Collaborative Learning Strategies Your Employees Need to Know

Collaborative learning strategies encourage employees to work together, making it easier to attain training objectives. Employees are required to work with their colleagues during collaborative learning. This type of learning helps individuals attain higher thinking levels. An individual is more likely to retain the information they acquire for longer if they work together with their colleagues.

This is attributed to the fact that groups typically learn through discussion. Groups clarify ideas and evaluate them, which encourages learning. Researchers believe that discussions may help individuals to retain most of the information they learn.

Collaborative Learning Strategies

1. Define Objectives and Goals

Collaborative learning can only be effective if a group is aware and understands what it is working towards. One of the most important collaborative learning strategies is to define objectives and goals. This should be done before the groups start working on a specific assignment. It helps to save time and keeps the group focused on the task.

2. Create Flexible Rules

Rules are essential during collaborative learning to guide group interactions. A group needs to interact to learn. But this interaction needs to be guided. Employees should be encouraged to establish their own rules during collaborative learning.

The rules should change depending on the situation. Inflexible rules can encourage intolerance and rigidity in a group. Employees should have an opportunity to alter the rules to suit different situations.

3. Develop Trust and Encourage Open Communication

Organizations that want to apply collaborative learning strategies need to develop trust and encourage open communication during training. This will help to promote interpersonal communication. Collaborative learning can only take place if the group members are communicating with one another.

Trust is established when the employee’s expectations are aligned around similar objectives. Employees should know the specific actions that will help them attain the shared group objectives. Once trust is established, group members will be willing to communicate openly with one another.

Create training assignments that encourage group members to explain ideas to one another. The explanations should be detailed. Research evidence reveals that employees who offer and receive elaborate explanations learn better. This can also be applied in training settings in an organization.

4. Divide Large Tasks into Small Roles

Collaborative learning strategies should encourage group members to participate in tasks. Difficult tasks can be overwhelming especially if they are assigned to a single group. Divide large tasks and assign roles for each group member. This helps to save time and makes it easier for the employees to handle the task. The roles can be switched to allow each trainee to explore the different aspects of each task.

5. Offer Pre-tests and Post-tests

If you are looking for effective collaborative learning strategies, you should consider using tests before and after training. This strategy allows a training manager to determine if groups are actually learning.

A pre-test will make it easy for the training manager to identify specific areas that they need to focus on to promote learning. The outcomes offer the group members something to work towards. Training instructors can measure the group’s effectiveness using assessments.

Post-tests make it easy to determine if the training objectives have been attained. Changes can also be made to promote learning further in future training sessions. The employees can also use the tests as an opportunity to reflect on their own learning experience. Reflection enhances learning because it allows employees to determine if they have achieved organizational and personal goals.

6. Focus on Real Situations

This is one of the most effective collaborative learning strategies. Instructors should focus on real situations when creating training material. Employees are more likely to relate to the material if it is based on situations they have experienced.

Use everyday situations in the workplace or home to come up with scenarios. This will encourage the employees to offer their opinions and discuss the training material. It is difficult for employees to relate with artificial scenarios they have not experienced.

7. Promote Problem-Solving

Collaborative learning strategies have to incorporate problem solving. Employees need an opportunity to think critically to come up with solutions. Create assignments that allow different interpretations. This encourages discussion between the employees. Come up with different problems that require employees to organize, plan, and form solutions.

Employees should be encouraged to identify objectives when they have a problem. They also need to set goals, collect data, and come up with various options. These options should be evaluated carefully based on the collected data and objectives set. This puts them in a good position to make a decision and implement it. Collaborative learning involves step-by-step problem solving.

8. Consider Group Diversity

Collaborative learning strategies cannot work if you do not consider group diversity. Instructors have to understand that a group is made up of different individuals with varying learning styles and personalities.

Each group member has unique ideas, experiences, interests, and backgrounds. Collaborative learning takes place through interaction. Every employee can make a significant contribution to the group. Instructors should mix up the group members to promote learning. Rotate the groups to give employees an opportunity to learn from one another.

9. Take Advantage of Scaffolding

Instructors have to offer a lot of direction during training especially at the beginning of the training session. But this changes with time as the employees grasp the training material.

Offer more direction when training starts by being a facilitator. An instructor should gauge group interactions at the beginning. They can also offer a list of items that the groups can discuss. But the instructor’s responsibility should diminish as the training session continues.

Allow the employees to take responsibility for their interactions. Trainees should have an opportunity to choose the topics they want to discuss. Increased responsibility is one of the main goals of collaborative learning.

10. Define Roles

Collaborative learning works best when roles are clearly defined. Each employee should understand their role during the training session. Instructors should outline responsibilities before training starts. This promotes learning because individuals understand what is expected of them.

Collaborative learning strategies can be valuable during training. These strategies can be used to encourage employees to work with each other to solve problems. They promote communication and sharing of ideas. However, this is only possible if an instructor builds trusts, defines roles, and considers group diversity. Organizations should take advantage of collaborative learning strategies to attain their objectives.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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