Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Using Social Media to Learn

Source | www.abhijitbhaduri.com | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist  

It was Singapore based HR consultant Tanvi Gautam’s idea to get a virtual community together and discuss how to use social media (SM) to upgrade the skills of employees. The idea was to experiment and see what we could learn from each other. We could ask questions and get answers all in 140 characters. I am putting out excerpts from the chat.

The conversation that lasted an hour had 373 tweets in all and reached an audience of 55,908 followers. You will notice that the same question got several practitioners to respond. That I believe is the biggest advantage of using social media to supplement other methods of learning that organizations could use. Multiple responses to a question can bring up nuances that no single individual can provide.

The experiment was an amazing experience for me. After the first five minutes, I got over my initial nervousness and just immersed myself in the debate. I could visualize several people chatting excitedly in a room. Technology makes it possible to see the steady flow of perspectives building up. I have tried to give you a flavor of it. Just a note: I have consolidated multiple responses by one person and expanded a few acronyms.

The moderator announced:


Format: 30 min, we chat around 5-6 pre-selected questions. Last 15 min open floor to ask any questions on SM & learning


Q1: What do you think is the biggest advantage of using SM for learning in organizations?


Iterative learning. Simple social scaffolding. Organic learning processes even within organizations. One learns as one would socially, in supported not competitive ways. Layers not levels.


It takes learning beyond training & development. If the world is continuously changing, you got to learn continuously. SM is a tool. SM takes the onus beyond the org & experts. Crowdsource your learning. Learning is about multiple perspectives. Organization’s assumptions about learning should be questioned. Why assume that we all learn best during working hours. It should be www: whenever wherever whoever


I also think it enables learning beyond boundaries -physical, hierarchical and functional


Collation of opinion, views, thoughts, expert knowledge transfer and sharing of ideas in creativity & innovation


SM’s advantages in learning are manifold. It democratizes learning. Its seamless, participative environment which gives a voice SM keeps the conversation alive long after a ‘learning event’ has occurred! SM is as close as learning can get to the job and really move the needle from training / learning to development!


Kind of messy learning, like in real life. So closer to real life ? There can be false starts though, no?


Today when you have to search for information, most of the times it is external social forums that help you get the answer. The same can be replicated

This was just the first of many questions. There were other questions raised and yes, the inevitable question that many leaders ask, “What is the return on investment?” In social media, the users first need to build their credibility and only then “ask” their network to buy or vote in their favor. This is a new skill to learn for corporations. They are so used to the world of “Press Releases” that they look at joining a social media platform as the equivalent of being at a crowded railway station during peak hour and handing out their leaflets to the daily commuters. How many of those leaflets have you read? Social media is necessarily a two way process. It is a dialogue and in many ways unregulated. Many say that social media is for teenagers, not for serious business. By the way, Ford Mustang has a page on Facebook. Their page has 4,806,918 likes and had 175,111 talking about it. How much will you have to pay in advertising dollars to get that kind of buzz?

Do you think it is worth using social media in the workplace? I certainly think so. No business school can ever change their curriculum to keep pace with the speed at which the world outside is changing. Social Media is a great way to supplement the curriculum and the role of the Professor. It needs a change of mindset in the learner. We have grown up believing that learning is what happens in the classroom and from an expert/ Professor. Now we have a new paradigm. Learning happens everywhere, all the time and with professors as well as with strangers and friends.

Our very own Social Media guru Gautam Ghosh joined the chat a bit late. But he went ahead and posted it as a story using Storify (another cool social media tool).

Republished with permission and originally published at abhijitbhaduri.com

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