Tag: Social Learning

Develop a Social Learning Team Culture

Develop a Social Learning Team Culture

It is not enough to simply create social learning programs. Social learning must be integrated into the culture of the team in order for it to be effective. This requires making connections, identifying star team members, encouraging questioning, and recognizing teaching moments. By creating a culture of learning, the team will continue to improve and grow.

Making the Connection

A culture of social learning requires team members to make the connection between working together and success, which is called collaborative learning. This culture of collaborative learning requires all members of the team to work together as equals. Encouraging people to learn from each other creates this type of learning environment. Sharing and learning is facilitated by providing opportunities for communication and working together, such as:

  • Formal meetings
  • Online sources
  • Informal meeting spaces
  • Team projects

Each team is unique and will have to determine the best ways to facilitate collaborative learning.

Tagging Star Team Members

Your team members are your best chance of increasing the success of social learning. When team members share their expertise, the entire organization will benefit from their insight. The first step to accomplishing this is identifying and tagging star team members. A star team member is anyone who goes above and beyond.

Traits of Star Team Members:

  • Trustworthy
  • Exhibit company values
  • Set standards
  • Problem solvers
  • Handle criticism

Once star team members are identified, they should be tagged to take on the role of a SME (Subject Matter Expert). SMEs are able to perform specialized tasks with expertise. The tasks can include: software, accounting, technology, etc. Tagging star team members for the role of SME requires discovering their expertise and determining if these areas of expertise can benefit the organization. If the team member, for example, is an expert in social media, he or she can benefit the company by sharing that knowledge.

Recognizing Teaching Moments

Teaching moments are often more effective than the traditional teaching methods because they are more organic learning opportunities. Taking advantage of teaching moments requires recognizing them. A teaching moment can occur at any time, and it is a chance to teach through demonstrating skills or sharing information. For example, someone who understands how a computer system works can coach a person he notices having problems with a program. Teaching moments occur every day, it is important to keep an eye out for moments when you can teach others. These moments are essential to social learning success.

Culture of Questioning

Nurturing a culture of the questioning is like nurturing a plant. If the culture is nurtured, the questions asked will grow, bloom, and produce new questions. Asking “why” when it is appropriate will actually contribute to the conversation and help generate new ideas. There are a few ways to help instill a culture of questioning in your team:

  • Team members should admit when they do not know things.
  • Taking risks should be rewarded.
  • Encourage team members to ask effective questions.
  • Teach team members how to question and generate ideas.

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Building a Diverse Social Learning Team

Building a Diverse Social Learing Team

There are always pros and cons to social learning. The diversity and differences that make a team strong will also cause friction in social settings. Effective teams will address these issues as they develop and manage to keep the communication civil. Knowing how to create a diverse and respectful  social learning team will make the experience more efficient.

Diversity Builds Knowledge

When creating social groups, it is important to make sure that they are diverse. Compiling a diverse team takes time. It is necessary to choose people with diverse cultures, skills, backgrounds, and strengths. These differences will make the team stronger. Only choosing like-minded people will weaken the team and stifle creativity. Diversity builds knowledge and challenges the team to grow. When choosing a diverse team, you need to focus on the skills that will benefit the team. For example, a  team could benefit from mixing people with academic understanding of a subject and others who have real world application. It is also beneficial to blend people from different levels within the same organization.

Social Interaction

Social settings and interactions require basic social skills. This may seem like common knowledge, but you will have to remind people to behave and assess their social skills. There are basic social skills that people need to master in order to make sure that the social interactions in the group go smoothly. Basic social skills include:

  • Listen to other people.
  • Express positive thoughts or feelings in a civil manner.
  • Express negative thoughts or feelings in a civil manner.
  • Make requests.
  • Appreciate people and thank them.

If anyone lacks these basic social skills, social interactions in the team will suffer. Social skills training can improve social interactions for people who need to improve their social skills.

People Are Different

Everyone is unique. This can be both beneficial and cause problems to team dynamics. The positive aspects include:

The cons of having a diverse group include:

  • Personality clashes
  • Competition for promotions
  • Competition for work

Acknowledging that there are cultural and personality differences between people and preparing for these differences will help create a functional learning team.

Dealing with Difficult People

In any social situation, you will have no choice but to deal with difficult people. People are difficult on different levels. Some may not be invested in the learning process and others will actively push back against the team dynamic.

People who passively resist social learning may refuse to participate in discussions or leave tasks incomplete. The best way to handle passive people is to address the reason behind their behavior. It is important not to push people too hard to participate. You should offer assistance as needed.

Some people aggressively resist social learning. They push back by causing trouble and trying to take over the team. Problems include verbal attacks and disruptive behavior. It is important not to take the attacks personally and to make sure that the person acting out is told that the behavior is not appropriate. If the individual become too aggressive, he or she may need to be removed from the team dynamic.

 

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