The Power of Social Learning in Organizations and Sports

Team collaborating and brainstorming, emphasizing the concept of Social Learning in organizational settings.

Social Learning, a pivotal learning mechanism, offers significant financial advantages for various organizations. Inspired by Paul A. Kirischner and Carl Hendrick’s book “How Learning Happens”, we dive deep into the concept of Social Learning and its profound impact on businesses and sports alike.

Read more: The Power of Social Learning in Organizations and Sports

Understanding Social Learning

At its core, the book defines Social Learning as a harmonious blend of social competence and individual experience. Consequently, an organization’s success often hinges on how effectively they integrate Social Learning or community practices. So, what truly defines community involvement? Three facets emerge:

  1. Engagement: Mutual activities and collaborations.
  2. Perspective: Vision and imagination in how one perceives subjects (like training views or perspectives on football).
  3. Shared Practices: Common actions or processes that bind the community.

Historically, communities have always been prevalent, from medieval guilds to today’s online clusters. While most communities hold positive intentions, some unfortunately harbor negative influences, possibly steering towards criminal or even terrorist activities.

How does all this relate to sports and coaching? And what’s the significance of saving 100 million?

The Xerox Paradigm

Specializing in diverse machines, Xerox often faced technical hitches in their early printer and copier days, issues not addressed in manuals or internal training. Researcher Julian Orr, while spending time with Xerox employees, discovered their penchant for discussing work challenges during coffee breaks. In these casual interactions, they exchanged problem-solving methods, often filling the gaps left by official manuals. Recognizing this organic learning, Xerox pioneered Eureka – a prototype online community where employees could share issues and solutions. This ingenious move, as noted by Whalen & Bobrow, saved Xerox a staggering 100 million in service costs.

The Broader Implications

The underlying message from the book emphasizes the enriching learnings individuals can gain from Social Learning. Initiating a community within an organization, focusing on learning, can be instrumental. In sports, for instance, youth football coaches can be brought together monthly to deliberate on diverse football topics. Taking a leaf from Xerox’s playbook, peers discussing common challenges can lead to innovative solutions, with equality being paramount. Supporting this with digital platforms, where coaches provide feedback or discuss ‘problems’ during team meetings, can amplify the benefits. Imagine midfielders collaborating to address challenges like positioning during a game – the possibilities are endless. Many of these strategies are already implicitly applied.

The Final Thought

In wrapping up, let’s explore a compelling video that underscores the strength of groups when they collaboratively discover a brilliant, out-of-the-box solution: View the video here.


Kirschner, P. A., Hendrick, C., & Caviglioli, O. (2020). How learning happens: Seminal works in educational psychology and what they mean in practice

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