In the past decade, social media has gone from something “those kids” were talking about to a worldwide phenomenon. Whether you use it daily, or think it’s just a fad, there is no denying its popularity and power with 1.35 billion monthly active Facebook users as of the fourth quarter of 2014.
As learning and engagement platforms evolve, social media is being integrated within e-learning courses. Whether or not your learning platform integrates social components, using popular social media platforms is a great way to increase interactivity and collaboration among employees while creating a more engaging and informative learning experience.
So forget FarmVille, here are six ways to step up your e-learning with social media:
- Create a secret group on Facebook. Like a super-secret-society you were part of on the playground in grade school, anyone can be a member of a secret group on Facebook, but they have to be added or invited by a current group member.
This is ideal for companies who want to encourage employee interaction on social platforms, but don’t want it to be public. Group topics can be about specific sections of an e-learning course, or about learning in general. Facebook groups are also a way to move conversations from online forums or discussion boards, where there can be one-way diatribes rather than true interaction.
- Ask for feedback using the Facebook polls feature. Within groups and on Facebook pages, users have the ability to create polls (surveys) to collect feedback about a training course, or specific topics within the course. The feature allows users to post a question and provides four options for a multiple-choice answer. While this is an option for collecting closed feedback only, it can be an effective way to get specific information quickly if your learning and engagement platform doesn’t have a survey functionality.
- Offer digital badges. As another throwback to childhood (if you were a Boy Scout or Girl Scout), badges can be offered as a public display of participation and accomplishment when posted to a users’ Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile. A badge should be offered at the conclusion of each section of a course, with a special badge for completion of the entire course. Badges are also a tool to build camaraderie, and a little friendly competition, among employees as it communicates a shared activity.
- Use YouTube. As the second-largest search engine, YouTube offers e-learning professionals the opportunity to create videos employees can access within and outside of the e-learning course. Videos can be as simple as a brief introduction explaining the course, or they can be styled more like webinars covering complex subjects such as how to use new bookkeeping software. If you’d prefer to not have videos available to the the public, it can be marked as “private” and only viewable by those who have the link, or who are taking the course.
- Host a Google Hangout to encourage collaboration and learning no matter where you are in the world. Up to 10 co-workers can “hang out” together with video and voice capabilities to complete a task within a course, provide course feedback or complete an assignment required for completion of a course. This platform can also be used to broadcast a presentation live, or provide one-on-one support between the employee and employer.
- Provide additional resources and topical news with Feedly. An online news feed aggregator, Feedly allows users to subscribe to RSS or Atom feeds specific to a topic, such as e-learning or technology, and then receive “headlines” via the feed. Incorporating a social platform like Feedly into your course is a simple way to provide employees with instant access to further resources about a course or company topic.
One final tip: you can increase employee engagement with your company social media by including profile pages links within the course so employees can quickly “follow” and “like” you.
What are some ways you’ve seen companies engage employees in learning through social media platforms? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
VP of People and Places