Social learning is NOT (only) social media

social-interactionSocial learning is the main focus for this blog and as far as I launched it I have written few articles on social media training (#SMWTorino, where communication met training, Is it too late for digital literacy? Eggers 2.0 says NO) and the use of a mind map tool for e-Learning (Knowledge visualization, using mindmaps for training) BUT I would like to clarify that social learning is not new and secondly, it does not require social media.

Social learning is learning as and from the group.

Although it’s true that technology made learning more powerful and fun, at the same time it’s easy to confuse social learning with the use of social media tools. As William Horton states in “E-Learning by Design” (2012), ‘An electronic medium promotes social learning when a group uses it to communicate, collaborate and coordinate… Twitter is not social if no one comments on the feed or retweet it.’

Social learning is NOT ONLY about using social media tools in the classroom. How many articles have you seen published this year on how to use Facebook or Twitter in class? We should focus more on the goal of building a community for learning and professional support rather than making friends and increase the number of followers.

Also social media can be very powerful for spreading announcements, distributing course materials, providing resources… but these uses do not correspond to “social learning” because they do not represent meaningful interactions.

Social learning involves active interactions with other people. Listening to a presentation or reading a book is not social. The interaction can occur through content created by others because the main characteristic of social learning is that it’s learner-driven more than expert-driven.

If you are interested in “Designing Social Learning“, I wrote an how- to- guide on Click4it Wiki.

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