Keeping It Social: Transforming Workplace Learning and Development through Social Media

Keeping It Social: Transforming Workplace Learning and Development through Social Media

Helen M. Muyia (Texas A&M University, USA) and Fredrick Muyia Nafukho (Texas A&M University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8632-8.ch085
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Abstract

The rapid change and competition in the business world is fundamentally challenging the workplace. Consequently, organizations have begun to adopt a continuous learning philosophy which has resulted in a rise in both formal and informal learning. As social media penetrates our everyday lives, organizations and human resource development professionals are looking at how to leverage social media tools to enhance workplace learning and development. Using such tools also fits in with current initiatives to move learning to a more employee-centered learning. This chapter explores a number of social media tools that can be used to enhance workplace learning and development. First, social media definitions in the workplace context are provided and discussed. This is followed by a discussion on challenges associated with the use of social media for workplace learning and development. A framework of social media effectiveness, grounded in the learning and training processes, is propsed in the chapter.
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Introduction

In recent years, social media has exploded as a category of online discourse with people creating content, sharing, bookmarking, and networking at a significant rate. With statistics showing that in 2012, Facebook was hosting14.2% of the world’s population and Twitter users were sending 340 million tweets per day (Cheston, Flickinger, & Chilsom, 2013). Harnessing social media potential for workplace learning and development has been touted as a breakthrough across the learning spectrum (Baird & Fisher, 2005; Nafukho, Muyia, &Graham, 2010; Zhao, & Kemp, 2012). Training courses which were traditionally seen as the way for teaching or educating in the workplace are no longer sufficient for delivering ongoing learning and development goals. The focus now is on more flexible ways to achieving learning and development goals (Cifford, & Thorpe, 2007). For example, Cross (2007) argued that workers learn more in coffee rooms than in the classroom, underscoring the fact that social networks have become the new coffee rooms. In this era where technologies can support different learning needs, the workplace currently faced with many challenges can use social media tools to enhance learning and development of their employees.

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