Incorporating Social Media into your Training

When it comes to internal communication, email may soon be a thing of the past.

Is this statement a bit of futurist hyperbole? Don’t we all live and die by emails?  There are plenty of opinions out in the blogosphere about the death of email and the fact is companies are starting to break out of email prison into the open fields of social media.

Can social media applications really replace email?   The short answer is, yes.

Whether you believe email is here to stay or not, the (is-email-dead?) discussion illustrates the point that the social media bug has bitten courseware designers.  But has everyone caught the social media flu?   Not everyone, but has the potential to sweep through course design and integration like a pandemic.

Analogy may help us here.

In this space we have discussed the MOOC movement and its reported disruptive impact on traditional classrooms.  But Massive Open Online Courses have not replaced bricks-and-mortar universities and classroom labs.  At this point they are mostly used in blended learning settings to give users the chance to go through courses and learn theoretical underpinnings without having to “attend” a lecture hall.

These online lectures, augmented reality and the gamification of learning have become standard tools of the trade in courseware design.    And this is where social media fits into the picture.  Sharing ideas online, building a community of users, communicating ideas through comment fields,  uploaded photo files or videos–this is where social media earns its right to sit in the toolkit of courseware designers.  It is a single point of sharing to plug into your courseware.

In her article,  “Collaboration through Flickr & Skype: Can Web 2.0 Technology Substitute the Traditional Design Studio in Higher Design Education?“(CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, 2014, 5(1), 39-52 39) Dr. Katja Fleischmann of James Cook University) argues that social media is a fact of life.

Dr. Fleischmann writes that:

…students have been required to contribute to discussion boards and make use of other collaborative tools of the Learning Management System (LMS) to communicate, share and critique ideas online.

In a more recent publication, Dr. Fleischmann writes that institutions are:

…experimenting with ways to integrate technology-enabled learning, engaging various delivery platforms…..such as social media integration, in response to the newfound learning behaviour of many students, including their mobility.

Clearly the handwriting is on the wall regarding the integration of social media in higher education.

The same arrows are pointing toward social media integration into learning platforms and delivery systems for corporations as well.  Remember that email is dead or dying because it can be an unproductive way of communicating and sharing ideas.

But that story is for another day.   The point is that social media functionality, can add a great deal to your LMS or your online training program. Totara Social is an Enterprise Social Network that can stand alone or be integrated with Totara Learn. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact My Learning Space.

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