comment BlogAugust 10, 2015
In 12 years implementing Learning Management Systems (most recently SuccessFactors Learning), I have repeatedly heard customers describe the same basic challenge: getting knowledge out of experts’ heads and into general circulation. I am delighted to help those customers connect the dots: in the case of SuccessFactors Learning, most of them already have access to Jam. Deploying Jam is a relatively quick and easy process, as is integrating it with LMS. Thus the tools to solve this problem are frequently already in their hands, and the vehicle is Social Learning.
With Jam as the Social Media platform and SuccessFactors Learning as the engine of training assignment, delivery, and tracking, organizations can easily make that critical connection between SMEs and those who need their knowledge most. It is a misconception that deploying a Social Learning initiative need be complex or expensive. This blog post discusses the benefits of integrating Jam and SF Learning to create a Social Learning platform, suggests some ideal Social Learning initiatives, describes common use cases, and finally offers specific tips for implementing a Social Learning program.
Benefits of the Jam/SF Learning Integration
Of all the myriad integrations within the SuccessFactors HCM suite, none contains the natural synergy of the Jam/SF Learning integration (though being an LMS guy, I may be bias).
While this is a simple integration to implement and administer, it has far-reaching benefits. It is:
Controllable. The hub of the Jam experience is the Group. Groups can be designated as Private on creation, limiting access to only those invited – in this context, typically Instructors, mentors, and learners.
One of the top reasons organizations do not implement a Social Media platform is fear over lack of security and loss of control. Simple settings within Jam and SF Learning can obviate those concerns.
Flexible. Group invitation can occur based on any or all of the following triggers:
- When course or Program is assigned to the learner. Courses can be online, Instructor-led, or a combination of both. For example, a Group for the Q3 2015 New Hire Orientation Program.
- When learners enroll in a specific classroom instance of a course – e.g. a dedicated Group for the October 15th “Mastering Microsoft Project” course at Company HQ.
- When learners complete the course or Program: this allows collaboration and sharing to continue “beyond the transcript”, delivering ongoing ROI.
Dynamic. Associating a Jam Group with a classroom event, online course, or Program makes training “3-dimensional” – the learner can step outside of the slides within an online course, or the limited seat time in a classroom event, and continue to learn beyond that framework.
Candidates for Social Learning Initiatives
Inherently, learning is a social activity. From a formative age, we “collaborate” with our parents to develop our skills and worldview.
There are parallels in the business world – mentors and leaders possess knowledge that we do not, and sharing it is critical to our development in job and career. The following are a few examples of “real life” organizational initiatives that I have seen benefit from Social Learning:
New hire onboarding. In conjunction with an LMS Program comprised of Online Training, Instructor-led Training, Tasks, and Required Reading, a Jam Group can offer new hires ability to ask questions, interact with HR resources, and virtually explore their new organization.
New product rollout. Offers ability to interact with product experts and download spec sheets/manuals while training on a new product.
“Stepping up to Management” training. Allows high-potential candidates to explore situation awareness with senior leaders within the organization, in synergy with “hard skills” training in LMS.
Common Use Cases in Social Learning
The following list describes scenarios that commonly occur in Social Learning, specific to the Jam/SF Learning integration:
- Learners are invited to a dedicated Jam Group upon approved registration in LMS course or Program
- Instructors/mentors post required or suggested reading and tools to Group Content Library in Jam Group
- For research-based initiatives, Instructors/mentors and learners post Links for suggested Internet reading within their Jam Group
- Decision making tools such as Decisions, Polls, Pro/Con Tables, and List Ranking are used to drive for consensus within Group
- Group Discussions are used asynchronously for SMEs to answer learner questions
- Jam Chat (or Lync integration) is used synchronously for brainstorming sessions
Tips for Implementing a Social Learning Program
Launching your own initiative need not be complicated or intimidating. Here are some specific tips for getting off the ground:
Choose a pilot initiative. Start modestly, with a manageably sized pilot group. Pick an initiative that clearly needs improvement.
Recruit “Champions”. These are typically program owners, Instructors, or management – people with a “horse in the race”. Enlist them to help promote and even administer Groups. “Instructors” may not even be traditional training roles – they could be peers or mentors.
Define and measure success. How can you measure the impact? A series of surveys, deployed before, immediately after, and 30 – 90 days after the program, can provide interesting insight especially where true ROI is hard to quantify.
Not all versions of Jam contain all features listed above, but most integrate with SuccessFactors Learning, and can provide a platform for the types of collaboration I have described. You may already have the keys to unlock the power of Social Learning!
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