Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How KBC, BNP and Alcatel Lucent use Social Media in Learning & Development

Yesterday (23 October 2012) I attended an interesting seminar about how organizations can use Social Media in Learning & Development. The event was organized by VOV (www.vov.be). Below, you find my take aways on this event, including two testimonials by KBC, BNP Paribas Fortis and Alcatel Lucent and the outcomes of research done by the Brussels University.

Why did I attend this event ? 
I frequently use social media like Blogger, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Youtube and when my kids ask me what sound a whale makes, we search youtube and get an answer in the blink of an eye.  And still, there is quite some unknown territory out there for me too. I do believe the use of social media has great added value if it is well used.

Before you continue this article, you can view this youtube movie on social media and its impact on society :

Getting started with social media in Learning & Development :
First of all, I believe we should only use social media if they contribute to the objective of the learning event. We should not use it, because we want to be fashionable.

On the other hand, social media give us sooooo many opportunities to take the learning event to a higher level. Some ideas can be the use of blogs to provide new updates after the training, start up a linkedin community with participants of a certain training to stay in touch...

Case KBC :
KBC developed a specific program for the introduction of their youngsters. An important element in this youngsters program is the development of a virtual community via Linkedin. This community was launched with a get together where all participants got a good explanation of the purpose, how to start & use the group, ...
Important element in this case was a clear WIIFM (what's in it for me) for the participants. All communications about exams in the training program, content, ... was only communicated via the linkedin group. This forced people to visit and use the linkedin group frequently.
A nice side-effect of this group was that people found each other via the linkedin group and arranged lunch to get together on top of the training to exchange ideas. The fysical contact remained valuable for the participants.

Case Alcatel Lucent :
Knowledge is of 2 kinds : we know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find info upon it. Technology and social media can help us to bridge this gap.
There are 3 important questions we should ask ourselves :
  • Do we know what we know ? 
  • Do we know what we should know ? 
  • Do we know where we can find the absent information ? 
An average employee in an organization spends 1 day/week to find necessary information to get his job done. (Laurie Buzeck - Intel).

If you want to start up a learning platform with social media to create a forum for collaborative learning. Before you start up such a platform you need 2 important elements : yellow pages with information of everybody and 1 single workspace.
Besides you need clear specs like how to :
  • find and publish information
  • get in touch and communicate with others in the group
  • Share & build information
  • most of all : a user friendly environment
Once they released the learning platform people just started using the tool. Alcatel didn't have to promote it. It was promoted mouth to mouth because people immediately saw the advantage of it. They started groups on the platform, discussions and shared information. Alcatel allowed them to add both professional and non-professional information (e.g. photography). All of this added to the corporate culture and contributed to the learning at Alcatel.

Once Alcatel installed the tool, the results were amazing :
  • After 1,5 years more than 90% of all employees worldwide use the learning tool
  • 71% find it more easily to connect with others
  • 55% finds it easier to collaborate
  • 60% finds it easier to contribute content to the system

Case BNP Paribas Fortis :
Opposite to the other cases, BNP has (only) a tool for corporate learning and no tool for collaborative learning (like the above mentioned tool). Due to budget limitations, BNP had to be very creative to make learning effects last.

Together with a team of ambassadors they created some really good add-ons. First a large group attended a training on leadership. After a certain period, they asked the ambassadors to tell in a short movie how they used the learnings, what were the obstacles & experiences they perceived, ... These movies are now a very solid knowledge tank for further learning events.

Conclusion 
All 3 cases are very different and interesting. All organizations were facing different challenges and it is due to curiosity of a limited group of people who started exploring the possibilities of social media as add on for learning & development that the rest of the orgnanization benefits from it.

What can we learn from this ? 
You don't need huge budgets to start using social media. Just think about it, but don't think too long. Start using it and integrate it in your learning strategy.

Good luck !

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