Collaborative learning brings value and strength to organizations. employee productivity, innovation, and knowledge retention. But its benefits go far beyond that.
6 benefits of collaborative learning and why your business needs it
Collaboration isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s one that we use every day in many areas of our lives. And it’s one that happens especially in the workplace. From fast-food restaurants to hospitals and law firms – every day, employees work together to achieve common goals and company objectives.
Collaboration alone has many benefits. But many employers may not have heard of collaborative learning – an extension of collaboration – and the benefits it can bring to their business.
Collaborative learning is a training methodology that involves two or more learners working together to achieve a learning goal such as solving a problem or understanding concepts. Collaborative learning results in increased employee productivity, innovation, and of course, collaboration. But its benefits go far beyond that.
Here are six ways collaborative learning can benefit your organization and why you should look for more opportunities to incorporate it.
What is collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning is a training method that uses groups to enhance learning. In collaborative learning, two or more people work together to learn new concepts, solve problems, or complete tasks.
Similar to social learning, collaborative learning relies on an exchange of ideas and skills between people to conduct learning. Through this exchange, people are actively engaged in the learning process as opposed to passively hearing information or individually memorizing it.
In essence, collaborative learning requires learners to work together to learn things. Collaborative learning can take on many forms, including discussions, brainstorming, and problem-solving.
In a collaborative learning environment, an instructor may present learners with a problem that they have to work together to solve. Or have the learners participate in a facilitated discussion. Most anything that gets learners actively involved in the learning process with others could likely be considered collaborative.
6 benefits of collaborative learning
Collaborative learning is one of the best learning methodologies out there. It increases collaboration and interconnectedness amongst learners and across departments, bringing value and strength to organizations. Here are its top business benefits.
1. Democratizes an organization's approach to training
Traditional corporate training methods typically focus on a top-down approach. Generally, training needs are determined by administrators, sometimes based on feedback from management, and then passed down to employees. With collaborative learning, training is decentralized and largely placed in the hands of employees.
In collaborative learning, leadership may still provide structure and guidance during a training session, but employees are encouraged to identify their own learning needs and then convey those needs to management.
This bottom-up approach helps facilitate a few things within an organization such as greater buy-in from employees, more training relevance, and better impact.
When employees know they have a say in training, they’re more likely to be engaged from the start and throughout the process. An organization is also more likely to hear the true needs and weaknesses of an organization because it’s coming directly from employees on the ground.
As a result, employees receive targeted training that’s highly relevant to them and actually has a greater impact on the organization. Through this process of decentralizing training, organizations can weed out weak areas and boost them with trainings that actually matter to employees and make a real impact.
2. Increases employee performance and job satisfaction
One of the biggest benefits of collaborative learning is that it can greatly increase employee performance and reduce turnover. Collaborative learning fosters an environment of open discussion and information sharing.
When employees feel that their ideas, feedback, and communication are valued within an organization, they’re more likely to stay with it. Open discussions also contribute to a feeling of inclusion in the workplace and make employees feel that they’re part of a larger team who makes a difference with their contributions.
Organizations that create a positive environment for their employees to connect reduce employee isolation and disengagement. And many studies have shown that when employees feel like they belong to a group or a team, they are more motivated to do a better job.
These organizations foster a sense of community and belonging. They also communicate to employees that their voice, skills, and background matter. In hand, employees are more likely to be satisfied with their position and stay loyal to an organization.
3. Gets users into an active state of learning for better knowledge retention
Another great benefit of collaborative learning is that it gets learners into an active state of learning instead of a passive one. Passive learning is an instructor-focused method of learning where learners often hear instructional material, reflect on it, and internalize it. In this method, learning and retention are on the student – often leading to low course completion rates.
Active learning, on the other hand, actively engages students in the learning process through discussions, role-playing, problem-solving, and peer interaction. With this method, employees are physically active in the learning process.
Active learning leads to better knowledge retention and higher training completion rates. It also helps improve critical thinking skills, increases motivation, and improves employee interpersonal skills.
4. Helps remote and global employees stay connected
Remote and global employees are particularly susceptible to feelings of isolation and disengagement. Even if they touch base with teammates frequently, it’s usually quick and focused on the work at hand, preventing any deep connection.
Collaborative learning gives employees a space to stay connected on a deeper level without having to pay expensive travel and lodging expenses. You can host virtual events that allow employees to connect with other employees on their team or across departments, keeping them engaged and connected to your organization.
You can also use it as an opportunity to reinforce your company culture, helping you to maintain it worldwide. When employees are virtual, it’s hard to gauge their engagement levels. Collaborative learning can help you keep a pulse on your employees, let them know they matter, and help drive deeper connections between employees and your departments.
5. Fosters innovation, problem-solving, and skill sharing
Collaborative learning promotes a free exchange of thoughts and ideas. It also brings together employees and their unique experiences and skill sets. When people, with all different skill sets, abilities, and backgrounds work together to solve problems, it naturally results in more – and faster – innovation.
The shared responsibility that each employee feels, combined with each person’s unique skills, means problems can typically be solved faster and more creatively – not typically something that’s possible with passive learning. Active learning also plants the seed with employees to be solution-oriented when faced with obstacles.
And when employees are given the opportunity to share their knowledge, they not only sharpen their own skills but pass it along to others. Encouraging knowledge sharing helps create cross-departmental relationships and fosters a culture of collaboration rather than isolation, which can lead to immediate innovation or help build connections to do so in the future.
6. Promotes a stronger overall company
Collaborative learning is an excellent way to strengthen a company overall. When employees have the space and opportunity to connect with one another, it prevents siloing. Siloing can be dangerous for companies because it leads to disengaged employees, low productivity, and even duplicated results.
The best thing about collaborative learning is that it promotes connection across learners and departments, breaking down silos. Learners are able to exchange skills and knowledge that can lead to innovation or understanding that pays off tenfold for a company.
It also reaches all learners in a company to keep them connected and engaged. As a result, employees are more inclined to remain with a company, increase their productivity, and contribute more to their team.
Collaborative learning goes far beyond just learning. It promotes a culture of interconnectedness and a continuous feedback loop of what’s working and not working within an organization. This can help organizations continuously improve their organization and help it adapt to changes – all of which strengthen it and make it more valuable.
A learning management system provides collaborative learning experiences without the hassle
A learning platform can provide a collaborative learning experience without the hassle. Tovuti’s learning management includes virtual classrooms and an event management feature, so you can increase collaboration across your learners and organization, without having to host expensive in-person events.
And with over 40 plug-and-play gamified features, you can get your learners even more engaged with your training. Leverage Tovuti’s leaderboard, awards, and certifications to increase motivation and make learning fun. Afterward, you can follow up your interactive experiences with fun, high-quality self-paced learning courses to reinforce retention.