The following is the second of my monthly “Best of the Blogs”. Here I will curate content from a range of posts, blogs, research articles and other sources.

With Christmas and New Year celebrations in December, a very social time, I felt that this month’s pick should be on Social Learning.

Superb Learning

Understanding Social Learning

Social Learning has become a bit of a L&D buzzword in recent times, but it is not a new concept. Albert Bandura’s Social Learnin4g Theory which was written nearly 40 years ago, describes how “behaviour is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning”.

Based on this theory, social learning5 can be described as the process of learning with and from others. This can be through the observation of behaviours but also learning cognitively through discussions and solving of problems. It can happen online (through social media and collaborative learning tools) or offline (in the workplace, at networking meetups or group activities).

Jane Hart also provides a further definition and introduces the term “Social Collaboration” to describe the social learning6 from working together to achieve business objectives.

To understand social learning7 you should also consider some of the myths around it, which Helen Blunden dispels in her article “4 Myths of Social Learning8“. In his article “Socially Acceptable” Clark Quinn clarifies what social learning9 is not, and what good social learning10 is.

Implementing Social Learning11 in the Workplace

Implementing social learning12 in the workplace will be an important aspect of professional learning and growth (for individuals, teams and organisations). As Harold Jarche explains in his articlenew ideas will have to come from our professional networks in order to keep pace with innovation and change in our fields“.

Asha Pandey’s article discusses how adopting social learning13 makes sense and how it will foster collaborative learning.

Julian Stodd’s blog describes a way to implement social learnin14g, through the use of a scaffolded social learning15 journey. This allows for a structured learning journey with conditions where social learning16 can thrive.

Making it a success

Social learning17 it is not simply about adding in some social media and other tools and hope people become social. This blog “Integrating Social Learning18 in the Workplace” discusses how one of the greatest challenges of social learning19 is not implementing it, but getting it integrated into the culture.

Ben Betts discusses how the secret to making social learning20 a success is in the marketing.

Helen Blunden also provides some details on 20 mistakes learning teams make about social learning21.

Building a community

One aspect of social learning22, is the development of communities to allow for the knowledge sharing to occur. Tanmay Vora provides some great advice on how to feed a community, including this great sketch note.

Encourage people to Work Out Loud, which John Stepper talks about in this video.


However, there are challenges and obstacles which are described in the article “Six Obstacles To Building Communities In Organisations


My final thoughts

Social learning23 is an essential element in the design of a learning journey. Consider how you can build it into any courses you are designing. When moving to more social learning24, especially in the workplace where culture change is required, start small and move from there. Also consider what’s the future of social learnin25g and how you can take advantage of it..