Social Learning

Discover the benefits of implementing a new way of learning!

What is Social Learning?

Many individuals may not realize social learning occurs on a daily basis. From the moment of birth, we are constantly learning from our surroundings. We learn by observation, communication, and participation.


Social learning is present in all cultures, genders, races, and age groups. It can be found on the playground, a classroom, a family reunion, or a board room meeting.


In the workplace, social learning is prevalent throughout the organization. Whether employees are sharing best practices with one another or reaching out to other companies across the world, these are just a few examples of social learning.

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Social learning vs. Formal learning

Keep in mind there is a difference between social and formal learning. Though both are effective ways of learning, these methods differ quite drastically.


Formal learning focuses on information that is required to be taught in a specific format. The learning material shared with the individual is detailed to a certain task or procedure. For example, a new employee would be required to attend a formal training on how to use the new company operating system.


Social learning emphasizes the importance of knowledge sharing in a casual, conversation style and thinking outside of the box. In this environment, employees feel more at ease to knowledge share and open to learning new things.

Technology that promotes Social Learning

Benefits of Social Learning

The benefits of social learning can be numerous and rewarding given the right circumstances. Individuals who thrive in a social learning environment are those who have a curiosity, passion, or thirst for knowledge. Social learning promotes out of the box thinking and encourages collaboration among individuals.


Organizations may discover that embracing social learning in the workplace can increase productivity, creativity, and overall employee performance. Many times companies stifle employee development by not embracing employee feedback and collaboration.


Allowing staff to engage in social learning, new products and services can be developed which makes the company more competitive. Employees who use shortcuts learned by sharing best practices may increase productivity resulting in stronger sales or faster resolution times. These are just a few examples of the benefits of promoting social learning in the workplace.

Introducing Social Learning to the Workplace

To ensure optimal success, senior leadership must be willing to support a change of thinking in the workplace. Management will need to encourage employees to collaborate on projects to create new and innovative ideas. Staff should be recognized for their contributions and continually supported in the workplace.