3 steps to harnessing social media for training. Lights, camera, action!©

In this month’s Rock.Paper.Scissors’ newsletter I look at how we can harness social media for training purposes.  Stay tuned for the next two blog posts where I’ll share some resources related to social media, both serious & tongue in cheek.

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When was the last time you had the luxury of loads of training development time?  With time at an increasing premium & clients wanting more training content delivered in less time, as trainers we’re in danger of doing the same ol’ same ol’.
Like the poor kid in this hilarious video prank, who repeatedly does the very thing that’s not working, if you’re in danger of doing more of the same even though it’s not working for you, take a breath, a really deep one, & let’s dive into 3 steps for harnessing social media for the purposes of training.

First you need some light – aka an awareness of the power of & reasons for using social media in training.  Second you need the equivalent of a camera – aka social media tools.  Thirdly you need action – aka a plan for how to use social media in your training. Put all 3 together & they’ll bring you some ease & your participants better retention & transfer of learning. Ready?  Lights, camera, action!

1.    Lights

Let’s shed some light on why you should be using social media in your training preparation, delivery & follow-up. In the words of Jeff Bulla, getting a handle on social media is essential because social media lasts, it spreads & it lets you be found.  For a trainer, social media allows learning to do the same (last, spread & be found).

Social media also fits with great pedagogies or philosophies of teaching, specifically a combination of brain-based, experiential, adult & popular education.  Allison King speaks about social media as a way of helping us move from a sage from the stage to a guide from the side.

Not using social media will soon be like insisting on using dad’s old 8track or worse, using a horse & buggy to get around.  Check out the astonishing social media participation numbers in the chart above from Media Bistro.

Social media allows learners to choose how to participate.  Li & Berhnhoff do a great job categorizing types of usage in the chart below.  Encouraging flexibility & choice in learning is like the best hot ice cream fudge sundae in terms of increasing both motivation for learning & likelihood for retention & transfer of learning.

2.    Camera (the tools)

The amount of information available to us (both on & offline) is growing more than 65% each year.  In an IDC survey sponsored by Xerox, respondents said they spent up to 26% of their time dealing with the consequences of info overload.  Before you throw up your hands in despair, make sure you take advantage of tools that can help ease your load instead of adding to it.

There are a plethora of tools that easily work with training & development.  If you’re not already familiar with the big 6 (blogs, facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, flickr) pick 1 & give yourself 30 minutes to play around & explore.

Social Media is all about finding information & getting found.  Not sure how to organize your learning material?  Use tools like Delicious to organize & tag the resources you like online.  Try a tool like netvibes to help you research your next workshop – it efficiently pulls in a ton of links on any topic of your choice & organizes them beautifully.  (Can we all say ‘ahhhh – the ease!’)

Not sure if you &/or your content is getting found?  Use google key words to see what specific terms people are looking for online.  If you’re a communication subject matter expert, you need to know what kinds of words people are actually using in search engines. I like Google’s adwords site, which costs about $10 (1 time fee).  Not sure how your website stacks up in terms of findabilty?  Or how your website is for SEO (search engine optimization)?  Search grader & marketing grader, are 2 tools that will give you an instant report for free.  All you have to do is enter your URL.  It’s so easy it seems like magic.

Take advantage of tools that are designed to help you manage your online accounts, like Hootsuite.  I rarely actually go to the Twitter site because all of my Twitter information, along with Facebook is all in my Hootsuite account.  Easy peasy.

3.    Action (getting started)

Now that you’ve shed some light (have an increased awareness of the power of social media for use in training), have thought about the equivalent of your camera (specific social media tools), it’s time for action.

Give some thought to where the people you want to reach are hanging out.  Do they love Twitter but despise Facebook?  Have a hankering for LinkedIn but avoid Youtube?  Get yee to the corresponding social media tool & get active.  Find out who the influences are in your subject matter area & engage with them.  Make a plan for how you can specifically incorporate social media into your training.  Check out my google doc for a matrix for how to incorporate specific social media tools to help you prepare for training, conduct a training & follow-up a training.

And if you didn’t already realize it, if you clicked on the Google doc above you’ve already started using Social Media in training.  Kudos & congratulations.



Special note: I’m coming back to Vancouver from Kenya for a limited time to teach some courses, including a Social Media course.  If you’re in the ‘hood, please join me! 


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