8 Types of Collaborative Training in the Workplace (+Benefits)

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Corporate training has changed a lot over the past years. But perhaps the most significant change is moving away from the traditional instructor-led or text-heavy document-based training models.

The modern workplace considers institutional knowledge as its greatest asset. And to put this institutional knowledge to work, a new method of learning and knowledge-sharing in the workplace has surfaced – collaborative training. 

Collaborate training programs aren’t just regular team trainings; they include several techniques designed to maximize learning and engagement by enabling employees to help one another throughout the learner journey.

What Is Collaborative Training?

Collaborative training is a methodology where employees share their knowledge and expertise, teaching and learning from one another at the same time. This technique helps enhance the overall training experience for employees by capitalizing on their skills, ideas, and knowledge.

Employees gain a better understanding as a group than they do as individuals by listening to other viewpoints, reframing ideas, and articulating their points. This makes collaborative training an effective technique for workplace training.

Benefits Of Collaborative Training

Here are a few benefits of collaborative training in workplace.

1. Building a learning culture

Collaborative training in the workplace helps create a shared learning culture by building an atmosphere where team members are continually collaborating, sharing expertise, and learning with and from one another.

2. Increases employee skills and knowledge

Participating in collaborative training helps employees develop a wide range of skills and knowledge. Not only do they strengthen their existing skills by teaching others, but they also learn new skills from other employees. Thus, collaborative training involves the give and take of knowledge. This reduces the need for formal training while encouraging employees to upskill themselves continually.

3. Better knowledge retention

According to the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, people tend to forget half of the newly acquired knowledge in a matter of days or weeks. Collaborative training provides a solution to this challenge. 

Studies show that active learning increases knowledge retention. Employees have a more involved learning experience with peer-generated courses as it allows them to interact with the learning materials, ask questions, and suggest feedback. Knowledge is retained better in a collaborative training environment because it is corroborated by solid arguments.

4. Better teamwork

It becomes difficult to foster connections and teamwork in a remote work environment. Collaborative training helps individuals develop new connections and find ways to work together by utilizing each other’s strengths.

5. Improves employee engagement and retention

Collaborative learning contributes positively to learning experiences by increasing employee engagement and peer learning, which is otherwise seldom possible. When people learn and work collaboratively, it creates a healthy environment, builds a positive work culture, and creates greater employee satisfaction, ensuring employee retention for the long term.

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8 Examples Of Collaborative Training In The Workplace

Let’s discuss a few examples of collaborative training in the workplace.

1. Collaborative learning communities

A collaborative learning community is an environment that fosters working together to solve problems and meet new objectives. It prioritizes open communication and gives individuals the opportunity to both learn from and teach others.

Here are some examples of how to build a successful community:

  • Create a goal-based plan of action that you want to see fulfilled, and develop the learning community with that plan in mind.
  • Promote active communication within the community.
  • Establish a leader to represent the community. A group leader ensures the community’s goals are met in a way that best fits their learning community.
  • Each individual brings different learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses. The learning community must understand their group dynamic, adapt their strategies in consideration of their different group members, and ensure everyone collaborates and builds upon each other’s ideas.

2. Teams training teams

Another simple yet effective way to bring collaborative training strategies into your workplace practices is to have different teams or departments train other groups on their job responsibilities. 

These sessions allow teams to share their experiences and duties with the rest of the company and allows them to provide insights on ways to solve issues that may involve their area of expertise.

3. Peer learning

Peer learning involves two or more colleagues learning together, requesting or sharing knowledge. For peer collaborative training, employees create learning content for their fellow team members. This is one of the best ways to get employees to share their knowledge and also relieves the L&D teams from constantly creating and updating training materials for employees.

Here are a few ways to implement peer learning:

  • Pair entry-level employees with a more experienced peer, also known as an onboarding buddy. Having a mentor to guide them helps new hires integrate smoothly into the company.
  • Set up online workgroups that allow employees to create collaborative groups. 
  • “Learn at lunch” or “brown bag” events are popular trends in peer training where employees aren’t just gaining new information, but are also interacting with their peers in a relaxed, social environment.

4. Peer reviews

Implementing a peer review system where employees get feedback from their fellow team members is one of the best ways to run performance evaluations. 

