Social learning and LMS: Will one\’s rise spell demise for the other?

Learning Management Systems and Social Learning

A learning management system (LMS) is software that delivers, tracks and manages training and education. There are literally hundreds of LMS vendors on the market and all offer differing features and usability. Some have the ability to create content for training while others offer the ability to deliver and manage the training content. For systems with authoring capabilities, a synonymous term would be “learning content management system.” At its core, a learning management system manages e-learning, however that may be.

Proposed by Albert Bandura in 1977, social learning is a theory that states that people learn from other people: for example, learning through imitation, modeling and observation. Within the context of e-learning, examples of social learning may include interacting with a colleague in a forum or discussion group, commenting on a blog post or PowerPoint presentation and watching a how-to video on YouTube.

Formal learning vs. Informal learning

There’s a strong relationship between social and informal learning. You don’t have to be enrolled in a class to learn by observing a peer. On the other end of the spectrum lies formal learning - planned learning from activities within a structured setting such as orientation, coursework, class, and lectures.

Plato, the first LMS, was introduced in the 1960‘s and businesses and educational institutes since then have used them to manage formal learning. While LMS’s have come a long way since the prototype, a complaint against LMS’s are that “they’re nothing more than course vending machines,” packaging and pushing learning content for the users consumption.

The main thrust of these opinions is that learning management systems don’t capitalize on the growing popularity of informal and social learning. With the influx of technology, people can create their own personal learning systems by mashing together blogs, utilizing social networks, e-books and other resources. The growing trend raises doubt on the necessity and thus future survival of old school or traditional learning management systems that only allow for live instructor-led training in a single way, one-to-many “push” model without enabling students and trainees to learning when they want, where they want, and in the method or modality that they prefer.

Learning management systems should power social learning

Current vendors are developing learning managements systems that address market demands, with a specific focus on adding social learning features. For example, Knoodle is a system with the ability to create, distribute, and track content consumption in addition to providing quick and easy cloud-based social learning capabilities such as:

Embeddable widgets for any website, intranet site, or blog

Tailored reference systems with downloadable attachments and links to other websites users can pull from

Unlimited group creation to foster interactivity amongst your members or learners

Built-in email tool to facilitate contact between learners

Two-way communication environment with online chat

Interactive note-taking with customizable settings that allow learners to add their notes or comments for personal viewing or allow an aggregate view of all the notes for a particular presentation.

Viewer ratings and feedback give quantitative and qualitative data that can be used to measure presentation efficacy

With Knoodle, organizations can deliver presentations and online training in the way their social workplace operates today: socially, organically, and ubiquitously. Knoodle places communications and training in the hands of every employee, allowing for dynamic and on-demand knowledge sharing with team members, partners and customers.

Resalin Rago. Learning Management System - Knoodle's powerful and inexpensive learning management system allow trainers to create online training environments in minutes.