Social Learning


Facebook + “How to…” Thinking = the New Social Learning

According to Bandura’s old model of Social Learning, people learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.”

The new Social Learning lives at the crossroads of social media, online collaboration, communities of interest and shared quests for knowledge.

We have already experienced it when we googled “How to do ….” and found a teenager explaining it on youtube, an academic’s writing on wikipedia and a forum of people who all have the same question on their mind. But what if we used this model to formalize an organization’s approach to training?

Set up Social Learning in organizations with Jeffer’s 4x4: four key elements, and four questions for each.


Strategic Intent

  • Where are we going?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Who are our sponsors?
  • What will success look like?


The Platform

  • What technical platform will you set up or use?
  • How will we generate initial interest?
  • Who can get a visually compelling brief posted?
  • Who will moderate the online forums?


Power to the People

  • Are you fine with letting the people decide?
  • Will you endorse or compensate the champions?
  • Could you pull in external experts or interest groups?
  • How does the activity fit into job roles, performance reviews, careers?


Keeping it Real

  • How can you include face-to-face, live events?
  • Are there ways to incorporate outputs of live events into the forums?
  • What is the balance of time between people events and online events?
  • How can you encourage self-organizing, pop-up, face-to-face group events?


The old Social Learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences.

The new Social Learning relies on people’s innate curiosity, platforms for exchange, and constant answering of the question, “how will I …?”.


Stimulating Ideas & Building Futures