“Collaborative learning is a personal philosophy, not just a classroom technique. In all situations where people come together in groups, it suggests a way of dealing with people, which respects and highlights individual group members’ abilities and contributions. There is a sharing of authority and acceptance of responsibility, among group members for the group’s actions” (Ted Panitz-1996)
Learning together and sharing experiences with other colleagues, will help your sales team gain additional knowledge and fill in the information gaps, about a product and its features. It may not be possible to include dynamic and latest case studies, about the products in Classroom or eLearning based training. Collaborative learning can be an add-on, to increase the knowledge about the products, with real-time information.
Collaborative learning helps your sales team to share their experience, inspiring each other, while discussing and debating on real-time issues. It motivates them in thinking process. Moreover, it helps them to understand the product features and learn selling skills better. This approach focuses more on social learning, rather than academic learning.
Now a days, many Web 2.0 technologies and applications are available for both Asynchronous and Synchronous methods ofcollaborative learning.
Asynchronous collaborative tools: This can be used any time and in any place, with no need to go online. For example Blogs, Discussion Forums, Podcast, Social Media, Offline Messaging, Email Communications, Sharing Resources, Collaborative Assignment tool, etc.
Synchronous collaborative tools: This can be used by online users. For example Chat, Live web conferencing, etc.
These collaborative tools may not be costly or, maybe they are already available on your training platforms such as in the Learning Management System (LMS). Most of the LMSs will have these Web 2.0 tools for collaborative learning. There are many reasons why most of the organizations may not utilize the collaborative tools, available in their LMS.
Some factors, such as lack of motivation to participate and technical competency, may affect collaborative learning approach. Instructors play an important role in collaborative learning. It becomes their responsibility, to motivate learners to participate and help them learn from each other. On the other hand, it requires both the learner and the instructor to have technical competency in using these tools.
To use collaborative learning tools for your sales training, it is important that proper training on tools and motivation is given. Moreover, these tools should be very user-friendly and provide good technical support. You may go for customization, if required. Any technical difficulty may frustrate the learner and he may lose interest in collaborative learning.
Your LMS may also have collaborative tools; you may contact your LMS administrator or service provider, to know more about the availability of these tools.
So why don’t you try this collaboration training approach, to train your sales team on your upcoming products?