According to softwareadvice.com social learning is, "...learning from and with others. A social learning platform allows users to collaborate, share and comment on their organisation's formal and informal learning experiences on a secure and trusted network".
Social learning is seen as essential to cognitive development (see, for example, social learning theories by Vygotsky and/or Bandura) and key aspects of a Social Learning Platform (SLP) are:
Self-directed learning - For example students could have a video of choreography to learn from at home and come to class with questions (a bit like the concept of a flipped classroom).
Collaborative organisational learning - Imagine students working together to create a video about your dance studio with feedback from other teachers and students along the way! Or students sharing their favourite 'how to do dance hairstyles' vids across an organisation.
Formal structured learning - For example, this could be students learning and working through a dance syllabus and is the kind of learning/teaching most of us are familiar with.
Group directed learning - Giving students the opportunity to learn from each other and explore their creativity in groups through guided discovery. e.g., choreographic collaboration with structured guidelines.
Inspiration/accidental learning - For example watching videos of professional dancers performing a role that students are studying or the kind of learning and inspiration that comes from watching live performance.
The Key functions or techniques it is suggested you need from a SLP include:
Forums – you might create a conversation around say costume decisions
Gamification/rewards – this is like having a digital star-chart for your students
Expert knowledge – the ability to share knowledge from experts in dance directly to students or a student e.g., advice from a dance psychologist or physiotherapist
Organisational wikis – for example your studio handbook or how to do hair at your dance studio
Inspiration – E.g., professional dance and choreography from Vimeo or YouTube
These aspects support learning. There is no suggestion that a SLP should replace a classroom environment, rather, a SLP can enhance classroom learning by empowering students with knowledge. As we all know class time is limited so supporting students to explore dance outside the classroom can help develop well-rounded dancers. A SLP allows teachers to draw on knowledge from domain experts, empowers students to take control of their learning and allows parents to share in the learning process.
Video sharing is one element of a social learning platform. See this great overview of video sharing through Movitae!
What features would you like to see available? Comment below!