By Shelley A. Gable
You just completed an insurance continuing education course and you learned loads of new information. Now what?
If you can apply that newly learned knowledge on the job right away, you’re more likely to remember it long-term. But sometimes that’s not feasible. But all is not lost – social media can help!
A previous article on this blog recommends talking about what you’ve learned to help you remember it (If You Wanna Remember It, Talk About It). While there are memory benefits that come with physically talking about what you’ve learned, some of those same benefits can be reaped by using social media to participate in online discussions.
Contributing to online discussion forums is not only an effective way to reinforce your learning, but it can also help you get noticed by colleagues and potential clients!
How will this help you learn?
Here are a few of the reasons using social media can help you learn:
- Applying new information in a practical way. When discussing newly learned information in an online discussion, you’ll probably present that information in your own words. You may even offer personal examples to enrich the discussion. This can help solidify that information in your memory.
- Exploring knowledge from a different perspective. Online discussions tend to attract a variety of perspectives. A comment from another participant might prompt you to view an issue in a different light, thus deepening (or perhaps broadening) your insight into the topic.
- Repeating what you’ve learned. In order to discuss newly learned information in an online forum, you must recall it again. If you visit that forum more than once and leave multiple comments, the repeated exposure can help to gradually make the topic feel more familiar.
How do I join one of these discussions?
Personally, I think that LinkedIn is probably the easiest outlet to join or initiate an informative, professional online discussion.
Suppose you’re interested in discussing an “ah ha” from an insurance continuing education course. First, you should join a LinkedIn group or two for insurance professionals (such as Global Insurance Professionals or Insurance Professionals of America). Then, browse through the discussion forums for a relevant topic. Or, better yet, start a new discussion thread on your topic.
If you opt to take advantage of social media to enhance your learning, put thought into what you say. Every comment you post should offer an informative perspective (in other words, avoid simply saying “I agree with Shelley” or “Good point”). If you initiate a new discussion thread, visit it regularly. Comment on what others say and act as a moderator for the discussion. This type of behavior might even prompt others to view you as an expert in the field.
If you’re not a fan of LinkedIn, you can apply these suggestions to other social media outlets too. Consider Twitter, industry blogs, and other social networking sites.
Are you new to social media? Don’t be shy…give all this a try by posting a comment on this blog!
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Shelley A. Gable is an instructional designer and freelance writer. She has developed training for functions such as financial services, call centers, and engineering education. Shelley has written articles on topics related to training and management for print and online publications. Visit Shelley’s website at http://shelleygable.webs.com.