Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Question - Presenting the Value of Social Media for Learning

Learning Circuit's Big QuestionLearning Circuit's Big Question this month is "How do I communicate the value of social media as a learning tool to my organization?" In response, I have put together a list of strategies I feel are important and if done right can be effective.

Management buy-in

  • Demo its use to decision makers.

  • Show them case studies (from your industry, if possible, and emphasize return on investment (ROI)).

  • Emphasize ROI again. Can it increase sales, reduce losses, limit errors, etc.?

  • Teach them how to use it and continually encourage them to use it.

Staff buy-in and prototyping

  • Get a willing group of staff to use and evaluate the prototype.

  • Make sure content/communications are relevant to its users.

  • Stay very involved in its implementation, facilitating discussion.

  • Get its users to help you market the course...creating a "buzz" about the initiative.

  • Document any success stories that come from the prototype and share with the entire organization.

Get IT buy-in early

  • We all now IT can sink your initiative quickly, so get yourself buy-in from a decision maker in the IT department.

  • Do as much leg work as you can before you bring it to IT. Not only will they appreciate any prerequisite work you have already done, but you will be that much closer to implementing the initiative.

  • Find numerous people in IT who are already using social media and ask them to use the prototype. They mayhelp you push the initiative through the possible IT bureaucracy and can provide additional evaluation and advice from a tech perspective.

  • Read more about Working With IT.

Communicating the value of social media and informal learning is far from an easy task and overcoming the challenges of getting management and staff on board differs with every organization...some are more open to it than others. Either way, communicating its value does not have any end point. Like any learning initiative, it needs constant encouragement.


  1. I replied to a blog post on GoodPractice about this question, so I will link rather than try to repeat the comments:

    It is good to see the discussion about social media and informal learning, but something appears to be missing. What are the stories, or case studies, demonstrating how informal learning has been addressed with social media in the workplace? Where are its successes and failures? And, what are the research questions that need to be addressed?

  2. Great response. Going to have to spend some time going through this.

  3. Thanks for the stories, Jeff. I will spend some time identifying others as well.

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