Why Slack Might Become the #1 Tool for Learning

Most learning and development material will tell you that an LMS is the most efficient digital tool we can use to deploy online training. In this article I'll look at how some businesses are using Slack.

I met with an L&D Manager of a multinational company yesterday, who has been involved in a project to implement Slack into her organisation. The key driver for this was to replace tools such as Yammer, Skype and Jive (which haven't seen much engagement) and to consolidate these platforms into one tool.

Slack versus email

Whilst email is still the number one tool in business for communication, it is undeniably bloated and unproductive - how often are you copied into an irrelevant email?

It happens less now that I work for myself, but in the corporate world over half the emails received I was simply copied into.

With statistics suggesting the average office worker receives 121 emails per day, cutting down on information overload would be a great way to increase productivity (and give us more time to learn).

But what if content of that email is useful to us, but we don't need to be notified (i.e. distracted) as the email arrives?

This is where Slack really excels - powerful search throughout organised channels allows us to quickly find information on a specific topic or person, whilst keeping the conversation style of communication that we all enjoy via text message and WhatsApp.

Powerful search throughout organised channels allows us to quickly find information on a specific topic

My experience with Slack

I have been managing several Slack communities for the past 12 months, and there is no denying that it is an incredible tool for learning.

One of the biggest challenges I have faced in starting an eLearning business is the scope of new skills I have had to acquire - sales, marketing, project management, finance, business administration, software tools... the list is endless.

Thanks to Slack, I have been able to communicate quickly within my online communities, find answers and implement solutions without the need for emails back and forth, learning from content such as blogs, video tutorials or webinars, or even using more formal learning mechanisms such as online training (which aren't really geared for providing quick answers).

Whilst I believe that there is a place for the LMS in helping organisations deliver structured training - I can only see a future where tools like Slack are actively supported to support social, collaborative learning.

I believe that the key to the success of these tools is buy-in from the top - but I'll save that for another email.

Whilst I believe there is a place for the LMS, I can only see a future where tools like Slack are actively supported.

Slack versus the LMS

Of course, if we were to wave a magic wand and create the perfect learning platform, it would combine all the functionality of a modern LMS with the powerful communication features of Slack.

But for us to get there, we need to see the LMS vendors step up their game to provide a similar feature set to Slack within the LMS.

But I think we're a little way off seeing that... and maybe it will happen the other way round?

i.e. Slack continues to develop to have some form of integrated learning management functionality, in order to deliver and track content?

We're already seeing some sexy plugins that allows us to post videos and create surveys to ask for approval or opinion.

It's not a huge stretch to imagine these plugins becoming more complex, to include analytics on content views and more detailed feedback.

My head is spinning at the opportunities. Have you tried Slack yet? Can you see it being a useful tool for learning?

If you enjoyed reading this article, you're going to love my free 5-day email crash course - 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an eLearning Project.

Ant Pugh

108A Tooting Bec Road, 108A Tooting Bec Road