Blog Archives

Enhance Training and Other Formal Learning with Social Media

During my own ASTD Techknowledge session this year, I discussed various ways in which trainers and formal-learning facilitators can enhance their initiatives with social media. The possibilities are endless and this post outlines tools that I find very useful, in addition to some best practices and other guidance. My PPT from the session can be found here on SlideShare


Why enhance your training (or other formal learning) with social media?

Using SoMe in training should not be done because it can, or because its fashionable, although some of my clients ask to enhance their training for that very reason. Another interesting by-product for the trainer or organisation is the impact on Google SERP results – use of well-tagged social media applications can be good for marketing.

Social media should be used in formal learning for the following reasons:

  • To create more longevity of learning
  • To enhance the reach of learning, by pushing content out (to others) and pulling content in (via participant networks)
  • To motivate participants
  • To find more knowledge, share attitude and best practices
  • To encourage and profit from more sociability
  • When learning objectives suggest the need for a social intervention (eg: identify “best” practices)


Social media learning activities can bring value before, during and after classical formal organised “learning moment”

For the purpose of this post, I will mention now things to do with social media to enhance a classical training, although all examples could be applied to a non-training based initiative. For an example including no formal training session, read this post. The following uses of SoMe are designed to increase the minimum effective dose of learning activities. Despite my classing them “before”, “during”, “after” you can interchange as you see fit…


Before training

Share expectations, agenda and content and introduce yourself

  • I like to do this via video, using an iPhone to film and my YouTube channel for storage and sharing
  • Example introduction video here
  • If necessary make your introduction video unlisted, so only people receiving the link can view it
  • Share ideas on how you will work, the added-value of training and expectations/pre-work
  • Participants tell me they like these videos simply because they see my face before they arrive
  • For an awesome and different example, contact Rick Lozano or follow his ASTD ICE 2014 session in DC this May


Help participants to get to know each other

  • I like to use LinkedIn for this, as many of the people I meet in training already have active accounts
  • You can close your group if you want to, so only the people you want are present
  • Example group here, as used for ASTDTK14
  • Find out how to do pretty much anything with this free book “How to Really use LinkedIn
  • You may notice that my example group doesn’t have much action – probably because I didn’t have participant names/emails prior to the session to invite them to take part
  • Tip: Be sure to ask good questions and give pre-training assignments, where participants can report back in the group


Share knowledge and get people thinking prior to the course

  • Create a playlist on YouTube or share a blog-post or other online resource
  • Use a story-based tool like InkleWriter from InkleStudios to allow participants to discover the content by themselves in an interactive way – example from my leadership training


During training

Ask participants to make notes together

  • I am now using the GingkoApp tool, which is free to use and can be simultaneously accessed by multiple people on different devices
  • See a well-used example here
  • Notes can be exported nicely to MS Word (and other formats) meaning you can easily create a bespoke participant training book after your session


Quiz, vote and get feedback during the session

  • During tk14, Chad Udell did a great job of using to collect ideas and brainstorm during his session
  • Other tools like Socrative are easy to use and have a mobile app available on both iOS and Android


Ask the network

  • Since participants have their own (vast) networks, why not get them to ask people for opinion or references via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook – this can take time, but over multiple day sessions, input can be valuable
  • Use Skype to invite an expert to “attend” the session


Document your flipcharts

  • If your flipcharts are worth looking at, they are worth keeping
  • Take pictures and upload them to a sharing/storage platform like SkyDrive or GoogleDocs
  • Example here
  • You could also consider using Vine to make that sharing more interesting – example here


Ask participants to video-document their most important learning points

  • Do this with a smartphone and create a YouTube playlist or other storage facility to pull them all together
  • Again: Be careful with privacy issues
  • Feeling creative? Why not use ChatterPix for iPhone instead – example here


Augment your training materials

  • Wouldn’t it be cool if participants could scan their training materials and overlay an augmented reality video? You can 🙂
  • Not sure what I mean? Download Aurasma follow “dansteer” and follow “public auras” then scan this image to get a (rubbish, but functional) example
  • Publicise the Aurasma function near the front page of the workbook


After training

Collect L1 satisfaction feedback or references or learning points

  • I use to create a free wall in a couple of clicks
  • Send the link to participants and they can add what they want
  • Example here
  • You can add a password to the wall and change other privacy settings if you want
  • If you create a (free) accounr, you can manage what is posted, delete things etc..


Social internet bookmarking

  • Collect internet references in a cool radial (mindmapping) style using
  • Example here
  • Participants can add references (if you let them)
  • People can “pick your pearls” to take your references for themselves (if you let them)


Create a bookshelf so participants can find your favourites easily

  • I use to create my virtual bookshelf
  • Add a short summary of the book and rate it if you want to
  • ..I don’t bothher following people, that’s not the point for me



To really make all this work, here are a few additional tips…


Good luck!


Other resources related to my ASTDTK14 session can be found here

Thanks for reading!

See you on Twitter?



ASTD 2013 Session TU306: Practical Use of Social Media in Formal Learning

On Tuesday 21st May 4-5.30pm I will speaking at the 2013 ASTD International Conference and Exhibition. My topic is the practical use of social media in formal learning. In preparation for that moment, this page delivers pre-session references with which participants can familiarise themselves. Following the session, I will use this page to list further references and resources for those interested in improving their formal learning with social media…


(This page is under construction, with regular updates)


If you want to join the LinkedIn group for ASTD2013 session TU306 please do. I started the learning prior to the session and it is continuing after, just as I would with any other formal learning moment, enhanced by social media.


There are many reasons to use social media in learning. Here’s a few ideas that will not be discussed in my ASTD 2013 session TU306:


Some interesting examples of social media in learning:


There are some great books about specific social media tools, that I really liked:


I’ve made a few Prezi presentations on related topics:


I will be adding more references here soon. Please bookmark this page. And don’t forget to email me to take part in the before/during/after social-media enhanced formal learning of ASTD 2013 session TU306 or to join the ASTD2013 session TU306 LinkedIn group.


ps – if you want to see all my blog-posts from ASTD2012 (I was a little hyperactive, as usual) check one of the links below… … or discover resources from other attendees on the ASTD2012 ICE collected back-channel resources page of @LnDDave :


Thanks for reading!


Follow me on Twitter

Subscribe to my blog by filling in your email address in the menu on the right…