What is social learning?

Social-media sites are considered by most enterprises only in terms of their potential as a marketing tool. It's obvious that Twitter, Facebook and other social networking outlets are channels through which your enterprise can deliver information and engage customers with an unprecedented level of reach and creativity. What is often overlooked is the power of social media when it comes to employee training, institutional learning and knowledge sharing, according to the book The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media (ASTD Press and Berrett-Koehler/Available now). In the book, authors Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner provide real-world case studies and supportive research to demonstrate how social networking is helping employees learn, innovate, share knowledge and engage peers, business partners, and customers. The authors call it a "knowledge-building ecosystem with people at its core." In such an ecosystem, information-transfer becomes a form of valuable currency. "We need new ways to filter content, save information and learn from each other and our trusted sources," the authors write. The book is co-published by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), for which Bingham serves as president/CEO.


Social learning is as old as the existence of organizations. It happens at training conferences, business lunches, company softball events/team-building exercises, etc.

This article was originally published on 10-05-2010
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