Social Emotional Learning In Online Training: 5 Best Practices And 5 Tips For eLearning Professionals

Teaching Online

Social Emotional Learning centers on the idea that our emotions play a key role in processing information, especially in regards to how we perceive ourselves, others, and the world. Instead of focusing on our mental intelligence, this theory stipulates that certain competencies, such as self and social awareness, determine how we manage ourselves and interact with others.When a learner develops their social emotional abilities, they can more effectively navigate social situations, understand and relate to coworkers and peers, and successfully collaborate and contribute in group settings. More importantly, these learners gain the self-management skills they need to stay motivated and boost their productivity.

5 Best Practices Of Social Emotional Learning

According to Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), successful social emotional learning experiences should focus on the following five “competency clusters”:

1. Self-management

Refers to a learner’s ability to regulate their emotions , as well as monitor their thoughts and behaviors in a wide range of social environments. This may include stress management and self-motivation, in addition to impulse control and goal setting.

2. Self-awareness

Recognizing and understanding emotions and thoughts, as well as how they impact behaviors while in social situations. This also involves closely examining personal strengths and weaknesses, and building self-confidence and positivity.

3. Social Awareness

A learner’s ability to see a situation or challenge from a different point of view, as well as empathizing with those around them, especially those who may have diverse cultural backgrounds. This also encompasses the understanding of societal norms and socially acceptable behaviors.

4. Responsible Decision Making

Focuses on respectful personal behavior and making decisions that lead to appropriate social interactions. A variety of factors come into play in this “competency cluster”, such as understanding actions vs. consequences and knowing how to adhere to standards that ensure the safety and well-being of others.

5. Relationship Skills

Pertains to a learner’s ability to cultivate and maintain meaningful relationships with others. This entails communication skills,actively listening abilities, as well as resisting peer pressure and effectively resolving conflicts to enhance productivity in group settings.

5 Tips To Use Social Emotional Learning in Online Training

1. Develop training activities around Social Emotional Learning outcomes

In addition to the performance goals and objectives you already have in place, it is also essential to develop a set of Social Emotional Learning outcomes that you hope to achieve through your online training strategy. Social Emotional Learning outcomes typically center on the promotion of self-awareness and social awareness. This approach also strives to help learners build relationships with others and encourage them to respect others’ opinions and beliefs.

2. Integrate Social Emotional Learning into every eLearning exercise

As a general rule, social emotional learning involves unlearning old behaviors in order to replace them with new and socially acceptable behaviors or ideologies. This process is often challenging and takes a significant amount of effort and time, meaning that Social Emotional Learning ideas and principles must be integrated into virtually every eLearning exercise in some way, shape, or form. If you are creating an eLearning scenario to teach a particular task, for instance, you can focus on one or two of the Social Emotional Learning “clusters” to simultaneously enhance your learners’ awareness.

3. Prepare and prioritize

It’s important to analyze the needs of the organization and employees when developing an Social Emotional Learning online training program. Learn as much as possible about the expectations of your employees by conducting surveys or interviews. This will give you the opportunity to determine their current level of social and self-awareness and develop an eLearning strategy that fills in the gaps. You also need to prioritize which particular “clusters” are most important for your organization, so that they can become the primary focus in your online training program.

4. Provide constructive feedback

Employees can become defensive when their social and emotional skills are called into question. This is mainly due to the fact that these skills are more personal in nature than work-related skills, such as customer service or problem solving skills. In many cases, social emotional abilities are tied to one’s belief system. This is why it’s crucial to provide constructive feedback privately and respectfully, as to not offend employees who may be struggling in this regard.  Schedule a video chat with them or send supplemental online resources they might be beneficial. Let them know that the issues you are addressing are merely areas of improvement, instead of classifying them as weaknesses.

5. Connect social emotional abilities to real world challenges

To motivate and engage your employees, you may want think about linking social emotional skills and abilities to real world challenges. For example, instead of asking them to work on their relationship skills, you can invite them to participate in a group collaboration project that requires them to communicate with others and respect their opinions. You can also personalize the outcomes by tying them to situations they might encounter on a daily basis, and asking employees to create their own Social Emotional Learning goals. This also prompts self-analysis and reflection, which is all part of the social emotional learning process.

Social emotional learning can be used in virtually all educational environments, and is particularly useful in corporate training. It can provide your learners with skills that help them communicate and collaborate, and have compassion for themselves and others. In essence, every aspect of their lives can benefit from social emotional development.

Emotion is an integral part of any online learning experience, especially in the corporate training sector. Read the article Creative Ways to Keep Our Children Safe and Happy in their Learning Environments to discover how to develop social and emotional learning in distance learning environment.

Christopher Pappas

Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU. eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict

2 thoughts on “Social Emotional Learning In Online Training: 5 Best Practices And 5 Tips For eLearning Professionals

  1. Hi Pascal, Hope all went well at the conference. One problem with your article; is that if your direct supervisor does not respect who you are, then how easily does the transfer occur to one’s own students? This transfers to my own position.

  2. Christopher, you have hit on some great subjects and I applaud you. Thanks for reminding many of us of what can get forgotten in the pursuit of technology: The human factors. Very well done. I enjoy all of your posts!

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