Love it or loathe it, social media is having a huge impact on our lives. 

Research from earlier in the year shows that up to 74% of the UK population use social media, with Facebook being the single biggest social media platform used in both the UK and around the world.  A PEW Research report from Sept 2013, shows that 71% of all online adults use Facebook.

In December 2013, Facebook claimed to have over 31m users in the UK.  Figures from Twitter show 15m UK users and growing.  Whilst data from LinkedIn noted that they passed 10m users in 2013, which whilst lower than the previous two, is much more Focused on professional and business communities.

So how (or perhaps more importantly), are we using social media to improve and grow the learning opportunities, training & development that we offer individuals, or which our organisations offer to employees, students and stakeholders?

Do we use social media as a tool to deliver the same old content, or are we creating new environments where our learners, instead of the teachers/subject-experts, take centre stage?

Social media allows instructors and learners to easily share information and materials, opinions, views and comments, with the platform giving us a structure around which to organise it all.  But it can also help us to give learners more control over the direction of their learning.

Here's a quick guide to what the main platforms include:

Facebook
Closed or open groups, allow us to share information & materials (text, pictures, videos, etc.)  and have discussions about course-related issues, and any questions learners might have.  Growth rates may be slowing, and if you are going to use the platform, have a look at your demographics.  Current growth looks to be coming from an older age bracket, with younger users moving to other platforms.  However, the current market coverage makes it tempting to use.

Twitter
Can be used to connect learning communities or smaller classrooms over a specific topic or event, sharing highlights, making statements, uploading pictures, etc. Create an account, use a #hashtag and your learners can join in.  Caution with Twitter though, the majority of users read, but don't necessarily interact with other users.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn has thousands of discussions and groups where instructors, educators and “influencers” share views, problems, developments and how-to tips.  And there's an added value compared to the previous platforms as learners can actually see others professional profile and accomplishments, something that can add a bit of kudos to those taking part.

Google +
They're a bit cagey with their user numbers, but there's no doubt that Google+ is becoming increasingly popular, and with the established userbase of Gmail, Docs and Youtube, you can be certain they will continue to grow.   Google + is getting some good write-ups from eLearning people, with video integration, Hangouts and communities all being noted as strong components of their social media platform.

The list of platforms seems to grow on a monthly basis, with the likes of Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp all competing for users and content.  So we've got loads of choices for a social learning platform, but how are we using them, how should we be using, should we be using them, and what happens if we don't use them whilst our learners expect us to use them.

Here's a few more stats to give a flavour for how social media is being adopted:
As of September 2013, PEW Research reported:
71% of online adults use Facebook
17% use Instagram
21% use Pinterest
22% use LinkedIn

Whilst Business Insider found:
“Social” is now the top Internet activity: Americans spend more time on social media than any other major Internet activity, including email.
Social-mobile rules: 60% or so of social media time is spent on smartphones and tablets.  
Facebook attracts roughly seven times the engagement that Twitter does, when looking at both smartphone and PC usage, in per-user terms. 
Snapchat is a smaller network than WhatsApp, but outpaces it in terms of time-spend per user. 
Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn made major successful pushes last year to increase engagement on their mobile sites and apps. The new race in social media is not for audience per se, but for multi-device engagement. 

So with so many options, how are we supposed to know how to proceed with “social” in our learning.  This (along with a number of other topics) is something which the Alliance will be looking at during the Learning Essentials Conference on 31st October.

References:
http://wearesocial.net/blog/2014/02/social-digital-mobile-europe-2014/
http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/social-digital-mobile-in-europe
http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/
http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/
http://www.businessinsider.com/social-media-engagement-statistics-2013-12
http://elearningindustry.com/the-role-of-social-media-in-elearning

The 2014 Learning Essentials Conference from the eLearning Alliance has been set for 31st October.

This years venue is West Lothian College in Livingston.

More details will follow shortly.

Cost:

Members - £99

Non-members - £170

 

Sponsor / exhibitor places are available - please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (07960 811326) for further information.

Exhibitors:

Our masterclasses will help you get the most out of digital learning in your organisation. They will give you lots of practical tips and techniques on how to put a plan in place to make informed decisions on the best learning design, tools and technology for you and how to build internal capacity to design, deliver and manage digital learning locally.

We’ll also give you an insight into some of the latest learning technologies available that will help you develop digital learning on a budget.

Our masterclasses will bring together expert speakers in our 20:10 sessions where we will deliver 10 top tips in 20 minutes with time to explore issues that are relevant to your organisation. You’ll hear from real-world practitioners who have ‘walked the talk’ of digital learning and who describe their experience and lessons learnt along the way.
Who should attend?

