Online training has a lot of great benefits and one major disadvantage: It can be very isolating.
Imagine a room full of employees, each watching the same training video alone at their desks. Then they take a quiz to measure retention, move on with their day, and never engage with the material again. Is it cost-effective? Sure. Is it convenient? Definitely. But is it conducive to productive learning? Not really.
Compare that bleak scene to a traditional in-person learning environment where people engage in group work, discuss ideas with their peers, and teach one another skills they’ve mastered.
It’s not enough to upload training videos to the cloud and let employees watch them on their own time. The isolation of learning in a vacuum isn’t just psychologically difficult—it’s also ineffective for deep learning. Now, when employees are feeling more isolated than ever, these tedious, top-down e-learning programs are doing little to help the situation.
There is a solution. We need to bring collaboration and human interaction back to the online learning environment. We need to give employees a chance to learn with—and from—one another. Science has shown that there are many benefits of collaborative learning for both employees and the organization as a whole.
Need more evidence that collaboration is superior to traditional e-learning? Read on.
1. Increased knowledge retention
Let’s start with the most prominent benefit of collaborative learning: It’s more effective than traditional e-learning at helping people understand complex subjects.
Most organizations take a top-down approach to learning and development (L&D). Instructors directly impart knowledge to employees via video lectures, and employees passively absorb that information.
Collaborative learning redefines the student-teacher relationship by putting learners in direct contact with one another. In this bottom-up approach, team members capitalize on the knowledge-base and skills of others to build shared learning experiences.