In today’s modern workplace, there are many different tacks that you can take when providing training for your employees. From time-tested classroom-style workshops to one-on-one mentoring programs your choices are many. You can also choose from fully digital online learning or mobile training in the field, to blended learning using a combination of live, in-person and electronic instruction. Arguments in favor and against all of these methods abound.
It is however, becoming more apparent that by combining Elearning (and specifically blended learning) with the concept of “community-based work environments” you can maximize your training effectiveness and efficiency as never before.
Elearning is of by itself a rather solitary approach to training. The learner participates in the program on a computer or mobile device and works their way through the course material at their own pace. There are many advantages to this style of training. To see a little more in-depth the benefits associated with E-learning please check out our 4 Techniques That Make E-learning Extraordinary blog post.
However, when this type of learning is shared with others, either in the workplace or with fellow trainees online through chat rooms and forums, studies show learning can really take off. According to a research study performed by the iCohere group entitled Building eLearning and Blended Learning communities, 70% of what an employee needs to know about their job for success is captured outside of formal training.
“When you encourage mentor-ship, sharing of knowledge and instill a sense of pride in those who help their colleagues, you are effectively extending the classroom to the everyday work environment.”
While valuable knowledge and many skills can be acquired through a quality online training program, it is only through everyday application of these capabilities that the learner is truly able to grow and evidence professional performance improvement.
Through community workplace practices, the learner is taught effective problem solving skills through fostering teamwork. Group activities such as brainstorming sessions and even casual gatherings encourage a sense of community that is equally concerned about addressing the issues of everyone involved, regardless of duties or title.
This teamwork can then be spread throughout the workplace where teams and departments are really the cornerstone of most companies. The individual is becoming more important, but emphasis is almost always placed on collaborative teamwork. As the iCohere study goes on to say:
“By encouraging collaborative learning and a spirit of continuous improvement, you’ll be enhancing their group’s integration. When training becomes more than a solitary activity… teamwork naturally follows.”
Again, Elearning can be a bit of a lonesome affair, especially if the employee is having some difficulty grasping the course content or any element thereof. This is where encouraging staff to share what they know with less informed co-workers in a collaborative learning environment can become an effective solution to learners who might otherwise lose focus.
As in anything community oriented, the idea is to grow or strengthen the group by assisting members of that community in areas that may be causing them to struggle.
In a sense, it is truly a “paying it forward” scenario. When those who have been assisted in the past are in turn in a position to help the next employee, they are more than likely to engage in that positive behavior stemming from gratitude and loyalty to those who have gone before. Adhering to practices such as this can really be interpreted as instilling a potent set of values in your workplace.
When your staff collectively practice such behaviors as communication, cooperation and responsibility of their own volition, you are well on the way to having a community based work environment that improves upon online training and is beneficial to the company as a whole.