Unlike past times when socializing in the workplace was considered unproductive and wasteful, nowadays, we can see that is quite the opposite. Today, company managers are looking for various strategies and tactics to get their employees working together as a group to achieve mutual business goals successfully. One particular strategy that has become widely used in both startup companies and well-established enterprises is collaborative learning.
In general, collaborative learning can be defined as an educational approach that is used in the workplace to enable employees to learn from each other and work together to solve problems, complete a task or create a product. By working in a group, people are more actively engaged in understanding and utilizing the concept rather than simply memorizing certain facts or numbers by heart. This further results in multiple benefits for both organizations and employees.
In this article, we outline why companies use collaborative learning in the workplace and the strategies they rely on to ensure success.
Top benefits of collaborative learning
There are several great benefits of collaborative learning. The most prominent ones for companies include:
- Higher employee engagement;
- Better problem-solving skills;
- Boosted peer interaction;
- Enhanced learning skills;
- Improved employee well-being;
- Increased productivity;
- Easier adaption to change in the work setting.
For example, boosted peer interaction is probably the biggest advantage of collaborative learning. It involves team members working together and sharing their learning requirements with each other and within the company for the good of the organization.
As employees are collaborating, they are improving their communication and interaction skills which further helps them find a solution to a problem that benefits everyone. This then results in increased productivity as workers will be able to complete a task or a project within a given time frame.
In addition, when people are working together effectively, the organization’s chances to adapt to changes may significantly increase.
For example, if your company is considering launching a new technology for which some of your employees are supporting the move while others disapprove of it, the first group can help the latter embrace the new technology simply by talking about its benefits. As a company manager, you can further clear the misconceptions of the other group by providing suitable training and support so they can understand how the new development will simplify and enhance their day-to-day work.
Collaborative learning strategies for companies
Collaborative learning can be implemented in the workplace in many ways and areas, including:
- Team solving exercises;
- Discussion sessions;
- Collaboration software;
- Mentoring and coaching training;
- Job presentations;
- New product development.
For example, since we live in a digital world, using software is essential for improving productivity, engagement, and peer interaction between employees. Through various software, workers can communicate with each other, share documents, complete tasks together and get an insight into the projects in place. This keeps everyone up to date, especially company managers, and ensures the productivity of the whole team.
Also, team-solving exercises are a very effective collaborative learning strategy that helps employees get together and work in a group to pinpoint potential issues and present their solutions to how they will solve the problems. They can do this through open discussion sessions which will allow everyone to share and brainstorm ideas and talk about possible solutions with successful results.
Tips for implementing collaborative learning in the workplace
If you are considering implementing collaborative learning in the workplace, there are a few tips you should follow to help facilitate the process.
Firstly, make sure you keep the groups small, with three to five members at the most so everyone can pitch in equally and provide diverse experiences and feedback on a particular task. Once you have created your groups, remember to assign roles and give them sufficient time to create a work plan with clear goals, deadlines, and responsibility assignments.
Also, be sure to have flexible rules to allow situations within the team to change without interfering or negatively impacting the goal and interaction. You can do so by changing members’ roles periodically to allow greater experience and learning as well as by offering opportunities for support and stress reduction within the learning environment.
The benefits of collaborative learning in the workplace cannot be overlooked. Whether you are a startup company or a well-established business, with this educational approach, you will be able to promote communication in the work setting which is essential for increasing employee interaction, engagement, and productivity.
If you want to know more about it, refer to our post and learn about the advantages of collaborative learning and how you can implement it in your organization.