Students gain a deeper understanding of content when they actively engage in what they are learning. To increase student participation in the learning process, teachers can incorporate the social learning theory into their classroom practice. The social learning theory engages students in discussions with their peers to create an artifact (Laureate Education, n.d.b). There are several instructional strategies that promote successful student collaboration. The integration of technology tools improves the quality of conversations students have about their learning. Educators enhance the social learning theory using cooperative learning instructional strategies along with social networking and collaboration technology tools.
One instructional strategy that relates to the social learning theory is cooperative learning. In a cooperative learning environment, students reflect on what they learn and develop a shared understanding of a topic by engaging in conversations with others (Pitler, Hubbel, & Kuhn, 2012). Teachers can promote successful cooperative learning environments by placing students in groups according to student interests, skills, or backgrounds. One cooperative learning group I like to use in my classroom is Jigsaw. In a jigsaw group, individuals explore a part of the topic and later come together to share their learning with other group members (Orey, 2001). This type of group aids students in gaining a deeper understanding of the material as they explore and teach about a topic.
Teachers can also use technology to support the social learning theory. Some social networking and collaboration tools teachers can utilize to increase student conversations and successful constructions of artifacts are blogs, Wikis, and VoiceThread. Blogs and Wikis are tools students can use to present and discuss ideas as they work together (Pitler et al., 2012). A VoiceThread is a virtual photo album that allows students to interact with visuals through text, video, audio, and phone comments (Laureate Education, n.d.c). Student sharing of artifacts is made easier with this technology. These tools also support the connectivism learning theory. Connectivism defines learning as creating networks of information (Laureate Education, n.d.a). With these collaboration technology tools, student conversations and learning can expand beyond the walls of the classroom.
Students’ learning increases when they have the opportunity to engage in conversations about the material. The social learning theory promotes student discussion to create a product. The cooperative learning instructional strategy offers a variety of grouping variations to encourage effective student collaboration. To increase conversations and share student work, the use of social networking and collaboration tools improves the social learning theory. Teachers who use this theory in their classroom increase student motivation and provide students with opportunities to practice skills that are necessary for future success.
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.a). Connectivism as a learning theory [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.b). Social learning theories [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.c). Spotlight on technology: VoiceThread [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.