Social media is a force and trend that should be embraced, according to new research from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). A new research report, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations finds that regardless of generation, workers in the United States believe that social media tools have an important role to play in workplace learning and development.

The study also finds that most companies have a long way to go when it comes to implementing social media tools for the learning function. While the vast majority of respondents used social media in their personal lives, only 24 percent said their informal learning at work included social media. However, more than 80 percent of survey respondents said social media tools would become an important part of the learning function within the next three years.

The findings show very strong and significant correlations between high use of social media tools at work and respondents' opinions that the tools help them get more and better work done, learn more truly useful things, and learn more in less time.

The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations shows that social media tools have considerable value for the learning function. ASTD President and CEO Tony Bingham says, "Understanding the huge impact Web 2.0 technologies have on how the workforce learns is critical to engaging employees and customers, and ultimately, critical for an organization's growth and success." The topic of social media in the learning function will be addressed by Bingham at ASTD's 2010 International Conference and Exposition on May 17.

For more information on The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations visit www.store.astd.org.