Social media can be used as an effective gathering place for your corporate learners. In particular, companies are leveraging Facebook for corporate training. You may be trying to drive learners to your specifically created community environment—but that may or may not work. Here's a better idea: find your learners where they live. Where do they already have a community? Leverage that.
So where do you find them? Here's a little hint: they are probably on Facebook. The originator of 'likes' and updates, Facebook remains king, with a reported 1.28 billion users and 802 million daily active users on average in March 2014. These numbers put them above all other social networks. Important to note as well, Facebook users are not just the millennial crowd: your midlife learners are increasingly dominating this network.
As an important side note, Facebook users are increasingly accessing the site via a mobile devices. Facebook reports 609 million mobile daily active users on average and 1.01 billion mobile monthly active users as of March 31, 2014.
But I digress. Let's look at why Facebook is an outstanding place for learning.
Your corporate learners will feel safe and secure in an environment they know and have come to trust. Corporate training programs can be intimidating. By using Facebook as a sort of digital 'learning commons' you can take away a bit of the 'fear factor'.
Facebook is also ideal because it is a technology your students understand. When designing online learning programs, you need to gage the technology acumen of your learners to make sure the medium used does not become a barrier to participation. The same criteria applies when choosing a space for a learning community. Most, if not all of your learners, will already have a Facebook account and will be adept at navigating the site.
As a corporate training professional, you know that your students will acquire and retain knowledge best in an interactive environment. Facebook is highly interactive and allows group discussions and sharing.
As a facilitator, you will want to encourage connections. If learners "friend" each other and share profiles they can get to know one and other even when there are significant geographic barriers. It helps break the ice and find new ways they might work together.
Keep it structured, not a free for all. It is important to create real reasons to go there—things that will enhance the experience for learners.
Facebook is flexible and allows you and your students to incorporate many other media. Users can upload YouTube presentations they've made, share infographics and draw from a myriad of external resources. It is also a great portal for sharing other materials they are working on; for example, they may want to link to blog post they have written.
The Facebook environment will enable collaborative discovery and understanding, culminating in knowledge acquisition.
If you'd like to explore ways to create a learning community let's talk.