an employee receiving several different notifications on device

 Informal learning is on the rise in workplaces, and social learning constitutes a large part of that.  

Social learning is one of a few popular training and development theories that seeks to give employees easy access to the information they are looking for in the moment. Social learning platforms are being used by forward-thinking organizations to create a collaborative learning environment that drives organizational performance and effectiveness of L&D activities. 

What is Social Learning? 

As an L&D professional, you have more than likely heard of social learning theory. Social learning theory in the workplace is a methodology popularized by Albert Bandura, who proses that learning is a cognitive process that takes place socially and occurs through observation or direction instructions. 

Today, people learn by watching, listening, and doing; by blending hands on, visual, and auditory learning approaches. This is social learning.   

With the popularity of social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, it’s common for people to connect the concept of social learning with social media, but social learning is much broader than a few online platforms – after all, it’s a concept that’s been around since the 1960s. 

The social aspect refers to how the learning happens outside the typical classroom setting and often involves sharing and collaborating. In the workplace, there are lots of ways to facilitate this that don’t include the distractions that so often come with social media use. 

Benefits of Social Learning at Work 

There are many benefits of social learning. Social learning can impact many areas of your organization, such as recruiting, onboarding, training, upskilling, and more. Here are just a few of the benefits of social learning:  

  • Social learning cultivates a culture of continuous learning. 
  • Results of social learning may be visible faster than traditional learning methods. 
  • Social learning tools contribute to an organically created learning algorithm that is customized to your organization’s culture.  
  • Social learning encourages communication across teams and strengthens workplace communication.  

Social learning in the workplace contributes to a culture of learning through encouraging collaboration and connecting gamification elements of social learning to real-life scenarios. Tools such as a social learning LMS allow administrators and learners alike to see the results of social learning faster than traditional learning methods through features like ratings and comments. These same features are a simple but effective way to recommend helpful content, and if others see content has been rated highly by their colleagues, they are more likely to view it as well. This aspect of social learning helps to create an organic algorithm that recommends content to learners that has been pre-approved by prior learners.  

Thanks to these benefits, social learning theory in the workplace is highly cost effective. By investing in an online training platform with features that encourage social learning, you’re optimizing your ROI because these features allow more learning to happen organically outside of training sessions. The learning and development becomes exponential, significantly building up that learning culture you’ve been after. 

View our free, on-demand webinar to learn more about designing blended learning experiences.

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Practical Ways L&D Can Adopt Social Learning 

Keep in mind that social learning in the workplace doesn’t have to happen in person or within groups of people – with the technology available today, some of the most effective forms of social learning at work come through online observation and passive interactions. 

Here are a few ways you can introduce social learning into your workplace. 

Utilize Chat Platforms to Connect 

Chat platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Chat encourage and support employees to effectively collaborate and accomplish goals. Establish threads within these platforms related to work as well as unrelated to work. Team members can help each other with accomplishing business, but can also hop into the non-work chat to share pictures or talk about what’s going on in their lives – because getting to know each other on a more personal level is important for better collaboration! 

Social Features Within Learning Platforms 

BizLibrary’s online employee learning solutions are built with the preferences of learners in mind. In addition to the thousands of training videos we have to offer, our platforms are loaded with social features. 

  • Ratings: Employees can rate courses within the learning platform and see how other learners have rated each course. 
  • Comments: Learners can comment about their thoughts on individual lessons and courses and see what others have said. 
  • Sorting Content: Learners can search for topics in the content library and sort by rating or popularity to see lessons and courses that others recommend. 
  • Sharing Videos: The share video feature easily allows employees to share video lessons through links, email, or Microsoft Teams. 
  • Sharing Playlists: Managers can create playlists of training content for their team members, and individuals can create and share playlists with colleagues. 

Poll Questions 

Polls are incorporated into many interactive video lessons. In these polls, employees can engage with the topic and compare their responses to their colleagues. 


You can’t force employees to learn, but you can certainly incentivize and encourage them to do so. Studies have shown that employees who were able to participate in learning games were more motivated to engage with and complete training than learners without gamification. 

BizLibrary’s gamification features are designed to increase utilization and engagement with training content through social learning principles such as achievement rewards, friendly competition with leaderboards, progress tracking toward goals, and entertaining framing. 

Company Forums or Intranet 

Having a forum or company intranet where employees can ask questions and get answers company-wide promotes a social culture and collaborative learning. This application can provide employees an opportunity to communicate interdepartmentally with various groups or even the entire company. This is also a great place to provide recognition – employees can give each other shout outs for birthdays, work anniversaries, hitting goals, getting promotions, or displaying your company’s core values. 

Social Learning LMS

To create a highly collaborative work environment, you need training technology that brings out the best in social learning. BizLibrary’s online learning solutions are built with peer-to-peer interaction at the forefront of the learning experience. With everything from playlist sharing, to gamification, to our Microsoft Teams integration, our solutions make it easy for your employees to work and learn together.   

Do you need employee learning solutions that encourage social learning? See why organizations like yours love using BizLibrary to help build a learning culture. 

Social Learning at Work

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