“Social learning” is about more than using social media to support collaboration and learning. It goes beyond how people use Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other media, to consider how your organizational learning strategy can leverage the technology infrastructure to support behavioral change.
In this article, Bill Brandon takes the theory of social learning, as developed by renowned social psychologist Albert Bandura, and explores how we can leverage it to support elearning.
New evidence has been accumulating rapidly in recent years about how much a social aspect influences elearning’s effectiveness. Not only do students engage more with the content when there is a social element, but they remember more and are better able to apply it exogenous situations. And, as Brandon stresses, sociality is not just achieved through scoreboards or social media; humans learn by observation as much as, and sometimes even more than, by behavioral reinforcement. If your sister gets grounded for missing curfew, you learn not to miss curfew yourself—you don’t need to be grounded yourself.
Older students’ elearning success is aided by use of discussion boards, scoreboards, cooperative gameplay, and even player versus player gameplay. Most younger students lack the foundational skills (reading, writing fluently, sportsmanship) to enter afresh into these modules and benefit from a positive interaction. There are, however, ways to get around this. I am reminded of Kathy Cassidy and her class blog. I am also intrigued by possible co-op opportunities or social notifications when peers’ perform especially well. There are many possibilities here, and we want to build the best product we can, we can’t ignore them.