Not so long ago I was sat doing some mandatory training via an e-learning platform, it involved watching snippets of videos and clicking on multiple choice questions, it was pretty unexciting and I didn’t really learn anything or change my practice as a result of the e-learning…. however it did inspire me to take action and do something different! The e-learning got me thinking about what I dislike about this style of learning and I came up with the following points:
- It’s a very lonely way of learning
- The multiple choice question answers are often very similar and for someone with dyslexia this is very challenging
- There is no room for debate
- There is no room for reflection
- There is no scope to share how the learning impacts my practice or to hear about how it has impacted others practice
- The platforms always seem to require long drawn out login processes with usernames and passwords I can never remember
- The time spent learning can often be up to an hour or two at a time …. this can seem like a long time when you are sat alone clicking “next”
Never being one to sit by and accept the way things are I started to think that perhaps there could be a better way …. and that perhaps isn’t it time that e-learning evolved ?
Whilst reflecting on my e-learning experiences I thought about the spaces where I do learn and social media is (of course) my primary place to learn. Social media enables me to explore content in vibrant and engaging ways, it facilitates discussion and debate with my peers around topics, I am able to both share how I use the things I learn in my practice and to read about other peoples learning into practice journeys; it is short and snappy at a time and place that is convenient to me. And most importantly I am already logged in !!! This all led me to think what if e-learning were to evolve into
s-learning (the “s” standing for social media)? So in the spirit of “better an oops than a what if” I realised that it was time for a bit of creative thinking.
Over the last few years WeCommunities has been working closely with the All Our Health Team at Public Health England and the Nursing Team at Plymouth University to bring s-learning to life. We have developed a bespoke s-learning platform called WeLearn which has so far engaged over 300,000 people.
WeLearn delivers lived experience of engaging learning through social media. Each s-learning course runs alongside a Twitter hashtag which provides peer-to-peer support and discussion. In addition, s-learning amplifies both the learning and the digital footprint of the course content and its authors greatly. You can read about WeLearn #AllOurHealth HERE and HERE and view tweets from the 2019 course HERE and you can view tweets from WeLearn Digital Professionalism with Plymouth University via #PUNC18 HERE and watch a video about the project HERE.
s-learning is very different to e-learning … both are digital but the evolution is significant. The infographic below helps to outline some of the key principles that makes s-learning so special:
s-learning is about embracing social media and the short, snappy and social principles that make social media content so engaging. Learning through social media and an s-learning platform is about using the engaging social media and social media content that you have, pulling it together, facilitating discussion and encouraging learning being applied to practice.
s-learning is about not being bored, it’s about a journey of exploration and long lasting communities of practice.
Any newcomers to s-learning will, via the lived experience and course content, develop an appreciated life long skill that is using social media to learn and professionally develop.
e-learning for me has always been about employers ticking boxes, it’s easy to measure as it is done and easy to evidence, it’s cost effective and it can be done at any time …. s-learning does this too, but for me it is so much more; it’s about my personal learning journey, it’s about my practice, it’s about being able to fit it in around me, it’s about content, making connections and the start of something not the whole of something.
It’s time to evolve … s-learning is “where it’s at !!”
(To find out more about WeLearn click HERE or email me firstname.lastname@example.org)