Engaging Your Team With Online Social Learning Activities

From Classroom To Cloud: Engaging Your Team With Online Social Learning

Social Learning Activities In Online Environments

You likely already know that social learning boosts collaboration and knowledge sharing in the workplace. However, with the rise of remote work, you may struggle to provide social learning opportunities for employees.

There’s no need to miss out on this crucial training tactic, though. Today’s eLearning platforms let you deliver engaging and interactive training sessions—even from a distance.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can use online training platforms to promote social learning in the workplace. We’ll also share 8 social learning activities that will foster collaboration and continuous learning in your organization.

How Online Training Can Promote Social Learning

Knowledge sharing through interactions with others is a powerful way to engage learners with training content. So, how do you get that to work when your teams are spread out over different locations and you rely on online training?

Modern online training platforms have features that allow trainers and learners to interact, regardless of location. For example:

  • Breakout rooms – Get employees to collaborate and work on activities in small groups.
  • Polls and quizzes – Gauge learners’ understanding of the material and get immediate feedback.
  • Chat function – Let learners ask questions and interact with trainers and fellow learners in real time.
  • Virtual whiteboard – Facilitate brainstorming and group activities.

If you want to create true social learning, you need to replicate the collaboration of a classroom environment. To do that, pair your Learning Management System (LMS) with interactive training activities.

8 Online Social Learning Activities For Engaging Training

Social learning improves learner retention, boosts your ROI on training, and leads to happier employees. Take advantage of those benefits with these 8 activities for online social learning.

1. Online Discussion Forums

Social learning is all about sharing ideas and learning from others. Get the conversations rolling with discussion boards or forums.

Set up separate forums for each course to give learners a chance to talk about course materials, share ideas, and ask questions.

Then get people talking by posting topic-focused questions or provoking statements. Or by sharing a video and asking group members to discuss their thoughts and impressions.

Discussion groups are ideal for tackling potentially complex subjects. Learners can respond to each other’s comments, build on ideas, and gain a deeper understanding of the material.

To make your forum a safe and productive place for learning, have trainers moderate the forums to provide guidance and feedback, keep learners focused, prevent trolling, and ensure the content shared is appropriate and respectful.

2. Collaborative Projects

Give learners an opportunity to work together on a project, share ideas, and collaborate to achieve a common goal.

Have trainers assign group projects that require learners to work together to solve a problem or complete a task. These can be completed in real time in breakout groups. Or they can take place asynchronously through email, messaging, or other forums.

After the projects are completed, have trainers provide feedback and guidance as needed.

3. Peer Reviews

Have learners review each other’s work and provide constructive feedback. Peer reviews not only encourage learners to interact with one another, but they also help develop critical thinking and evaluation skills.

Instead of having only the trainer look at finished projects or assignments, assign peer reviews. Create an evaluation rubric with criteria for employees to check and evaluate each other’s work.

This will give them a common “vocabulary” for how to talk about the skills they’re learning. It’ll also make them think more deeply about the content and share insights to help boost retention.

4. Webinars

Bring learners together in real time with training webinars. These provide an opportunity to use live interactive elements like surveys, polls, online chats, breakout groups, and Q&A sessions.

The interaction increases engagement with a remote audience that can be easily distracted and prone to multitasking.

To make the most of this kind of synchronous learning, get your audience involved and participating rather than passively staring at their screen. Send out a list of topics or questions in advance so they’ll be ready to discuss the content. And rather than fill all the time with a lecture, factor in time for questions and discussions.

Keep the focus on interactivity to ensure your webinar is social rather than an instructor-led broadcast.

5. Simulations

You can stir up more teamwork by allowing learners to practice and apply their knowledge in a safe and controlled environment.

Simulations provide hands-on learning experiences and a chance to work through problems together.

These might look like live video conferencing sessions where you pose a real-life scenario that learners may encounter on the job. Divide them into breakout rooms and have them approach the situation with all the skills they’ve learned. Then come back together to debrief everyone’s experience for more collaborative learning opportunities.

6. Gamification

Introduce some motivating, friendly competition by incorporating game elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards into the learning experience.

Learners can earn points and badges for completing tasks, quizzes, and assignments. Make it even more social by taking competition beyond just seeing who can move through the training.

For instance, devise a game centered around teams of participants collecting feedback instead of points. Task learners with building enough social connections to graduate to the next level. Or prompt them to work collaboratively to solve a mystery that links with your training topic.

Keep the competition friendly and fun to encourage participation. And keep the scope of the game focused on your training objective to encourage real learning.

7. Mentoring

One-on-one mentorship is social learning at its most personalized, intimate, and informal. And it gives equally to both parties: mentees get the nurturing support they need to grow, while mentors develop their coaching skills.

Set up mentorship partners and give them time to meet through video conferencing or chat apps. You might provide some foundational content for them to discuss, but leave them space so the mentee can ask questions and the mentor can share real-world experience and advice.

Pair experienced employees with newer employees or employees looking to move into new areas of your business. Send out online questionnaires for employees who are interested in participating and record their skillsets and interests. Use this information to match mentors up with the right mentees.

For example, an employee interested in communication skills, with established persuasion, negotiation, and presentation skills, would make a good match for an employee wanting to move into sales.

8. Social Media Channels

Create private groups on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook, where learners can interact with each other and share ideas.

Social media’s made for social learning (the clue is in the name!). Most, if not all, of your employees will feel at home communicating through social media. This makes channels such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn useful tools in your social learning kit.

For social media to be effective in a social learning environment, you need to start with a focus. Creating closed groups prevents distraction.

Once you’ve set up your space, post a project, task, or question for learners to collaborate on. Giving structure through a task or question breaks the ice and starts the conversation. This medium gives learners opportunities to communicate and collaborate with people they might not normally come into contact with.

Use Your Tools To Make Online Training More Social

Social learning is an important goal for anyone invested in employee development. And eLearning platforms have revolutionized the way companies provide training, overcoming many of the limitations of remote work and learning.

But that doesn’t mean you can 100% replicate the social atmosphere of the traditional classroom.

Instead, use the functionality training tools offer and your L&D team’s creativity to come up with new ways to deliver successful social learning online. As you build a sense of collaboration in your training, you’ll see the benefits that learners can bring to one another.


Easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to like, TalentLMS is designed to get a “yes” from everyone, including C-level execs, budget heads, and busy employees. Now, instead of checking out, your whole organization leans into training.