Now-a-days, we hear a lot about the concept of using collaborative learning in eLearning. To start with, I would define collaborative learning as a platform where learners will be able to interact with their colleagues as well as instructors or training managers, and thus expand their knowledge or skill.
The collaborative learning concept is a highly interactive strategy as in this process, the learner learn not only through learning programs but also through interacting with peers; the learners are partially or sometimes completely responsible for each other’s progress.
For example, if you go back to our school days, during the class, we listened to what the teacher said and then a group discussion was organized by the teacher to discuss the same topic. This used to suddenly increase our motivation levels and helped remember the subject for a longer time.
Collaborative learning is the same platform for discussion but dressed differently.
In this blog I will discuss about collaborative learning and its usage for maximizing product training.
What are the benefits of using collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning can be conducted either offline or online. It allows the learner to learn from the ideas, skills, and experiences of other learners engaged in the process. Listed here are few benefits:
- Improves engagement and retention: With collaborative learning, the work of employees becomes learning and vice versa. They are connected more deeply and take an active part in developing their knowledge and skills, which becomes the biggest factor for retaining.
- Fuels employees’ desire to learn: People tend to learn more when it becomes interesting for them. By using this concept of learning, we can increase employees’ desire to learn more and thus help in performance growth.
- Develops critical and creative thinking: The idea of collaborative learning is to communicate one employee’s idea or thought to other, which results in improved knowledge retention, developed critical thinking and enhanced creativity.
- Brings in innovation: Collaborative learning inspires new ideas. It creates an environment where ideas are motivated and innovation is bought in.
- Develops a purpose driven environment: Collaborative learning helps all employees share their experiences and align with the organizational goals. They are more passionate about their and the organization’s long-term success.
How do we use collaborative learning with eLearning?
Collaboration is a process, where a number of employees are involved in discussions; it’s like a discussion forum. So how can you bring it eLearning? As I discussed above in my example about the group discussions held in school days, collaboration of learners can take place when they undergo a classroom training session or an online web-based training.
Is it mandatory to train first and then collaborate? Yes! It is, because collaborative learning can take place between employees ranging from new hires to senior sales managers. Team members need to acquire basic knowledge or even more about the product to discuss on issues.
How can you maximize the impact of product training?
In any organization, the sales staff is trained on products since they are the ones who interact with customers on a daily basis, across all locations. Though the staff is a newbie or senior, they have to undergo training – either classroom training or an online web-based training – which gives them complete knowledge of products.
But how to maximize the impact of these product training remains one of the biggest fear or question for trainers. Here collaborative learning offers a highly interactive solution. Each staff member who interacts with customers experiences a unique circumstance or hurdle which he has overcome. By having a collaboration of employees after the course, they can share their views, experiences, tough times faced, and their success stories.
This in turn gives a very unique learning experience, since all employees share their knowledge and practical experiences which can help any other employee while dealing with the customer.
What are the collaborative tools that can be used?
There are a number of collaborative tools ranging from concept drafting and brainstorming to developing live projects. It totally depends on which level will you bring in your collaboration learning concept.
- Learning Management Systems: Your LMS can be one of the platforms to facilitate collaboration learning for the employees, this kind of learning will be offline.
- Teleconferencing: This is an online platform for collaboration learning where the learners can login with their credentials and have a web or video conferencing, for example, Zoom, Skype, etc.
- File Sharing Tools: Using this tool, you can manage your content and collaborate online with your team and customers also, for example, Google Drive, Drop Box, etc.
- Social Network and Media: This is again an online platform where learners can discuss, comment, complain, etc., and enhance your learning experiences, for example, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
This concept has allowed educational benefits to reach to more and more learners globally beyond the confines of classrooms trainings. Using this concept delivers a rich, relevant and meaningful learning experience to the learner.
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