We Need (Learning) Communities Now More Than Ever

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The nature of learning is social. Our earliest form of learning comes from interaction with parents, family and friends, and this theme runs through our entire school days. But it stagnated in the workplace. This is not good for everyone, because building a community around workplace learning can help your employees consolidate what they have learned, learn new things from their peers, and participate in their training and development programs.
Online learning communities are becoming more and more popular as a way to bring people together and promote learning. They allow people to discover new learning skills, recommend resources to colleagues, and share experiences that go beyond actual learning content. In fact, employees are looking for more ways to learn from their peers. More than half (55%) of employees turn to their peers first when they need to learn new skills.
The Importance of Community
In this age, it is more important to have an active learning community. Unfortunately, during the ongoing pandemic and the social distancing that followed, 41% of us felt alone and isolated. Utilizing a community of like-minded students can help alleviate some of these problems. In addition, many organizations continue to work remotely, so establishing an online community for your employees helps establish a common goal and unites your team. In the physical workspace, many formal and informal interactions occur throughout the day. Online communities can help reflect this, creating a space for people to share their learning, recommend new things, and explore subject areas outside of their roles. Other benefits of the
learning community
The strong learning community also provides more learning resource feedback and collaboration opportunities. People have more freedom to improve their skills in their areas of interest and even create new learning paths when they encounter gaps in the organization’s resources. They can also flexibly log into the community and learn when and where it’s best for them.
The learning community can provide a gentle push to keep people’s skills high. In many people’s busy (and increasingly busy) work lives, this will prove invaluable. Homework details and due dates can be easily accessed and viewed in the learning community. It can also provide liability.
Additionally, seeing the progress and professional development of colleagues will motivate others to improve their skills. Interaction within the community will also develop new communication skills, teaching and mentoring others, creating learning pathways or curating content, and even public speaking.
Introduction
The experience of people in the learning community will instill in them a sense of belonging, keeping them motivated, committed and loyal to your organization. Considering all these benefits, what is the best way to start an online learning community?
Understand the needs of your students
Take time to discuss what your students want from the community, which formats and resources are most effective, and any topics you should focus on initially. Other considerations at this stage include determining whether people can see who else is online, instant messaging options, and whether graphics, audio, and video are supported.
Choose the right platform
The preferences of your students should affect the type of platform you use to build your community. Make sure it is intuitive and user-centric; otherwise, your community’s participation will be hindered from the beginning.
Manage your learning resources
Discussions around specific resources are usually the most effective, such as an interesting book, podcast, or TED talk. Consider what content is best suited to your people’s preferences and interests, and make sure a large amount of content was uploaded to your community at the beginning to start the conversation.
Consider Gamification, Badges, and Points
One way to encourage community involvement is to provide rewards such as points and game items. This may not be for everyone, but for those who are driven by friendly competition, it can add an extra boost.
Set Rules
Even if you are creating a corporate learning community, there is still a risk that it will be used irresponsibly and undermined the community’s goals. Make sure there is a clear set of rules and procedures that everyone understands, and a form of community oversight that encourages innovation but does not allow harmful or defamatory behavior.
Collect feedback and data
To understand whether your community has produced the desired effect, make sure you have a way to collect data about the learning you are completing and the skills you are developing. In addition, ask your employees regularly to learn whether the community meets your expectations and provides a good experience. Use these insights to shape your future strategy and learning community.
Publisher: More!
In addition to the internal corporate learning community, consider supporting your teaching design and development team membership in larger external communities, such as The Learning Guild (a global learning design professional community) and Learning Leaders (the other is sponsored by The Learning Guild) Community) Read about them here:
The Learning Guild: Free to join Learning Guild, formerly known as The eLearning Guild, established in 2002, is a practical community focused on learning technology. Guild hosts online conferences, exhibitions and events, and publishes research, e-books, white papers and publications on learning solutions.
Learning Leaders Alliance: Learning Leaders Alliance is a new provider-neutral, dedicated community within The Learning Guild. The alliance caters to experienced learning leaders who want to stay ahead and aspiring leaders who want to expand their skills and move to the next stage of the organization.
“For 20 years, The Learning Guild has been a leader in how organizations use technology for learning,” said CEO David Holcombe. “We are very pleased to launch our new Alliance of Learning Leaders now, which will allow us to better

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