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7 Drivers for Continuous Collaborative Learning

Charles Spofford
on May 04, 2016

Collaborative learning is the way today’s generations in the workplace want to (and expect to) learn. It is one of the best ways to adopt new skills while applying them to everyday work, especially for those who learn best from peers, those who are comfortable learning online and through social channels, and those who prefer to learn from a wide variety of sources both inside and outside of the company. Collaborative learning leverages all of these educational modes.

In a 2015 APQC report, 57% of companies stated ‘employee knowledge sharing’ was a priority for their training and development funding. 61% felt that ‘on-demand training’ programs will be “very likely” by 2020.*

Additionally, a 2015 Gallup survey reported 68% of employees are “not engaged”, defined by Gallup as “less vigilant, more likely to miss work and change jobs when new opportunities arise." 

For employers, evolving to 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, increases your employee engagement and overall commitment. So what is continuous collaborative learning and why is it so important to a talent development strategy?

continuous learning

Bersin by Deloitte defines continuous learning as “an approach to learning in which resources, expectations, and culture encourage employees to learn continuously throughout their tenure with the organization.”**

At PeopleFluent, we see 7 key drivers for successful continuous learning. For it to be effective, learning has to be:

  1. On-demand – YouTube is a social channel of choice when it comes to “how to” information. From tying a bow tie, or programming a garage door opener, to video game tips***, people today want on-demand access to information. Apple’s Siri and now Amazon Echo are the latest examples of on-demand information providers. Modern workplace learning systems are now providing on-demand access to content when and where it is needed!
  2. Consumable – with a majority of today’s workforce now being millennials (or younger), content must be optimized for their attention spans and retention rates. Instructor-led courses and lengthy, computer-based training classes are being replaced with micro-learning content. These short, “bite-sized” learning assets provide bursts of information on specific topics.
  3. Multimedia rich – Employee manuals, training guides, even posters and check-lists are no longer effective in printed form. Video and interactive media are the new standard for delivering and sharing learning content.
  4. Mobile ready – today’s workforce is constantly connected. With mobile device usage at an all-time high, if content is going to be consumed it MUST be optimized for mobile access and delivery.
  5. Employee driven – the most relevant and consumed content is user-generated by subject matter experts, and user-validated by learners via usage and ratings. Millennials place high value and credibility in their peers and turn to social resources like Yelp for dining/shopping, Uber or TripAdvisor for travel, Rotten Tomatoes for movies, Glassdoor for employers, etc. Formal courseware has been passed by for more informal, crowdsourced content.
  6. Self-paced. Allowing employees to learn at their own pace has been shown to actually enhance learning speed and effectiveness. Often, it also enables employees to apply their own learning styles and preferences, which further enhances effectiveness.
  7. Feedback first – Feedback is what today’s workforce demands. Feedback loops can take the form of online quizzes that help to measure the “stickiness” of what’s been learned, as well mentoring, reflection and guidance from peers, co-workers and supervisors. Again, the advantage here is the “instantaneous feedback” and the fact that it can be grounded in real-world situations.

In short, the way in which employees need and want to learn today is changing. Companies who embrace this change and offer alternative methods to consume knowledge will be the employers of choice.

See how PeopleFluent is embracing the future of workplace learning and talent development; learn more about our recent product updates for our learning management software.





*APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center) Talent Trends Survey, April 6, 2015

**Continuous Learning - A Primer, 2015; Dani Johnson, Vice President, Learning & Development; Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP

***In 2014, 10.6 Million Minecraft themed videos were uploaded to YouTube, generating 26.5 Billion views between them

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