing our learners to comment, share ideas or ask questions, we change the learning from passive to active giving our users more control over their learning experience and facilitating deeper learning.
Many LMS platforms support social learning with features, such as message or news boards, that allow users to interact with a facilitator or with other course participants, but, even if your LMS doesn’t support social meeting spaces, you can design a social learning environment or portal through an intranet site, or through a social media platform such as Google or Twitter.
Another way to encourage social collaboration is to incorporate social polls into your courses. Social polls are best used with topics where there is no right or wrong answer, and allow users to gauge their knowledge or opinion compared to that of their peers. It’s also an effective way to get feedback or start a conversation with users and may be less intimidating for a hesitant user than a discussion board. A few authoring tools have a native polling feature, but if yours doesn’t, consider using a polling service with the ability to embed the poll into your course.
Social learning is more beneficial than just being more fun, it also creates a learning environment which makes eLearning less of a solo activity, and more of a community of shared ideas and knowledge. By using a bit of creativity and intention we can design more social experiences allowing our learners to engage with and experience the content on a deeper level.