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Engaging employees in social learning
Sunday, September 17, 2017

In February 2017 we launched Fuse as a social learning platform. We started small - with onboarding or specific audiences like marketing - and built it into existing programs but modified the programs to follow 70:20:10 principles. This means that all learning solutions incorporate a 100% focus - what can be learned on the job, by doing, by performance support, what can be learned with or from our communities (peers, boss, etc.), and what needs formal learning interventions. We took this approach for 2 reasons - this is what our research showed us that our employees do outside of work and the rate of change in our organization was so fast that we could not afford to only provide formal learning interventions as the L&D staff can't keep up. 

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In 7 months, we have made some learnings. Smaller, focused communities interact at a high level, especially if there is someone encouraging participation. This means building in some on the job assignments and asking to have them shared, providing feedback on uploaded content, etc. We have also found some interesting tendencies - entering a question encourages much more participation than writing an article! The articles are read and liked, but not necessarily commented on. From this we can hypothesize that we are more likely to feed into work that we feel the writer is open to having input on still. We also learned something about our use of videos - we like videos that have one of our employees visible in the video...and that video needs to be loaded directly to the site, not take us to the official video platform at our company that requires another login. 

What steps are you taking to bring social learning into your organizations? What findings have you made?

4 Comments
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Great article, Rachel! It hadn't occurred to me the subtle difference between commenting on an article (something that's completed) vs. commenting on a question. That makes a lot of sense to me. I'm curious: based on your learnings, what do you consider a 'smaller' community (number of people)?
Our "smaller" communities depend a bit on culture. For a global community, the group needs to be <100 or the more dominant cultures seem to override it. For a local community with more similar communication styles, groups of even 400 are pretty active. Overall, our most active communities are 65-80 people.
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Rachel - Agree with your point that smaller focused communities that have someone driving/encouraging the conversation can be quite powerful and highly engaging. I've run programs with large and small cohorts and find that most times, the smaller, more intimate cohorts generate more engagement in an online community than the large ones in structured learning programs. One thing that drives a lot of engagement for us are short videos by guest experts where participants can post questions.
I love this idea of guest expert videos! We have "knowledge experts" that they can reach out to, but it is a better idea to have a video with the option then to ask them something. I will borrow this idea with pride!
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