In June, the Corporate Research Forum published a report, sponsored by GoodPractice, on The Impact of Technology and Social Media on Learning. You can download a free copy of the report by following the link at the end of this blog.

The research was conducted by Andrew Lambert, who has a real in-depth understanding of large organisations and learning. It’s Andrew’s experience and knowledge that make this report so informative and valuable, alongside some excellent case studies from major international organisations: Dyson, Ericsson, Deloitte and IBM.

I recently conducted a short interview with Justin from GoodPractice about the report, which you can listen to here.

We talked about the various issues covered in the report:

Embrace the technology

It’s important, firstly, to recognise that social and mobile learning are not fads, but neither are they a threat to traditional forms of learning.  There are always going to be things which require that face-to-face approach but, used properly, social and mobile learning can help make an L&D department more efficient and effective in their learning delivery.

Experiment

However, getting the approach right is key and doing that requires experimentation. The 70/20/10 model is an excellent recipe for teaching us how people learn at work, and technology can give us new ways to support the 70% of learning that happens informally on the job. Making knowledge available to people, and helping them to find it, is one of the most fundamental ways of enabling informal learning. Small things like teaching your staff how to search effectively on Google, for instance, can make a significant difference to their learning ability.

Identify the problem

If you’re already thinking about introducing social and mobile learning to your organisation, don’t start with a solution in search of a problem.  Make sure you have identified the issues they will address and that you can clearly articulate the business benefits. This will make it much easier to get others on board with your experiments. If you’re looking at social media, consider starting with something like Yammer – a great example of a totally free social networking tool which can really benefit knowledge sharing throughout a business and will require little or no work from your IT department.

Be secure

Of course, there will be obstacles to overcome. One regular objection raised with respect to mobile learning on employees’ own devices is that of security. To put that in perspective, the CIA actively uses mobile learning; if they can make it work, so can the rest of us! We’ve recently been working with a bank on leadership and management skills. When we sat down with their security department to discuss mobile learning, we found that 95% of the material was ours – so the risk was ours – and the other 5%, which belonged to the bank, was generic leadership advice that had no proprietary value and therefore posed no risk.

Integrate

Once you’ve established how you can use social and mobile learning effectively, focus on the integration of your learning methods across all platforms and departments. Deloitte’s case study in the report provides an excellent example of how Knowledge Management, Communications and Learning all worked together to provide a coherent learning programme through a variety of channels.

I thoroughly recommend the report, as it has a wealth of information which will, hopefully, provide a catalyst for more organisations to recognise and utilise the potential offered to the L&D community by these new technological advances.

Download a free copy here.