The benefits of using (#)hashtags for e-learning

facebook-hashtagBy Ciara Cunningham, Marketing Manager  

Facebook has joined the #hashtag revolution, allowing users to add the # symbol before a word and making those hashtags #clickable.

Although typically associated with Twitter, hashtags are nothing new on the social scene – Tumblr, Pinterest and other social networks already use hashtags, and Google has announced that it will add these to its Google+ service shortly.  You may have even used them on Facebook, but until now they had no functionality.

So now that Facebook has joined the hashtag revolution, what impact will they have on #elearning?

The new hashtag function is already available to about 20% of the 1 billion+ Facebook users and over the coming weeks, this will be available to everyone who has a Facebook account.

If you are a user or not of Facebook, this new functionality will benefit both the learner and the administrator of the e-learning programme as the use of hashtags will make it easier for users to search for content, and easier to find that topic in search – that is of course dependent that everyone involved in the e-learning programme agrees to append a certain hashtag about a topic!

Additional benefits include:

  • Allows better interaction on a subject.
  • Helps to generate a discussion or raise awareness of a topic.
  • Users can discover other communities discussing the same topic, providing a forum for discussion and broader learning environment.
  • Can be used for monitoring a particular topic.
  • Building a community around content.
  • Makes it easy to aggregate like-minded users under a certain category.

If you are not already using hastags for e-learning, the first thing you need to do is create a hashtag identifying your subject, project, workshop or any other topic you want to track. Before you embark on a hashtag frenzy, you need to do research what you’re about to hashtag before you actually use it.

You can use search hashtag directory services like tagdef.com and hashtags.org to see if your desired hashtag is in use. If you introduce hashtags into your e-learning early, it will also increase learner and user engagement.

Facebook has said that it would roll out additional features, including trending hashtags, in the near future, so we will see then if there are any additional benefits to the e-learning quest!

Happy clicking!

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates. 

How do you solve a problem like content?

Successful e-learning is a combination of technology that works, great learning design and meaningful content. Content is often however the most difficult resource to obtain when developing e-learning.

In this short post, we take a look at how to source content, make the most out of existing content and ensure that the content is suitable for your e-learning programme or module.

What many organisations don’t realise is they are already sitting on a mass of existing content that can easily be replicated in to usable and effective content for their e-learning courses. Any company or organisation that is already delivering some form of training is actually ready with content.

Existing content can come in various forms:

  • employee handbook,content image
  • policy documents,
  • facilitator guides,
  • classroom training hand-outs,
  • presentations given on various subjects by senior managers at various forums.
  • company information

So what do you do with the content now that you have identified the sources?

As tempting as it may be to simply regurgitate those existing text based resources and assume that it can be deployed onto a web based progamme, you will be disappointed to hear that unfortunately it is not quite as straight forward as this. It is essential that you take a careful look at the content and determine whether it still has the same meaning in an online context. If not, you need to (re)organise it, paraphrase it and reproduce it as content plays a pivotal role in providing the structure of an e-learning programme.

The content for your eLearning programme needs to not only meet the learning needs of your organisation but also actively engage the learner, including interaction with fellow learners as without the right content, quite often learning points are missed and participants become disengaged.

When developing content for your e-learning programme, it is important to start with the basics – identify the content that is aligned with your organisational goals and developed within the context of your broader training strategy.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.