Can individual performance and expertise be assessed and made a part of performance appraisals in a non-intrusive way? Is it possible to capture the metrics in an engaging and effective way? Can an intranet platform work? Can learning build confidence of a workforce where technology obsolescence is the name of the game?
The answer to all these questions is a resounding YES! An agglomeration or a combination of different aspects of social learning can work wonders. If a dash of it makes the process intriguing, collaborative, and fun, then the device-agnostic learning or the seemingly popular bring your own device (BYOD) method is another aspect of this learning that keeps the workforce involved through the anytime-anywhere approach. Flexibility and mobility are bound to arouse the curiosity of learners. By bringing in elements of gaming and visual content in social learning, the engagement is far more effective. In short, integrated social learning,if packaged right, can enable the organization to choose the kind of options it could use to match the skill development needs of its people. Also, depending on the learner’s profile – be it role or designation, the learning methods can be tweaked at the time of deployment.
Social learning, as everyone would be inclined to agree, is perceived as an informal yet interesting way of attracting learners. Apart from user-generated content making social learning collaborative, it is the fun quotient that drives the eagerness of learners to share relevant and topical information.
Konnect, the social technology platform offered by Origin Learning has, from trials and implementation, proved to be efficient owing to the higher degree of engagement and participation of learners that it offers. From a leadership perspective, the tracking of learning is also done in a non-intrusive way. With the ‘sphere’ of learning approach, a learner’s behavior pattern can be identified easily. Access to subject matter experts is also no longer daunting as users of social learning would have dealt with their initial inhibitions.
A word of caution though: it is important to position the platform properly. The worker dynamics and organization culture have to be understood.Also, by roping in the HR team for implementation, social learning takes off without much fuss!
Analytics Prove It Works
Cisco,after rolling out a social learning platform last year, found it became an integral part of the service team experience. “Since rolling it out in September 2014, the number of users has jumped to 14,000 from 250, and 80 percent of the content is socially generated through blogs, forums, discussions and Q&As.”
In the initial stage a majority of the content was curated by HR, but the measure of success showed that the users saw value in it. The Cisco learning team also used analytics to track ongoing usage rates, including the number of passive and active users, click-thru traffic and how users rank content. “These metrics help them see how Cisco community engages with the platform overall, and it helps managers assess the individual performance and expertise of their people as part of their performance reviews.” But the HR team prefers to downplay this aspect of the platform. “When you mention that content is connected to performance reviews, people become less open,” Learning@Cisco’s Briesh as opined. So positioning it as a learning and knowledge platform forself-development is what works.
Origin’s experience with Konnect implementation has shown that though a social learning platform may not be directly linked to business results, sign of positive outcomes indicate the correlation.Incidentally, Cisco’s cloud-based solution – Cisco Collaborative Knowledge has been generating its own revenue stream.