Retailers are currently moving away from traditional learning management systems (LMSs) and are considering newer “experience” platforms to complement them, which focus on personalized, social learning experiences — a.k.a. social learning platforms. Now that millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, especially in retail, they demand new modes of delivery for their learning and value it more than ever.
What is Social Learning?
According to Bersin by Deloitte, “social learning is a blended learning model that uses social media to enhance the learning experience.” Social learning platforms deliver rich, engaging and collaborative content to the learners. Social learning can:
Build teamwork skills such as communication, conflict resolutions and leadership abilities.
Improve online learner participation and engagement, since it appeals to our social needs.
Facilitate peer-based feedback, which helps employees identify areas of improvement and bridge performance gaps.
Give employees a sense of community and purpose.
Additionally, social learning platforms have the ability to create personalized experiences for the users. For example, clever technologies such as machine learning enables the platform to learn more about your preferences as you click. Think about how Netflix gives users different ratings based on programs you watch, or how eBay suggests similar products.
What ISN’T Social Learning?
For example, enterprise collaboration platforms such as Yammer, Slack, Salesforce Chatter and Facebook for Work are all for communications. It could be argued there is an overlap between the two. Within a platform like Slack, an employee could post a question, a colleague could then comment on this and provide a link to a useful resource, a perfect example of social learning. The challenge for these new enterprise collaboration platforms is that they haven’t been designed for learning.
Why is this important in retail?
The key to success in retail is twofold — standing out from the competition and keeping up with the fast-paced environment. To ensure your millennial workforce can retain important training such as product knowledge, Point of Sale (POS) and/or customer service in order to meet these expectations, it needs to be effective. This is where a social learning platform comes in.
Hold up… Is this replacing my LMS?
If you’re in retail, you’re probably familiar with compliance or OSHA training. This training is required and is often repeatable at multiple times in the year. Learning management systems (LMS) still need to exist since it’s a requirement in the compliance world. To be clear, social learning platforms aren’t meant to replace the LMS, only compliment it.
For example, here at Webanywhere we have worked on numerous projects where our clients are looking different platforms based on their audience type. We generally provide a LMS (Totara) along with our experience platform Promatum or Totara’s social learning platform, Totara Social.
The experience learning space is an interesting one and growing fast. Many large companies such as Caterpillar, Visa, Sears and GE are already using them. But these haven’t necessarily replaced their LMS, instead they are complimenting them — adding richer, more engaging learning experiences for their employees.
Considering a social learning platform of your own? We invite you to check out our case studies and contact us. Our team is excited to show you what we do can to help you gain that competitive edge with a social learning platform!
This blog was originally published on our UK site and rewritten/edited for the US site.