Social Learning

The role of social learning networks within an education setting

Published: 10 November 2013


Schools, colleges and universities are increasingly recognising the limitations of traditional networks and communication channels to enable improvements across a wide range of institutional parameters such as performance management, productivity, student support, teaching, learning, attainment and progression. The use of social learning platforms promises to transform how educational institutions deliver services to students and how teachers and managers work collaboratively to design, develop, deliver and manage educational services to the communities that they serve. As ever, the use of emerging networked services such as social learning platforms alone will not deliver enhanced educational services. Improvements in the management of educational services and improvements in teaching, learning and attainment will only come about with the support of change management programmes that are supported by educational leaders and practitioners.

The use of social learning platforms promises to transform how educational institutions work and how they deliver services to students

The social learning/enterprise platforms listed below represent the major players in the market place. The early adopters have been commercial organisations and the language and terminology used by suppliers is representative of this early user group. However, many schools, colleges and universities will instantly recognise the potential for these platforms to support and enhance the delivery of their educational service programmes.


Socialcast is a VMware social networking platform for organisations that enables individuals to stay connected to one another so that they can share information and work collaboratively on shared projects. 'Socialcast is the enterprise social networking platform that connects people to the knowledge, ideas and resources they need to work better together.' [1]

The adjacent video highlights the main features and functionality of Socialcast. As you will see there are obvious uses for Socialcast in schools, colleges and universities. [2]




Yammer is part of Microsoft's Office Division. Yammer is a secure and private social learning platform that enables everyone within a school to connect with one another, to collaborate with peers when working on joint projects, to share and exchange ideas and to keep up-to-date with the latest updates and feeds. Yammer is available via the web and can be accessed over your desktop, tablet and smartphone. [3]

The content in the adjacent video is targeted specifically for companies in the private sector but the message is just as relevant for schools, colleges and universities. [4] Social media has dramatically changed the way we share and connect with friends and family, and it will have an even more profound impact on the way organisations operate. Giving your organisation the advantage of a social foundation is critical for success in today’s fast-paced environment.


IBM Social Business

The focus of IBM's social learning platform is about reinventing the traditional relationship model in organisations such as schools, colleges and universities. Until recently the challenge in these organisations was to connect educational leaders, managers, teachers and students to one another. Today, these connections are taken as a given; but they have yet to alter how educational services are managed, organised and delivered.

Social learning platforms have the capacity to transform how schools, colleges and universities deliver education services, how individuals collaborate with one another and more importantly how we learn.

The adjacent video from IBM highlights the power of social learning networks. [5]

If you require further information on social learning you may be interested in the work of Jane Hart at the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies. [6]


  1. Socialcast:
  2. Socialcast on YouTube:
  3. Yammer:
  4. Yammer on YouTube:
  5. IBM Social Business:
  6. Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies: