In the Best Practices column of last month’s Chief Learning Officer, Josh Bershin tagged the use of social networking as a “here-to-stay” member of corporate training. He notes that LMS vendors have various challenges ahead and lists practical applications from Dell, IBM, Starbucks and others
As I spoke with our Allen Learning Portal team about the article and social networking trends, the outcome was two-fold: 1) Allen’s Learning Portal has gone beyond housing training courses and has provided social networking capabilities for over two years and 2) Allen continues to provide new social networking capabilities.
Each client has Allen customize the Learning Portal to meet its needs and solve its challenges. Aside from the standard directory tool, some examples of the portal’s social networking capabilities include the following:
- Pre-work Discussion Groups: Prepare learners to attend training. Give trainers an opportunity to assess a groups knowledge and skill level
- Post-training Discussion Threads: Topics include Q/As, difficult concepts, requests for more training, new best practices, etc.
- Class forums for ILT: Trainers can moderate these forums between ILT sessions or learners can post questions, insights, and individual/group work after training is over.
- Wikis: Learners and/or moderators can post thoughts about either ILT or WBT training or post helpful information and best practices. Moderators can approve changes students propose or can leave the wiki open and allow learners to modify content as needed.
- Webinars: Learners can attend and discuss live training. Learners range from employees to clients so discussions can include How Tos, Q/As with SMEs, etc.
The highlight of the article was Bersin’s best practices for how to manage such tools rely on the idea that the tools encourage “bottom-up energy.” We agree with him that the more learners know about how to use the tools, the more likely they are able to manage the tools themselves. In addition, Allen has found that companies implement our portal in ways that add value to employees and client’s daily lives.