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Jayne Miller By Jayne Miller • June 20, 2016

Three Reasons Why We Love Social Learning (And So Should You)

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If we haven’t mentioned it lately, we will now: we view ourselves as a social learning platform.

We don’t love the label “learning management system” because we don’t think learning should be managed. We just like the idea of giving classrooms collaborative tools that work and watching the magic.

But it occurred to us that we’re not a social learning platform because the default label that would normally be given to our product is something we don’t like or believe in. We’re a social learning platform because we love social learning.

Here are a few reasons you should love it, too.

Social Learning = How the Real World Works

Let’s stop being polite and start getting real.

The technology historically built for schools doesn’t look like the technology used elsewhere in the world. (It’s like, “Congratulations on graduating, Billy. Take your knowledge of this convoluted learning management system into the real world and thrive in a team setting at your new job!”)

The tools that are used in the real world - for banking, healthcare, communication, project management, and so on - prioritize connection and collaboration. They allow colleagues to share information in real-time. The process is fluid and teammates learn from one another.

Let’s do this in schools, shall we?

Social learning is about power in numbers. It’s about making connections and using the expertise of peers to strengthen your own grasp on material. It’s utterly engaging and we prefer that a thousand times over whatever traditional LMSes claim to do.

Engages Students

On that note, here’s something everyone can get behind: the beauty of student collaboration.

The social learning model embraces student discussion and collaboration. (It dovetails nicely with project-based approaches, as well. So a big shout-out to the PBL-loving teachers.) What’s not to love about that? This is engagement 101, which prioritizes student experiences over memorizing facts and figures.

This is the method that is successfully attracting and supporting the 21st century student. And we should all get on board.

This is the Future of Education

Education, overall, is trending in a direction that supports two-way, not one-way, exchanges of information.

This means fewer classrooms are operating with a teacher standing in front of a class, delivering information and asking students to recite that information back. We’re seeing less of this because we know that critical thinking is built on more than memorization. These lifelong skills require inquiry, participation, agency, and teamwork.

That's why more classrooms are prioritizing connectivity and discussion. We're seeing more choice for students and other innovative ways to garner participation and curiosity. Information is moving back and forth (two-way!!) between the educator and the students.

Social and collaborative functions should be at the heart of learning platforms. You should be able to comment on everything housed in a platform. Discussions should be easy to create, but also powerful in functionality for sharing media and links.

And learning should always be a team sport.

 

Keep your school on the same page.