How to Benefit from Social Learning in eLearning

Social learning is the best form of learning as the famous educator Stephen Covey once said, “People are social beings and want interaction, and social learning is the primary form of learning. Just as word of mouth advertising is the highest form of advertising.”

It is not a new phenomenon but has gained a lot of popularity in the past couple of years. That is mainly because of the increase in the practice of remote learning. Organizations have been challenged to maintain their corporate culture and sustain the interaction and engagement between the employees and peers. Hence, social learning has been proved to be a great technique to overcome it.

Not convinced? Here’s an example: a large manufacturer, Villeroy & Boch in Japan, recorded a 32% increase in average transaction value and a 19% increase in sales after deploying a social learning model. 

This blog will explain the importance of social learning in eLearning. Find out the key benefits and how to leverage them. 

What is Social Learning?

Learning from and with others is called social learning. Albert Bandura proposed the theory of social learning. He emphasized observing, modeling, and imitating the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. According to the 70:20:10 learning model, only 10% of learning comes from textbooks and courses. The remaining 90% of learning is done from experiences, observations, and interaction with others.

70:20:10 Rule

Social learning can be divided into two categories: direct and indirect. Direct contact includes face-to-face communication and interaction, which can be either in person or virtual. In contrast, indirect contact implies interaction through digital channels. Social learning is a natural process of learning through human interaction and observations.

Ever wondered how 3-4-year-old kids know more than you did at the same age? The answer is social learning. With access to smartphones and social media sites and applications. Kids nowadays learn much more faster through observing and interacting. Similarly, students and employees can retain more information through social learning.

Major Components

It is important to distinguish social learning from other forms of learning. Social learning can be categorized into four components. A common misconception about it is linking it with technology. However, the following four components determine social learning:

  • Reciprocal Determinism

It is simply the interaction with others in an environment that facilitates learning and provides positive energy. The environment and personality traits influence human behavior. 

  • Observational Learning

As the name suggests, this type of learning is done through observation. You can learn by simply observing a process, technique, or method, and then reciprocating it yourself the same way you observed it. When you watch and learn a recipe on Youtube and then follow the same process practically to make the dish, observational learning occurs.

  • Self-Regulation

It is essential to discipline yourself by setting goals and targets, ultimately motivating yourself to learn. Have you ever made a timeline in your school days for preparation for your exams? You got it right; that is an excellent example of self-regulation. 

  • Self-Efficacy

The ability to stay confident plays a pivotal role in social learning. You can perform much better and learn more if you believe that you can do the task. That can only come through self-belief and past learning experiences and by observing and evaluating other’s performance.

With the help of these four components, a social learning environment can be developed. A positive environment where people want to learn and believe that they can learn and then achieve it; that is social learning in a nutshell. 

Benefits of Social Learning in eLearning

Social learning is beneficial not just for your personal growth but also for your organization. Here are some of the key benefits:

Infographic of Benefits of Social Learning

  • Improves Information Retention

Research proves that information retention through social learning is much more than just listening and reading in a classroom. Research by Bersin and Associates found that learners can retain 5% from hearing a lecture and only 10% from reading from a textbook. However, it gets interesting when it was found out that information retention jumps to 50% through discussions and interaction. Furthermore, the learning goes up to 75% through on-job experience.

These statistics reinforce the importance of social learning and indicate that educators and trainers should develop a social learning model to improve their training or learning course performance. 

Open-source LMS systems such as Open edX have evolved the eLearning market with their interactive tools and features. For a detailed overview of open-source LMS systems, contact a professional Open edX service provider

  • Identification of Knowledge Gaps

Classroom learning has its limitations, but learning in a group can unveil scenarios, topics, and examples not mentioned in the classroom lectures and textbook. Discussions in a group study are a great example of social learning. Group study often helps individual learners in understanding concepts much easier. 

Furthermore, social learning of any form aids in identifying knowledge gaps through active discussions and revising lessons for fellow learners.

  • Boost Learners’ Engagement and Collaboration

The best thing about social learning is that it helps every type of learner. Passive learners or introvert learners often face difficulties and challenges in a classroom. Through social learning, every learner can get comfortable with asking questions and discussing. Ultimately social learning acts as a catalyst in the learning process. It improves the productivity of each learner and helps them engage and collaborate with others.

How to Incorporate Social Learning into eLearning?

How to incorporate social learning

Implementing social learning in your learning model is the next thing you would want to do, right? We have listed down some of the social elements that you can incorporate into your eLearning model.

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  • Emphasize on Teamwork

A social learning model cannot be adequately developed without the element of teamwork. It can be of great benefit to the learners as it aids interaction. The best way to emphasize teamwork is to include group projects and promote collaboration. Various collaborative learning tools are available that can be incorporated into your LMS.

  • Encourage Competitive Learning Environment

It is human nature to compete and win by putting in an extra effort. Competition is a double-edged sword in the learning process. It can negatively impact the learner’s productivity and motivation. However, it can push the learner to try harder to achieve the goals that have been set. Design your learning model by adding competition, but ensure that it doesn’t put too much pressure on the learners.

  • Introduce Gamification to Increase Motivation 

Social learning in your learning model can also be inducted through gamification. eLearning Gamification has proved to be an excellent edition for many eLearning platforms in increasing the motivation and productivity of their learners. Include gamification tools such as leaderboard, contests, badges in your learning model. It will incentivize your learners to put more effort.

  • Conduct Q/A Sessions

Encourage your learners to ask questions to clear their concepts and queries. You can include feedback forms and live Q/A sessions in your course. Asking questions can improve the understanding of concepts hence enhances productivity.

What Have We Learned?

Social learning has become an essential part of every learning process. It increases learners’ retention and productivity. We learned that interaction with other fellow learners and through observing and interacting, your learning process is further enhanced.

Based on the stats shared above, we believe you have retained just 10% of this blog’s content. Therefore, we highly recommend you to schedule a free consultation session with our professionals and discuss how different social learning tools incorporated into your LMS can increase your learners’ productivity.


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