Social software vendor NewsGator is releasing a new solution, Social Sites Enrich, designed to help employees in a company learn from each other via social learning capabilities.
Social Sites Enrich provides knowledge bases and video learning scenarios intended to help develop a “social learning culture” where employees turn to each other in real time when they have questions or need to develop skills. Video learning scenarios are two-part, interactive Q&A videos which employees create and then post for other employees to search for and find when they need information on a specific topic.
According to NewsGator, in addition to easing the burden training typically places on HR personnel, Social Sites Enrich can also assist customer service representatives who need real-time answers to specific questions and requests and marketing managers seeking R&D feedback, among other applications.
Extending the Reach of Social Sites
Enrich is an add-on to the SharePoint-compliant Social Sites 3.0 social collaboration platform, which was only released in August. The module extends the reach of Social Sites into the relatively new social learning sphere. However, Social Sites already offers modules that perform a fair number of socially collaborative tasks. These include:
- The Lookout personal dashboard interface.
- Spotlight expertise finder.
- Idea Stream — allows reuse of campaigns.
- Mobile integration.
NewsGator is also working on an integration with Yammer (its biggest competitor) and reportedly plans to unveil single sign-on with Salesforce Chatter and more html-based mobile functionality in the future.
The Benefits of Social Learning
In May 2012, American Express Open Forum published a column explaining the benefits of social learning as compared to traditional classroom learning. “Social media tools are changing the game when it comes to employee learning,” said Open Forum. “And thanks to workplace collaboration tools, organizations can create environments in which employees can learn from each other instead of the overly formal status quo or from the proverbial ‘company expert.’”
Instead, social learning “centers on information sharing, collaboration and co-creation,” rather than receiving information in a more traditional setting. It also already takes place “at conferences, cafés or online — with or without social media tools.”
However, despite urging businesses to investigate social learning, Open Forum cautions against abandoning all tried-and-true learning techniques. “There will always be some kinds of training that must be done in a classroom setting because of the requirements of the training or skill mastery demands, like certification, compliance and deep learning,” the article quotes Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), as saying.
Enrich is available immediately as an add-on module for NewsGator Social Sites v3.0.