Learning and Development Managers, Learning Consultants, Trainers and Facilitators who want to get a better insight into what’s happening in Digital Learning and how it can help improve performance throughout the organisation.
Agenda:

09:00 -09.30 Registration and Networking

09:30 - 09:45 Welcome and Introduction

09.45 - 10.15 20:10 Session: Getting started with Digital Learning

10.15 - 10.45 Case Study

10.45 - 11.15 Tea, Coffee and Networking

11.15 - 11.45 20:10 Session: Building Internal Capability

11.45 - 12.15 Case Study

12.15 - 12.45 20:10 Session: Digital Learning Technologies

12.45 – 13:00 Wrap up and Close

Attendees will:

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of digital learning
  • Understand the latest trends and insights in digital learning
  • Discover the range of learning technologies available
  • Receive actionable tips and strategies to improve learning and development in your organisation
  • Learn how organisations have successfully implemented digital learning as part of their Learning and Development strategy
  • Network with peers and like-minded professionals


Masterclass dates & Locations
Dublin - 25 September
Belfast - 9 October
Edinburgh - 23 October

Visit Aurion Learning to book a place.

Hamilton-based company, Mediacorp, which specialises in Learning Management Systems (Moodle and Totara) and ePortfolio solutions, has become the preferred partner within Scotland of content developer, Learning Nexus and its subsidiary, Safety4Business.


The partnership will provide a joint approach to delivering high quality, good value, eLearning propositions to organisations of all sizes in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and include content, authoring tools and learning delivery platforms.  It will also enable public sector customers to be part of Freeshare, an online collaborative community in which courses are created and shared to improve best practice, and save time and money.  With the number of members constantly increasing and the number of courses in the Freeshare catalogue currently at one hundred and growing monthly, the ease, flexibility and value of Freeshare are evident.


Both Mediacorp and Learning Nexus are seasoned e-learning firms which have amassed a wealth of experience in the e-learning industry, and this partnership will grow their already large portfolio of Scottish customers and provide a springboard to becoming leading eLearning providers in Scotland.


James Marshall, Managing Director of Mediacorp, expressed his pleasure at the prospect: ‘Mediacorp has been delivering excellence right across the e-learning spectrum for the best part of 10 years and we’re relishing this opportunity of working with Learning Nexus to strengthen our portfolio still further and push those standards even higher.’


Ken George, Chairman of Learning Nexus is equally delighted with the partnership: “Learning Nexus has served the Scottish e-learning community for over 25 years and everyone in the company is excited by the opportunity of collaborating with Mediacorp to reach even higher standards of product and service excellence. “


About Mediacorp
Approaching its 10th birthday, Mediacorp is an e-learning consultancy company and solutions provider whose people are committed to the transformative power of learning and passionate about harnessing technology to revolutionise learning and performance. The company has many years of experience and expertise, and is known for its innovation, flexibility, versatility and unparalleled customer service. With a broad portfolio of customers across numerous industries, it provides solutions which deliver measurable results quickly and cost-effectively.

About Learning Nexus
For almost three decades, Learning Nexus has prided itself on being a leading independent eLearning publisher and solutions provider. Annually, it engages with hundreds of thousands of learners across the UK, delivering service excellence to industry, commerce and the public sector. With a passion for dynamic learning, Learning Nexus is well placed to offer a wide range of quality, cost-effective eLearning tools and services with measurable results.

About Safety4Business
With over sixteen years of experience in health and safety eLearning, Safety4Business is one of the UK market leaders, specialising in the design and publication of accredited Health & Safety eLearning courses. Safety4Business is the Health & Safety Division of Learning Nexus.

One of the principal aims of the eLearning Alliance is to create opportunities for individuals and organisations from different sectors to come together and share their experiences, skills and knowledge of eLearning. As part of that aim, the eLA selects key events in the conference calendar, lending its support for the benefit of you, our Members, and the wider eLearning community.

We are happy to announce that registration has opened for the 6th eAssessment Scotland conference – the UK’s largest event dedicated to exploring the advantages of the technology-enhanced assessment practices. We have supported the event since its inception in 2009 and can promise those of you who attend a day filled with practical workshops, insightful keynote presentations and seminars covering a wide range of assessment and feedback approaches.

Highlights of the day include:
·         Implementing Open Badges
·         Audio/Video feedback on assignments
·         Assessment design
·         Tools to improve on tracking progress
·         Assessment Analytics

If you do sign up and come along, then make sure to stop by the eLearning Alliance exhibitor stand and say hello!

Register now for eAssessment Scotland 2014.

 

Aurion Learning will be presenting “Digital Learning in Healthcare – success stories and lessons learnt" at the next NHS Special Interest Group Meeting.

Gavin Woods from Aurion share key insights and knowledge that have contributed to the success stories of learning and development in client healthcare organisations, including the Health Services Executive Ireland and NHS Education for Scotland.

Time: 10.30am – 2.30pm

Venue: Postgraduate Medical Office, NHS Education for Scotland, Level 8, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee  DD1 9SY

Cost: Members: Free / Non-Member £60

The event is open to all employees of the NHS.

To book a place, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Alliance Member, Norman Lamont, has launched a new business venture, Light Touch Learning.

Many of you will know Norman from his time as Learning Technology Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, and prior to that when he was pioneering e-learning (or Computer Based Training back then) at Britannia Building Society and Scottish Widows.

Through Light Touch Learning, Norman offers consultancy to in-house teams and elearning projects, particularly at the beginning of the project:  performance consultancy, and Cathy Moore's Action Mapping method.

He can train in-house teams in how to get the most from this method, and also how to write engaging and relevant learning scenarios.

You can get more details about Normans new venture at http://www.lighttouchlearning.com