Monday, January 15, 2018

Three different views on social learning

I am not the first to note that social learning is a confusion concept. Every Friday there is an interesting #ldinsight Twitter chat. I joined one Friday when the topic was about social learning. I struggled going from my tweetchat back to twitter and hootsuite trying to keep up with replies :). Any Twitterchat is hard work but it was worst to make sense here because I noticed that we all talked with a different view on social learning. For instance, people talked about groupwork and having time to read quietly. I often see social learning is seen any learning activity which involves more than one person. That's one of the views but not mine.

I will write down the three main different views I hear when people talk about social learning. I see the social constructivist, the new social learner and the collaborative learners.


Learning is situated and knowledge is constructed through interaction with others. Knowledge is not constructed indivually but is influenced by others.

Social learning combines social media tools with a shift in culture encouraging connections
Social learning is learning with and from others
Typical remark
“You can not turn off learning” “Even reading a book is social”
“I connect and learn through my online network” “just the technology is not enough”
“We should add some social elements”  “It is all about sharing knowledge and experience”
Online or offline?
Typical interventions
Communities of practice
Social network inventory – looking for existing communities

Introduce an Enterprise social network
Stimulate use of social media
Working Outloud

Adding interaction to e-learning
Collective learning

Online networks
Learning from peers

Images through Robin Higgins on Pixabay

Not any of these views are wrong. Someone said this distinction is putting ideas in boxes. Personally I think surfacing your underlying ideas about social learning can be helpful in a conversation. Otherwise you might not understand each other. I am a typical social constructivist because I look at learning as meaning making. However, I often adopt the new social learning definition because it is a much clearer definition. The collaborative learning approach is not wrong, but it does not focus on collective learning which is often very important in organizations. Mmm in networks as well in fact.

Do you relate to any of the three views? Which one?

No comments: