Corporate training and learning: the power of social learning

It is difficult to be successful when one is aware of the fact that  most people remember only 10% of the information learned . A 10% constantly threatened by the information overload and by the considerable amount of data generated and exchanged over time. A problem of attention or a learning problem? How do people learn, understand their mechanisms, remember and memorize all that is proposed?

Neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists and communicators have always tried to investigate what makes human beings capable of learning. Early behavioral theories (from Pavlov to Skinner and Thorndike) defined learning as the process by which  an activity is created or modified by reacting to a situation encountered or stimulated . Subsequently, the cognitivists, considering this statement not sufficient to explain the abilities of the human being, have defined learning as a cognitive process that takes place within a social context and  can take place through observation or education. direct . Hence the term  social learning .

Why speak, therefore, of Social Learning ? And why is it important to apply it in training contexts ?

1. Social learning has always belonged to us!

The theory of social learning is about to fulfill its sixty years of life. In 1960, the era in which behaviorism reigned supreme and learning was conceived as an exchange of information between an expert and his student,  the well-known psychologist Albert Bandura –  psychologist of Canadian descent and professor at Stanford University –   defined a ‘important theory, known as the theory of social learning or theory of learning by imitation . According to dear Albert, learning does not imply only the direct contact with certain objects or interlocutors, but it can also happen thanks to indirect experiences, developed with the observation of other people or models. Man, by his nature,  tends to imitate social models : through the observation and imitation of others he acquires behavior. His brilliant theoretical elaborations have allowed the development of practical methods, useful to improve the existing forms of learning.

2. Social learning VS individual learning

It is important to distinguish the ‘ learning  individual from  the social . The first refers to the ability to acquire new information as a result of direct personal experience with the environment, proceeding by trial and error. This type of approach is generally longer and more expensive in terms of time, resources and cognitive energies. Furthermore, by learning from one’s actions the subject is more exposed to errors and can only correct himself to the result achieved. In social learning, however, thanks to the interaction with their peers and the direct observation of behavior, the man learns faster by using less effort and energy.

3. Social learning and connection

The Social Network Sites have gained importance in our daily life since  a guy named Mark Zuckerberg had the idea of keeping people connected. Bring people closer together – said the day when Facebookwas born ( for a more in-depth look at the article on Facebook: between history and future). And although social networks such as Facebook were born primarily to allow people to connect and socialize, we should not be surprised if, today, these environments go from being a recreational tool to being a tool used for professional purposes. At the base is the idea that participation in social networks, interaction within groups, the online exchange of resources and information, can promote forms of informal learning , generated by the very fact of living or being on the network . It is not surprising then the statement of Siemens: learning means to stay connected  ( and what do social networks do? ).

The applications of social learning within organizations can be different in relation to the objectives set by the company itself and the desired results. If, on the one hand, the Social Networks can be seen as the suitable places for training and the tools useful to improve the processes of individual learning, on the other, it is very necessary to review the classical logic of learning itself and training and set aside traditional approaches and paradigms. As? Find out how to  innovate in-company training and what are the best methods and tools to do it!

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