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Collaborative Learning is Revolutionising Work Efficiency

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Collaborative Learning is Revolutionising Work Efficiency

June 06, 2016 Olivier Pestel

In some ways, technology has enhanced isolation with individuals turning into a self-contained units surrounded by various personal productivity tools at their disposal. However, organisations that can harness the power of these tools to promote collaborative learning are tapping into a great resource that promotes individual growth and positive team dynamics.

Ongoing Employee Development is the Answer

Gone are the days when seniority referred to the number of years spent with the organisation. Employee development is no longer a buzzword but a key business strategy that focuses on a holistic approach to nurturing the rising stars, supporting their growth in the company and directing their path in the organisation’s succession track. Here are the realities present day companies are facing:

  • Skills and demonstrated competencies define the potential of each employee.
  • Executives and senior leaders that encourage their talent to continually grow will often find themselves innovating beyond their competition.  
  • The desire to learn can be set ablaze by making projects social, interactive and role related.
  • Investing in employees shows them they have a career at your company, and they are more likely to remain engaged, motivated and challenged to improve their work output.

Collaborative Learning Should be a Feature in Training

Collaborative learning strategies enable individuals to participate in group learning events and team activities by using tools that allow participation and engagement regardless of time zone, location and different positions in the hierarchy. It stimulates critical thinking because participants are encouraged to develop solutions that are innovative and typically cross multiple departments and disciplines. Employees have different backgrounds and levels of expertise, creating a rich environment for exploring, deconstructing and generating new approaches to existing issues.

A recent study by Deloitte and Google found that Australian companies who implemented collaborative work strategies had:

  • Employees work 15% faster, on average;
  • 73% better work;
  • Innovative approaches to problems occurred 60% of the time
  • 56% of employees are more satisfied.

In many companies, the typical work day for an employee consists of interfacing with colleagues at least 75 percent of the time. This should be indication enough that companies should provide collaborative tools to their employees, making task management amongst teams easier.

Collaborative Learning Strategies that Enhance Employee Engagement

There are various approaches to learning by collaboration, but the goals are consistent with focusing the learning strategies on challenges that are relevant in today’s organisational environments.

For instance, software engineers in Australia’s Silicon beach, traditionally considered lone wolf talents, have been increasingly challenged to work together to develop innovative solutions. Studies show that mistakes are identified and corrected more quickly, innovation happens faster and solutions are identified more easily with collaborative strategies. Working as a team affects job satisfaction in a positive way, contributing to better results. A 2015 study showed that collaboration contributes directly to profitability. There is strength in numbers especially when collaboration is wielded as a primary strategy because studies show that competitive advantage is greatly enhanced when people work together in line with organisational goals.

Tools of the Trade: Social Learning Software

To illustrate the impact of collaborative learning software, consider the real-life experiences of a client that has been involved with Cornerstone OnDemand since 2010. Bright Horizons has used the OnDemand talent management platform for its 26,000 employees. The company hoped to streamline development, performance measures and succession strategies for its employees, but managing professional development programs of this size remained challenging. In 2015, Bright Horizons added Cornerstone's collaborative tools, which were designed to provide opportunities for discussion among participants, ensuring that the learning process became part of the workflow while ensuring that leaders could simultaneously manage various cohort programs.

Cornerstone OnDemand facilitates ongoing training for a large talent pool without requiring a larger investment in teaching resources with social LMS software. Through Cornerstone, access to learning resources increased by 800%, jumping from 1,200 learners in the pre-Cornerstone days to 11,000 learners after the social learning software was deployed. Learning resources have expanded and will continue to expand to include areas that have been traditionally under-served when it comes to development efforts.

Personal Drive + Collaborative Tools = Peak Performance

Cooperative learning techniques drive individual productivity and organisational efficiency. Here are a few more reasons why team collaboration tools should be an easy win:

  • A unified talent management and staff development platform connects the resources of the entire workforce.
  • Collaborative effort that transcends time and location identifies solutions faster.
  • Collaboration drives innovation and productive competitiveness.
  • A streamlined platform can redirect employee focus and motivation.
  • A talent development platform that promotes retention and proficiency supports learning mastery.

The ROI on learning and development investments is measured in terms of how efficiently a company can harness the potential of its talent pool to meet productivity goals while fostering an environment where individual responsibility is nurtured and celebrated. Don’t be the last company to realise the potential of collaboration software, empower your workforce today.  

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