In todays demanding world it seems that everyone is seeking ways to get more things done but keeping their efficiency and production at a very high level. Finding ways to enhance collaboration and networking are more critical than every before to driving both success and retention in both personal and profession arenas. To accomplish this goal many individuals and business have turned to social learning tools to fill in the gap. By applying intuitive, engaging technologies that emulate popular mobile and social apps, individuals and business can enjoy rich, real-time interaction and collaboration with the new social learning tools that are available in today’s market.

One of the more popular social learning tools that are used widely by many colleges and universities is Blackboard Learn. Blackboard Learn, allows both student and faculty to discover, connect, and collaborate with others from their school as well as other Blackboard Learn schools. There is even a Blackboard Learn global solution that has been created that allows the user to network and learn from each other through social, informal means all while complementing the more formal classroom and online course experiences. With Blackboard’s social learning tools you can have an enhanced profile where you create your online academic identity and share only what you want to share. Profiles include a profile wall for communication and the ability to message and follow other users to make connections and build your learning network. You can also use a tool called “The People Tool” to find your peers and other faculty, at your school or at another school with Blackboard Learn, and build a global learning network. Blackboard Learn also gives you the ability to message anyone within the global learning network.

Another social learning tool that has changed how businesses communicate is GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting has proven to be an excellent solution for collaborating, discussing, and teaching. This tool provides an easy way to initiate face-to-face collaboration through audio, screen sharing, and now high-definition video conferencing. The meeting is generally started by a host who sends out a link in an email or chat. For new users the setup process typically takes about two minutes and then they can begin communicating. This flexibility and ease of use could encourage impromptu learning events and meetings that can be set up in a moments notice, increasing the informal learning opportunities within and outside an organization. Users can share voice and video, display online PowerPoint presentations, documents, share the screen and show web pages, making annotations with drawing tools along the way. This collaborative feature lets participants get in the act by sharing keyboard and mouse control. You can also save and replay a meeting so others can learn from your meeting.

Both Blackboard Learn and GoToMeeting provide wonderful solutions to improve the way we learn. Blackboard Learn is currently only offered for K-12, Higher Education, Government, and Business. GoToMeeting on the other hand can be purchased as solution by anyone looking to enhance the way they communicate and learn. They also offer products such as GoToTraing, GoToWebinar, and OpenVoice. Certainly, these new technologies allow us to expand the course of learning in many ways. The process of acquiring knowledge and skills no longer needs to take place during the school or works hours but with these advancements in technology we can all learn 24 hours a day without sitting in a classroom due to the fact that digital learning has brought us new possibilities and methods for expanding our knowledge bank. Just my thoughts would love to hear yours.

– Christopher L. Robinson

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