We drive strategic methodologies for incorporating digital learning in organizations, so we know that regardless of how user-friendly, relevant, and functional a tool may be, social learning cannot be truly established without a concete methodology to integrate it. For this, we have developed a four-phase process to help learners acclimatize to their digital learning spaces.
- Phase 1: Sporadic use of digital learning. When launching a digital learning project, the first challenges for the project’s owners and managers are to choose relevant subjects and issue effective communications on these subjects. This initialization phase is key.
- Phase 2: Regular use. During this second phase, learners start to use the digital training more regularly. At this point, it is important to set an even pace by increasing the frequency of use.
- In these first two phases, key project collaborators will be required to play an active role in laying the necessary foundations for learner motivation by performing “push” actions.
- Phase 3: Spontaneous use. Eventually, learners will increasingly refer to their new digital training space (LMS, SPOC, MOOC, etc.) because they will feel that it has enough content to quickly provide answers to their questions. The challenge in this phase is to increase the amount of formal resources available on the digital training space. There are many ways to add content to the space, which we will cover in greater detail later on. At this point, the project finally switches from “push” actions to a “pull” phase, in which learners use the system on their own initiative.
- Phase 4: Interaction between learners. At this point, the challenge is to develop organic exchanges between the learners themselves. Learning only becomes truly “social” once this last phase is under way.
In light of these four phases, it is easy to see that a community cannot be created in a vacuum: learners need to be guided through every step of their acclimatization.
From experience, we know that if this phasing is not followed, the effectiveness of a learning project is severely limited. Poorly organized projects may even need to be restarted from scratch.