Learning in a Social Setting

learning in a social setting

The following post is by Emma King, VP of Learning, INXPO.


When the training industry responded to budget cuts by choosing to reduce its physical classroom training and deliver a higher percentage of its training using a combination of physical classroom and content online, corporate training lost something very special. It lost its personality. It lost its ability to keep people’s attention and it lost its ability to deliver that social connection.

Physical classroom experiences enriched the sometimes mundane theoretical elements with personality and dynamics from a wide range of individuals attending the course. I don’t know about you, but I am still in contact with some colleagues I met when attending a corporate training course.

Blended Learning 1.0

In the early delivery of blended learning, trainers cobbled together a program that consisted of:

  1. Regurgitated PowerPoint decks delivered via a online meeting or webinar platform.
  2. Access to a Learning Portal or Learning Management System (LMS) to access further self-paced modules, consisting of animated PowerPoint Decks. The program included Role Play Simulations with some combination of audio/video or screen share technology.
  3. Completion of a ‘Happy Sheet’ to validate that the trainee could quantify that they had completed the training that was required of them.

I’m not sure about you, but I dreaded and still do dread having to complete training in this way.

Blended Learning 2.0: Social Learning

I’d like to introduce the notion of Social Learning. A social learning platform includes content, digital spaces and an integrated learning management system (LMS), where learning is surrounded by an interactive and social layer.

Social Learning brings personality back into our classrooms. Virtual Classrooms empower trainees to become participants in their own learning experience and offer the chance for conversations to drive the theoretical content in a way that flows with the individuals. And, virtual classrooms create group dynamics in a social setting.

Social Learning gives a voice to those who are often reserved in a physical setting and empowers them to become teachers in their own right. The knowledge that they share with their peers can enable theoretical teaching to go beyond the boundaries of the course curriculum and be applied to a real life setting. Such experiences can bring a greater level of retention.


With the integration of mobile technology, learning has become about networks, connections, coworkers, friends and family. Learning has become less prescriptive and therefore its opportunity to engage, educate and empower corporate training programs has no boundaries.

About the Author

Emma King is VP of Learning at INXPO, responsible for building learning centric learning solutions on the INXPO Virtual Platform. Emma brings over 16 years experience, working with Fortune 1000 customers, providing Strategic Learning Solutions to help define, operate and optimize their learning initiatives utilizing emerging technologies.

Her views on the status and future of technology-based learning have been shared in publications such as Online Learning Magazine, PCWeek, E-Learning Magazine and the Training Magazine. Emma has been invited to evangelize and teach learning best practices, tips and techniques at conferences such as Training, ASTD, TechLearn, eLearning Guild, CheckPoint in Europe, Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT), and many others.

Related Resources
  1. Come meet INXPO and Emma at Taleo World 2011, September 12-14, 2011 in San Francisco.
  2. White Paper: Virtual Learning Platform for Innovation