The Importance of Social Environments for Personal Development

By Posted in - General HR Topics on January 23rd, 2014 0 Comments

Human beings are social in their very nature. We spend a good amount of our time in social environments. Our work environment is certainly an important social environment for career development. Other important social learning environments include the home, the community, and professional/social organizations. These social environments may help support both personal development goals as well as career development goals.

However, a fundamental question is, “How important are these social environments for personal development?” There are three key points to consider.

Role of Social Environments in Formation of Self-Beliefs

First, we need to recognize that social environments play a major role in the formation of an individual’s self-beliefs concerning their capabilities and likelihood of attaining their development goals. Self-beliefs determine how much effort people will expend on an activity, how long they will persevere, and how resilient they will be in the face of set-backs or disappointments.

When individuals are placed in social learning environments that are understanding and supportive…where ideas, inputs, and efforts are both respected and encouraged, positive self-beliefs are fostered. The result is the individual stays actively engaged in personal development activities and is more likely to succeed.

Power of Social Environments for Collective Knowledge

Secondly, we need to recognize the power of collective knowledge and shared practices. Social environments allow us to benefit from the exchange of information. No one person knows everything relevant to a particular topic or developmental goal, but collectively we can amass an amazing amount of knowledge. Collective intelligence is a valuable component of social environments that can be harnessed for personal development.

Effective Appraisal of Self Through Others Using Social Environments

Thirdly, social interactions allow individuals to view themselves through the eyes of others. Social environments allow us to receive feedback, comments, and suggestions in real time concerning our developmental goals and the observations of our behaviors. Timely feedback is a critical component for personal development and provides a framework for gauging developmental gaps and progress.

There is considerable interest and potential in social learning networks. Social learning networks are designed to optimize the power of social environments for personal development. They consist of a learner and their contacts and other knowledge collaborators. Social learning networks can be as local or global as a learner desires. They can encompass individuals from multiple personal social environments or they could include knowledge collaborators that are unknown to the learner but share similar learning goals and interests.

OMNIview and Social Learning Networks and Environments

OMNIview believes in the potential of social learning networks and is developing a keen understanding of how technology and social media can foster the creation of knowledge and learning communities that accelerate personal development. View other relevant blog articles we have written on this subject, The Way of the Future: Enterprise Social Collaboration/Learning Networks and Introducing a New Development Concept – Development Circles.

Are you on a personal development quest? Contact OMNIview to learn about our plans to create a social collaborative learning environment to help you succeed.

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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