Social Learning Creates Positive Learning Outcomes

The value of social learning:

  • In our formative years, it is the predominant way we learn, and this continues through the years of our formal education and then at the workplace.
  • The success of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn reaffirms that collaboration and social interactions go a long way in creating a great way to learn, and this approach always creates positive outcomes.

Social learning can happen through many channels, mainly through:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Observation
  3. Interaction with others
  • Social learning approaches have a 75:1 ROI ratio over web-based training (Association for Talent Development).
  • 82% of businesses that use social technology want to use them in the future (Accenture).
  • The course completion rates shot up to 85% on HBX, a Harvard Business School new online education initiative with the introduction of social learning, way better than online-only MOOCs (Harvard Business Review).
  • Cisco’s use of social learning to support its transition to a global services organization saw a 98% employee adoption rate in the first year with 80% of learning content socially generated (ChiefLearningOfficer).
  • According to a Stanford research, 45% of their physicians benefited from social learning in a medical photo-sharing app for doctors as a patient care related study aid (Stanford Medicine).
  • 73% of the surveyed companies expected to increase their focus on social learning and more than 60% wanted their employees to interact with learning resources on a daily basis (Brandon Hall Group).
  • AMD, a semiconductor manufacturing company, says their shift to social learning strategy saves more than USD 250,000 per year in web-based training production costs (Kenexa).
  • Villeroy & Boch, a large manufacturer of ceramics, deployed a social learning framework for their training courses resulting in a 32% increase on Average Transaction Value with +19% sales in Japan (Curatr).



I worked with an L&D team that was moving everything online when the pandemic hit and a key area was how they would utilize webinar sessions. I pushed for stronger peer-2-peer interactions, using breakout rooms to bring people together to solve context driven business problems together as teammates and the pushback was strong!

It’s hard to give up the control for some, the “sage on the stage” is still a driver yet the energy and engagement factors rise when people are asked to participate openly, and authentically. I’ve always found the wisdom of practitioners shared freely creates a learning space where lessons learned are from those that earned them first.


Great follow up @WJRyan!

The use of breakout rooms in webinars is a great tool in general, in my opinion, just to break up the monotony of being “talked at” or just Q and As through the webinar chat.

I feel like it’s a great tool for check-in points- where folks are more comfortable to ask their peers if they have the same questions about what’s being presented and/or if one of their peers can better explain a concept that was just presented in an easier-to-digest way.


Aligns with the ideas @ToddMoran shared around collaborative learning maximizing the social tools to support communities and connections to share, practice, ideate with others in a safe space @MelissaFiske. I know that when I design with this framework in mind, I am looking to develop leaders at all levels to build for future growth.