The power of social learning within organisations

Let’s face it, what is more beautiful than growing by learning from the people around you? It is in our nature to learn from and with each other. That’s why social learning is an incredibly important phenomenon within organisations. But what exactly does it entail, and how can you implement social learning? You will find out in this article.

What is social learning?

Social learning is an educational phenomenon that assumes people learn new skills, behaviours, and knowledge by observing, mimicking, and engaging with others. This concept isn’t new; it emerged from the theories of Albert Bandura, a Canadian psychologist who introduced the social learning theory in the 1960s. According to Bandura, learning doesn’t just occur through absorbing knowledge or through direct instruction, but also socially, through observation and imitation.

The four phases of social learning

Social learning includes four key components:

Applying social learning in organisations

Within an organisation, social learning can be applied in various ways. Below, we share steps you can take within your organisation at each phase.

1. Creating attention

The success of social learning starts with making the right people and knowledge sources visible. This can be done through various channels such as workshops, meetings, video tutorials, or via an online learning platform. Here, role models and methods can be highlighted. The goal is to create an environment where you can learn from the experiences and behaviour of others

2. Promoting retention

Knowledge should not only be shared but also retained. This can be done, for example, through recurring meetings or workshops, so that participants can better remember the information through repetition. You can also use an internal learning platform, where you can share knowledge through self-made online training by the experts within your organisation. This way, the knowledge is accessible, and your employees can keep revisiting it until they can apply it.

3. Facilitating reproduction

Give employees the chance to put what they have learned into practice. This means providing them with space to practice and experiment. It’s important to create a culture where making mistakes is allowed and seen as a learning moment. Organise regular workshops or training sessions where employees can practice new skills. Pair employees with projects that challenge them to apply what they’ve learned in realistic scenarios. By working in teams on real problems, employees can learn from each other and bring their skills into practice.

4. Encouraging motivation

Make sure employees see the value of their new skills and have the right motivation to apply them. A reward system or offering growth opportunities that match individual career goals can help. Work with employees on individual development plans that map out how they can grow within the organisation through social learning. 

Social motivation can also be a good way to motivate employees. Encourage employees to support each other in the learning process, for example through buddy systems or peer review groups. You can also organise competitions or quarterly themes, where employees work together in teams on different skills.

Social learning is a well-known concept at SkillsTown. Through our expertise and online learning platform, we help organisations create an effective learning culture, where you can learn from and with each other. 

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