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ORLANDO, Fla.—The reasons to
add social media to corporate learning programs shouldn’t be because you can or
because others are doing it—or even because social media is fun—explained Dan
Steer, a freelance learning consultant, trainer and speaker based in Brussels,
Instead, the following may be considered worthy reasons to use
social media during training programs or other corporate learning
opportunities: It would improve employees’ learning, it would encourage more
sociability among participants and it would help create engagement in the
“Focus on the right reasons, and then you will have a clear idea of
your objectives and what your organization wants to achieve,” Steer said during
a high energy session at the Association for Talent Development International
Conference & Exposition on May 18, 2015.
Training and HR professionals
who want to use social media to its greatest effect should incorporate it
before, during and after employee training sessions. The steps involved are
easy, Steer said, and it is something “you can begin doing today that will add
immediate value to your organization’s formal learning programs.”
said, before a session is scheduled to start, trainers should create a
community space on a site like LinkedIn so that participants can meet and share
ideas, opinions and concerns about the upcoming training session. Trainers can
also create content that explains the purpose and learning objective of the
Steer showed the audience two videos that used different approaches;
one was fairly straightforward and introduced the session leader and what
participants should expect. The second video used humor through a series of
still shots that were interspersed with directions and suggested readings for
an upcoming session.
“I guarantee you that both these videos were very easy
to do and took much less time and effort than you would expect,” he said. “And
the value added is that participants who watched got a good idea what the
learning objectives are.”
Steer recommended using social media before a
training session to:
that both trainers and organizers must participate in this social media effort.
He said the “holy triangle” of social media is to give/ask/thank.
asking others to share in social media, then you must participate too,” he
said. “You need to express your enthusiasm and demonstrate why the training
program is important.”
Next, during a training session, rely on social media
tools such as Gingko App for collaborative note-taking. Each group can input
its ideas and notes, which are then compiled into a single document and easily
shared either during or after the session.
“It’s really cool, because you
can compile the document, share it on LinkedIn or the community space,” Steer
said. “That is a tremendously helpful tool. Plus it can create a lot of
interaction among the participants as they look over and discuss the session
He offered these tips on how to use social media for follow-up after
a training session is complete:
“This is all about sharing, so just work with it
and find the best options that suit your style and your organization’s
culture,” he said. “Just remember that the practical use of social media does
improve formal learning.”
Bill Leonard is an online editor/manager for
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