If you’ve ever found yourself saying something differently, with a new habit you didn’t intend to have, or said to someone that another person is “rubbing off” on you, you’ll understand the term social learning.
It’s certainly not a new idea, and comes in many forms. It’s the premier chef whose mother or grandmother first taught them to cook, or the auto mechanic who learned about motors from their father, sibling or cousin. Anyone who has ever learned a skill, a habit, or anything else from another person by spending time and watching another person and emulating them has experienced the basics of social learning.
It’s a combination of cognitive learning and behavioral learning, when people learn from others by observing, modeling and imitating. Social learning, even in the context of formal learning curriculum, is a more informal side of furthering skills and education, and has been in practice for hundreds of years.
Popularized by psychologist Albert Bandura, the concept of social learning includes four criteria for learning:
Children learn from their parents, siblings, and others around them, including basics like language skills. Adults learn from others later in the same fashion. Hands-on skills like welding and plumbing are taught both academically and by social learning.
A study on social learning by the University of Michigan found that:
Clearly, social learning can have an impact on anyone who is studying something new.
Different people learn in different ways. Some learn by reading, some by listening, and some by rolling up their sleeves and doing. But when the “classroom environment” is available at the click of a button, getting together with others in different time zones becomes a challenge.
Before online learning, instructors and professors held “office hours” to meet with students individually. Students were able to go to a study hall to collaborate with others to better understand a difficult subject. Online learning and collaboration has opened up a range of possibilities with Skype and Zoom conferences, as well as platforms like Slack, Basecamp, and others. These tools enable students to collaborate with whomever they want despite the geographic distances.
Social learning isn’t the same as social media, but social media can play a part in overall learning. Facebook is abound with private groups dedicated to a wide range of specific topics (such as SAP for beginners, for example). These groups are either self-started by individuals interested in learning more, or by a company-led learning program to discuss a specific subject. Some may be a general group for everyone, while others may be for specific courses, such as Basic SAP or SAP Fiori. Some e-learning platforms may have other places to collaborate, such as Groupsite.
Learning today is more than just a lecture, it’s a collaborative experience. However, it doesn’t take the place of good study habits. So how do you make the most of social learning?
However, you get started with social learning, sharing and posting helps everyone benefit from disseminating the information, as well as fostering discussion. Rewarding participants will help continue participation and facilitate learning.
Starting on a new learning path, such a learning SAP, can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Social learning can help ease the transition, and fast-track your learning while working with others who are interested in the same thing.
We’ve helped more than 300,000 people find their new career in SAP. Could a new career in SAP be right for you? You’ll never know until you ask. Contact us today to find out how you can learn SAP and be on your way to a new career in IT.