While it is clear that formal training retains its pre-eminence and is recognised throughout the world of work, informal learning, hitherto little known and appreciated, is now established as a new form of participatory learning. Some countries even validate informal learning in the skills development of individual career paths (“Validation of Acquired Experience” in France, “NVQs” in the UK, etc.). What role does social learning play in optimising training, and in particular distance training via e-learning platforms?
Social learning: what is its principle?
Social learning tends to supplement distance training through social media, aimed at creating more effective communication between students and learning managers as well as optimising the training course objectives.
Social learning develops informal training (learning outside the scope of a structured learning system, based, in particular, on interaction and an exchange of experience) by allowing the learner to supplement the knowledge gained formally: By sharing, questioning, communicating and in short evolving in a more social and practical environment, s/he acquires and internalises even more knowledge.
Remember that nearly 90% of learning is informal: ever-present in our daily lives, discussion with or advice from colleagues or learning managers as well as experience are very important factors in shaping us. In this context, clearly, the presence of social learning would appear to be a natural part of distance training.
Social networking: discussions to enhance learning
Besides the emails or virtual classrooms that have already been a part of e-learning for several years, social learning is today going further in the social dimension by providing the community features of social networking within e-learning platforms. It promotes learning communities via various media and social tools such as wikis, blogs, forums, etc. E-learning platforms feature tools for promoting sharing, such as microblogging. An effective addition for distance training, allowing ever-closer collaboration and communication between the various players.