For many people, social media is a familiar presence in both their professional and personal lives. There are over 46 million social media users in the UK alone, and over 3 billion users worldwide – that’s 40% of the whole world tuning into conversations online.
These numbers tell us that the world is engaged with social media, so shouldn’t the learning industry capitalise on this?
Social media can play a pivotal role in a successful blended learning solution. It’s proven that social media can increase employee participation in learning, especially if programmes have a significant element of self-directed learning.
If you’re interested in finding out how social media can really impact your blended learning offering, we’ve put together our five favourite reasons.
1. Engagement and connectedness
Despite the greater flexibility and ease of access that digital learning offers, there’s still one frequently heard complaint from learners, and that is a lack of connectedness in their learning. Learners are more likely to be engaged with the learning if they can reach out to their peers for support.
Social media is a fantastic solution for bringing disparate learners together and adding social interaction to the digital learning experience. Creating groups via platforms that your learners are already familiar with can be a great way of building online learning communities, increasing learner engagement and encouraging social learning. Learning groups can be built, managed and monitored relatively easily on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Workplace.
2. Learning transfer
Social media can be used as a tool for aiding the transfer of learning after a learning programme has taken place.
It’s a great platform for drip feeding follow-up questions, activities and content, keeping learners engaged and helping to keep conversations alive within the learning community.
Offering your follow-up content on social media is a lot more effective compared to other communication channels such as email. It’s actually proven that push notifications on social media will drive more engagement from your learners compared with email.
3. Personal Learning Networks
Social media can be a great place for learners to find knowledge, information and peer support to aid their learning. Towards Maturity’s data shows us that social networking platforms are now a key part of the blended learning experience, with 61% of learners now motivated to learn online by using technologies that enable them to network and work with others.
By using social media as part of your blended learning you can encourage your learners to develop their own Personal Learning Network (PLN) on social media, made up of a community of people and resources that learners can turn to when they need advice, information or support. Ultimately, it helps your learners be at the centre of their own learning.
4. High impact, low effort
Adding social media to your blended learning mix is easier, cheaper and more intuitive than some might think.
Facebook pages can easily be made private, blogging sites can be passworded and a hashtag on Twitter can be used to follow conversations. All of these social networking platforms are free and it’s likely your learners will already be familiar with how to use them so little training will be required.
They also allow you to monitor how your learners are engaging with your content - for example, you could use the free link tracking tool Bitly which allows you to track clicks and engagements for all of your posts.
5. Getting closer to your learners
Recently some pretty eye-opening data from Towards Maturity informed us that many L&D departments don’t trust their learners to take responsibility for their own learning, which suggests a lack of understanding and connectedness between L&D and their learners.
Adding social media learning communities to the blended learning mix could help you get closer to your learners. It would allow you to take a step back and see how your learners are interacting with and supporting each other, and it would give your learners the opportunity to reach out to L&D in a more informal setting.
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Using social media as part of your blended learning mix can help you to increase engagement, aid the transfer of learning and get you closer to your learners.
What’s stopping you?
If you’re interested in finding out more about what makes a great blend, why not take a look at our ‘six step guide to blended learning’ which explores this further.
Lauren Dennish, Marketing Executive, Bray Leino Learning
Lauren is passionate about exploring new ways that developing a marketing mindset can help L&D – from creating learning cultures to improving learner engagement.