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Social Learning Is The Next Big Thing

 

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2013 - 13:37

With the high volume of new technologies coming out every day, it's no wonder why traditional methods of learning are taking a backseat. Instructional learning is a long-standing means of teaching, but it is now being teamed with "social learning" practices. Social learning is the idea that people learn better within a social context, or respond well to more interactive learning practices. This also includes the idea that people learn better through influential models that are facilitated through observational and integrative learning platforms, such as serious games, video conferences, web conferences, and distance learning opportunities. With the high level of importance that is placed on the internet today, and the fact that a majority of individuals either own or have access to computers, smartphones, and tablets, the move toward social learning is inevitable.

The internet is the key tool to moving and providing information to people from all different backgrounds. Not only does it carry and convey information 24/7, but it provides a means for people to access this information whenever they need. When it comes to all different types of learning, from academic settings to the work place, the internet has changed the way information is presented. This social shift toward a more technology-based society has also contributed to a change in the way we learn and retain information. Social learning practices that are technology-based used in conjunction with traditional teaching methods provide an engaging way of delivering information and educating a targeted audience. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this shift, including the rise of social software applications and how they are used for learning.

Social Software Platforms and Learning

With the growing popularity of the internet and the rise in the number of internet users, it was only a matter of time before multiple social software applications and mediums would take over. Social software applications are the communication tools that enable people to interact with and convey information to one another. The examples of such tools are endless, but take a look at a handful of the most popular types:

  • Google chat
  • Instant messaging
  • Text messaging
  • Blogs
  • Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc)
  • Search engines
  • Wikis
  • Social libraries
  • Message boards
  • Collaborative software (Webex, Join.me, GotoMeeting)
  • Email
  • Virtual Worlds

 

These are just a few of the ways people are now able to connect, share information, and communicate via the internet. While the initial purpose of these types of social software may have been created for one reason or another, they are now used for many different daily activities, both personal and business. It is important to note that while these forms of communicating through the internet may have different intended purposes, they are all enabling people to share information and interact whenever convenient.

Additionally, software applications, platforms, and the internet itself are now playing a huge role in education and gaining knowledge overall. From being able to "google" the answer to a question the moment it comes up to helping teachers provide instruction in a more innovative and engaging way, the internet and the advancement of technology are becoming instrumental in how we learn. Online classes or distance education is becoming more and more popular, as it allows students from all over the world to partake in a class they otherwise might be unable to attend. The traditional classroom setting is certainly not going anywhere, but the use and availability of new technologies are changing the look of learning for the better.