From the beginning of time, humans shared information in social settings. We passed down knowledge from generation to generation through social communication channels. In the modern world, you can learn things by reading an article, watching a video, or listening to a podcast; you don’t necessarily have to physically interact with another human being.

At the 2017 ASAE Great Ideas Conference earlier this month, Stephanie Hubka of Protos Learning started off her presentation by explaining how all learning is still innately social. Think about it. What do you do after you leave an event or finish a class? You go home and talk about what you learned and how awesome it was (or maybe what you didn’t learn and how bad the course was). Either way, you tell your coworkers, family, and friends about all the cool new stuff you now know (or what a waste of time it was). Maybe you even posted about it on social media.

Social learning is more than just knowledge sharing on your favorite social media platform. Social learning is a concept encompassing all learning that happens outside of the formal classroom, yet continues to engage members in communication about subject matter in meaningful ways. Blogs, online communities, networking events, Facebook, LinkedIn, videos, and podcasts are all great examples. Snapchat, maybe not so much.

Think about how you can incorporate elements of social learning into your association’s events and webinars. Inquisitive people are generally lifelong learners and want to talk about great ideas, both in and out of the classroom. Plant seeds for your members, find those champions in your member base to get conversations started, and encourage free flow of knowledge in social situations, whether they’re in person or virtual.

If you’re using a robust learning management system (LMS), there are ample opportunities to incorporate social learning into your online classes. Encourage participants to exchange ideas and answer each other’s questions in a chat window. Use live polling to make the sessions interactive and give presenters a better idea of who is in attendance. Direct participants to post questions about real-life problems they’re facing that the presenter may be able to help them solve; chances are, if one association is asking about a topic, others are facing similar challenges.

Curious how you can start making your continuing education programs social? Request a demo of Abila Freestone™ Learning Management System to see how a live chat, custom tabsets, polling, and more can help your members participating in virtual events connect with others around the globe in real time.