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3 Reasons Why You Should Implement Continuous Collaborative Learning

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Erin Cushing
on August 22, 2016

We’ve talked about how important the right learning program is for your organization, but we’ve never highlighted how a continuous learning strategy differs from the more traditional learning programs organizations are familiar with.

Continuous learning is meant to enable employees to develop and improve their skills and knowledge. When implemented correctly, continuous learning empowers employees to perform effectively, adapt to changes in the workplace, and develop into the future leaders the organization will need.

Continuous, collaborative learning strengthens employee development by giving people the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their current roles as well as helping them grow into and prepare for future roles and responsibilities. This, in turn, strengthens employee engagement and overall commitment.

Better employee engagement and development are just two benefits of a continuous learning program that emphasizes collaboration. Here are 3 more reasons why you should consider implementing continuous, collaborative learning:

It Helps Employees Grow in Real Time:

Traditional learning programs are often formalized events, with little flexibility in timing or direction changes. Continuous learning is self-paced, which has been shown to actually enhance learning speed and effectiveness. Continuous, collaborative learning doesn’t just allow employees to learn at their own pace; it also enables them to utilize their own learning styles and preferences, further enhancing learning effectiveness.

Continuous, collaborative learning also draws on other resources to help employees immediately make use of their new skills and knowledge. Well-structured programs will use immediate feedback loops, which can take the form of online quizzes that help to measure the “stickiness” of what’s been learned, as well as ongoing testing, reflection and guidance from peers, co-workers and supervisors. This “instantaneous feedback” allows employees to further entrench lessons into their behaviors and skillsets, increasing the effectiveness of the learning program as a whole.

It Improves Performance Alignment:

Continuous collaborative learning helps enterprises reinforce knowledge, behaviors and skill sets that are tightly aligned with business goals and objectives. When these goals and objectives change, the learning program shifts in response without any lag time. Integrating performance and learning data allows managers to create individualized learning plans for employees that aligns with career development goals, team goals, and organizational goals as well.

It Engages Employees with the Learning Process as Well as with Individual Learning

The best part of continuous, collaborative learning is that employees aren’t just recipients of knowledge they are also mentors and knowledge sharers, with vested interests in advancing the entire learning program. Continuous learning tools make use of your organization’s best resource; its experienced workers as learning facilitators. For example, using video, social networks, podcasts, and next-generation technologies to connect employees to their entire workforce can empower your workforce to access a wealth of experience and information that they might not have available to them regularly. It also engages employees on two levels: one as teacher, the other as learner. This type of collaborative learning better engages workers, and increases retention.

Another example: remote workers who might not be in the office every day, but who have decades of experience, can be available to younger workers through social networks for quick, informal instruction. Employees can also create and share instructional videos that viewers can access on demand as needed. Digital learning is the tool that allows organizations to better leverage their people to facilitate true, continuous collaborative learning.

How are organizations using and benefiting from their continuous learning programs? Find out what we uncovered in our original research report, The State of Continuous Learning.

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