Is social learning team learning?


Untitled-1 copy   I commented on an excellent post by Mervyn Dinnen, reflecting on social learning at HRevolution, yesterday.

Mervyn asks:

“Maybe if we are to get maximum benefit from Social Learning, especially from our unconferences, networking and crowd sourcing then…the answer may well lie in getting Social before you can get to the Learning…”

And I respond:

“Absolutely. Social learning isn’t just about sitting round with a group of people, it’s connecting with people you have a relationship with. It’s these relationships that give knowledge an added element and which makes the learning deeper than that gained from formal training. If you don’t have relationships with the other people, these need to be developed first, or together. So it’s probably easier in smaller rather than larger groups. But it can be done in larger groups too, depending on the context, ie as long as everyone understands what the objective and approach is, participates in helping to achieve this, and that’s there time to do the social relationship as well as the content learning stuff.”


Then last night, I was flicking through a presentation send to me by a friend and partner in India, which included the attached slide.  And I thought, is social learning team learning?

I don’t mean by this that social learning can only be done in a workplace team.  After all, unconferences like HRevolution and ConnectingHR aren’t based on teams, rather just collections of people with common interests.

But perhaps these people do need to think about being in a team – a learning team – in order to maximise the benefits they get out of their social learning?

One in which they need to progress from forming to norming (with a focus on connecting / relating itself as the ‘task’ objective) before they can proceed onto performing ie learning?  What do you think?



  • Consulting – Research – Speaking  – Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Link to original post


I graduated from Imperial College, London in 1987 and joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a systems development consultant. After ten years in IT, change and then HR consulting, I joined Ernst & Young as an HR Director, working firstly in the UK, and then, based in Moscow, covering the former USSR.More recently, I have worked as Head of HR Consulting for Penna and Director of Human Capital Consulting for Buck Consultants (the HR consultancy owned by ACS).


Leave a Reply