Everything we do these days is shared, so why not learning?

I teach you, you teach me, and we all learn together in collaboration. Everyone has something to offer, a viewpoint with value.

I’ve often taken the stance that we can always learn something new from others, no matter how young or what their experience level. And, the reverse of that is true as well, we can all be teachers, we all have something to give.

That’s what collaborative learning is all about, acquiring knowledge from and teaching our peers in a collaborative setting. It’s like a pot-luck dinner where everyone takes something to the table to contribute.

It’s a procedure that’s easy to put in place, cheap, and effective. You can see why it is attractive for businesses.

Peer Learning Recruiter Jennifer Montalvo says collaborative groups have a positive impact on learners.

“The members of these small groups are allowed the opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning and strengthen their ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize information.”

Jane Hart uses the term ‘social collaboration’ and lists five benefits as she sees it:

  • continuous education and performance improvement
  • improved communication through faster access to information
  • improved employee engagement
  • improved insights into work status, problems and issues
  • easier capture and retention of organizational knowledge

Collaborative learning is also valued highly in the workplace according to a recent survey:

Seventy-five percent of survey respondents say that employee/team-initiated sharing sessions/collaboration is the most useful type of informal learning. Also, according to participants, in-person, interactive and collaborative social learning approaches (lunch and learns, mentoring and coaching) are the most useful in the workplace.

Instead of being a lone gunslinger, working together with peers to learn, find solutions, solve problems, and expand your knowledge base is inestimable.

Two heads are better than one.