The net spending on workplace training now amounts to over 200 billion USD. That is huge! However, statistics report that the completion rates of online courses are between 20-30%. It hints that somewhere something is not working in the right way. To resolve this matter, L&D experts came together to come up with the ultimate solution i.e Collaborative Learning.
What is Collaborative Learning?
Collaborative learning is the workplace training methodology that aims to dispel knowledge within the organization by actively engaging the employees. It is a response to the traditional top-down management methodology where the instructor takes the lead. Here, employees along with the subject matter experts (SMEs) are the center of the locus.
From E-Learning to We-Learning.
Such a training methodology proves to be far more efficient than self-learning training where employees are left at the mercy of passive video lectures. Interestingly, collaborative learning focuses on developing memory pathways by reiterating knowledge. In this way, one retains the information for longer durations, as described by the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.
The concept falls under the category of Macro-Learning - learning methods focusing on the group-learning approach, unlike the individual-learning approaches i.e Micro-Learning.
Do not confuse Collaborative learning with Cooperative learning. The former focuses on training professionals whereas, the latter focuses on teaching students interactively.
Benefits of Collaborative Learning
Democratic exchange of knowledge
Unlike traditional corporate training where experts engage in 'banking education', collaborative learning emphasizes the participation of all. Hence, employees get to exchange their views and raise concerns equally. Moreover, it empowers them and makes them feel valued. Besides, nobody gets burdened by the weight of educating the rest since all equally participate in the training process.
Relevant to organizational needs
A primary issue with corporate training, in general, is making it requirement-specific. With collaborative learning, content can be designed to meet the specific needs of the employees and the company. Thus, this learning technique is also target-specific. Along with that, given the rapid changes in the corporate industry, keeping up with the changes can be stagnating for a company's growth. This is where collaborative learning comes into play. It acts like a smart educating tool that is flexible and so can adapt to the budding changes in the needs of any organization.
With no more beating around the bush, the training saves resources and time. Courses are content-specific and hosted on digital training platforms i.e better connectivity, which means workers can learn even from the comforts of their homes or at their working spaces. Interestingly, it also helps cut down costs spent on 'expert training gurus' and instead places the onus of learning on the entire community.
As mentioned above as well, a feature that makes this learning methodology truly stand part is its adaptability. Since the courses can be easily be updated, it enables the training to stay flexible and ever-relevant with the times.
Last but certainly not least, collaborative training is impact-centric i.e. it focuses rather on the impact of its outreach than the numbers of its outreach. The number of your courses and the student strength do not matter in the long run. What really matters is how well the employees are learning and then implementing the knowledge. One can easily assess by following the ROI of the organization and by paying attention to the feedbacks of the participants.
Collaborative learning in practice
So here is a scenario to help you understand how collaborative learning actually works.
The effective design of collaborative learning will appear on the top left corner of the graph above. As its primary aims are to maximize memory retention and group engagement. A perfect design embodies the features of a cohort-based learning methodology. Cohorts are groups of like-minded individuals that come together for a shared goal. In this particular case, the cohort revolves around the office community of any organization that aims to enrich themselves for greater productivity.
When designing a training course on this particular form, pay due attention to collaborative learning strategies and unique ways of including them in the training sessions. Here is a brief guide on some of the top collaborative strategies: 10 Collaborative Learning Strategies.
Here is a case to help you see how the collaborative technique functions.
Think for instance the company has introduced new and improved software to keep track of the company accounts. Now the heads wish for the employees to get the hang of it and start using a tool that they have invested lots of money in. However, the dilemma here is that training the staff is both time-consuming and expensive. So how can the company ensure that the workforce transition to the new changes effectively and quickly?
Simple! By implementing collaborative learning. By designing a course and launching it on an LMS, designers can ensure quick and accessible outreach of the information. Moreover, the SMEs in the company will come together along with the employees to co-teach and learn. Fellow colleagues can work together and help each other where the other lags behind.
Such an approach will result in four broad outcomes:
- Developing a strong learning culture in the workforce
- Making the workforce adaptive and responsive to changes
- Encourages active enagement
- Builds a sense of community free from toxic corporate competition.
Collaborative Learning tool
Finding a compatible tool to host your learning content on can be difficult. Especially when one is already caught up with a lot of important things to take care of and could not take on the hassle of figuring out which LMS to use. Well, to help you out of your confusion and save you time, we will do the job for you.
For any platform for collaborative learning following are some of the features you need to especially focus on.
- Cohort-based course complaint
- Live video streaming service integration
- Flexibility to add applications
- User-friendly interface
- Accessible 24/7 live support
Teachfloor is a state-of-the-art learning management system that happens to tick all of these boxes and much more. As a platform designed especially to serve the cohort-based course community, it comes equipped with all the features you could ever require.
There is Zoom integration to host and scale your training sessions live and remote. Users and the freedom of adding their applications like syncing calendar with the schedules on the platform. Moreover, it has inbuilt collaborative features such as Peer Review, Discussion Wall, and community section. People can easily navigate their way around the simple yet smart interface. Furthermore, training sessions can be recorded to create a company database library.
- Zoom integration
- Curriculum builder
- Community space
- Discussion wall
- Peer review
- Analytics dashboard
- Multi-instructor facilitation
- Email automation
In conclusion, collaborative learning is so much more than just an efficient training strategy. It is about building lasting and dependable learning systems in the corporate environment of any organization. It is about collective learning and collective growth.