The social animal on Academy
Humans are often called social animals. What does it mean? Well, it means that human beings function best in social environments and understand themselves in social contexts. Our social behaviour has given us our conscience, ethics and self-understanding. This is why the social element was one of the most important ones, when we developed the Academy-system. A social environment isn’t just beneficial on an evolutionary scale – it’s also an important part of learning and motivation.
As a herd animal, human behaviour can be explained by means of theories in social psychology. One of these theories is Group Dynamics. Humans identify themselves based on certain groupings: humans, men/women, Århus inhabitants, garbage men.
To be part of a group becomes part of ones identity. The actions of the group and it’s views affects an individual greatly in their approach to i.e. work and learning. It is of great value that every single employee can feel the presence of the group on Academy – and is able to see what colleagues and leaders are doing on the platform.
When a user on Academy can see that many of their colleagues has read a given news post or taken a given certification, it highly increases the probability that this person will do so as well. This is called Social Proof; if all your friends like a certain post on Facebook, chances are you will too – nobody wants to feel left out.
We all know the feeling. You just work a little bit harder when somebody’s watching. This is called Social Facilitation and was described back in 1898.
The presence of other people in a learning environment affects the incentive of an individual to become better at their job – and studies have shown that sparring on a platform like Academy helps improve the learning process. Academy creates an environment where it becomes natural to seek help from colleagues – and offer help in turn, when others are in need of advice.
The recognition by the group in a ‘community’ like Academy is vital in all these theories. Functions on Academy such as ‘Likes’ and comments, along with earning points and an active sharing of knowledge, ensures that the individual user gets recognised for his/her work. This also supports the standard carrot-method used in traditional learning, and gives the user a positive experience in regard to the training of key skills.
We know what we’re talking about when it comes to learning and motivation, and now you too have become a bit more knowledgable on some of the mechanisms used on Academy.