Peer reviews enable two-way learning, letting employees view and be inspired by one another’s work. Getting feedback from people other than their manager helps employees learn a lot and allows them to ask questions on the feedback unhesitatingly.

Here’s how to implement peer reviews effectively:

  • Managers select peers for the employee peer review process.
  • Managers communicate the objective for the peer performance evaluation to their team. The goal of peer evaluations is for employees to assist each other and become the finest professional versions of themselves.
  • Peer-to-peer performance review processes can be made more efficient by using intranet or software that streamlines the review process while still eliciting important information and ratings from employees.  
  • Allow employees to express their own views and opinions in addition to the numerical scales.
  • Based on the peer review, managers conduct one-on-one meetings with the evaluated employees to discuss the feedback.

5. Virtual coworking

Virtual coworking facilitates collaboration across remote teams working in different time zones by helping them share knowledge or ideas, feel connected to their workplace, and be more productive.

Here’s how to implement virtual coworking:

  • Implement online collaboration tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, to regulate internal communications and collaborations.
  • HR teams and managers need to schedule regular virtual one-on-one meetings with their employees to make sure there are no challenges.
  • Invest in a knowledge management software to streamline the knowledge-sharing process for remote employees.
  • Create a transparent career path with measurable monthly goals for each employee to give them a sense of direction and create a culture of accountability.
  • Run virtual upskilling workshops for remote employees to learn together, connect with their colleagues, and collaborate.
  • Set up regular coworking sessions so employees can focus on their individual tasks in each other’s presence.

6. Jigsaw method

The jigsaw technique is a collaborative training method where groups and projects are divided among smaller groups of employees. Every individual in the group is assigned a particular sub-topic to focus on. Once they become an expert in a specific portion of the puzzle and understand how it fits into the group’s jigsaw, they coach their partners on the process. 

This technique is very helpful in promoting cooperation and the idea of group success among employees, as employees rely on one another for completing the jigsaw.

Here’s how to implement the Jigsaw technique:

  • Divide the team into small groups of 5-6 employees.
  • Take a project and give each group different tasks.
  • Ask each member of the group to research their topic area within a given time frame.
  • At the end of the time frame, conduct a group meeting so each employee can share their expertise and educate other members.

7. Think-pair-share

Think-pair-share is one of the most common yet low-effort strategies for collaborative training that makes for quick collaboration and active learning in pairs.

As the name implies, the think-pair-share technique involves three steps: thinking (brainstorming on a topic), pairing (making employee groups), and sharing (groups discussing their ideas). The think-pair-share technique gives workplace meetings a structured approach and prompts employees to think critically. 

Here’s how to implement think-pair-share:

  • In the first stage, a manager or team lead decides upon the questions or problem. Employees are given a few minutes to think about the given topic.
  • The second stage involves pairing employees in groups of two or three members to discuss ideas with one another.
  • The third stage is expanded into a group-wide discussion where employees share their answers and learn as a collective.

8. Group problem-solving

Group problem-solving is a type of collaborative training where a group of learners is given a specific problem to solve over a set timeframe. This technique helps improve communication and productivity in a team and motivates learners to seek a deeper understanding of concepts. 

Here’s how to implement group problem-solving:

  • Identify the problem a team is facing and determine the cause.
  • Choose a leader to guide the group problem-solving session.
  • The leader outlines what results the team would like to see in broad terms.
  • Every individual brainstorms ideas/solutions so the group has ample options for possible solutions.
  • At the end, employees present what they have developed, justify their choices, and outline their plans to accomplish the solution.
End Note...

As technology evolves, the job markets keep growing, and employees need to keep themselves updated on the latest skillsets. Every day, they must learn to do something they’ve never done before. And the only way to stay competitive in this ever-evolving environment is to adopt an effective way of learning. 

Collaborative training is a great way to consolidate everybody’s experience, knowledge, curiosity, and brain power to enable employees to learn quickly and solve business problems together. You don’t need to completely overhaul your training program to reap the benefits of collaborative training. Start small by incorporating a couple of the above-mentioned examples in your training program to gauge how your learners respond. 

If you’re looking for an effective employee training solution for your organization, use Whatfix’s digital adoption platform to create scalable employee training flows built directly into your website or enterprise applications.

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