Collaborative Learning Benefits For Employee Onboarding
As we’ve seen in our previous article, all truly successful employee onboarding programs are built through cross-team collaboration and teamwork. Now, in this chapter, we’re going to break down the three key roles of Collaborative Learning in onboarding new hires.
Before we begin, a brief explanation of why Collaborative Learning is so important to us at 360Learning. Collaboration is embedded within every feature of our platform and runs through every step of our onboarding process. From product development to sales, from accounts to HR, 360Learners work side-by-side to solve complex problems by contributing specialist knowledge–and that includes building the right new employee onboarding program.
With that in mind, here’s how we put this focus on Collaborative Learning to work in our new hire onboarding program.
3 Essential Roles Of Collaborative Learning
1. Decentralizing The Learning Process With Collaborative Learning
A key part of building a Collaborative Learning culture is decentralizing the learning process. Of all our employee onboarding tips, this is one of the most important. In traditional centralized learning and onboarding, training flows out from a single point: instructors teach and employees learn. But now, many businesses are championing a more decentralized learning approach, making this system obsolete. More employees are working remotely and asynchronously, and they need to break learning into small chunks that fit into their daily work schedule, no matter where they are in the world. This has a lot to offer when onboarding new hires, as it enables a Collaborative Learning culture.
The first step in decentralizing learning is to shift to online classes that can be completed in micro-sessions according to a learner’s availability. These Collaborative Learning activities should start with your L&D team, but it also requires encouragement and support from management and company leadership. This is a key part of what remote learning looks like today. It’s also a critical employee onboarding tip: by offering new hires greater flexibility in their learning, you make it easier for them to complete their learning on time.
In traditional, top-down onboarding, executives or a company’s L&D department will make educated guesses about employees’ knowledge gaps and either create or outsource courses to correct those gaps. Courses are expensive to produce and can take months to create. Knowledge flows downward without input from the people receiving it. In short, learning is just a one-way street, with little room for engagement.
With a bottom-up, democratic approach to preboarding and onboarding, employees use Collaborative Learning tools to make requests for learning opportunities. Everyone can vote on which courses would be most useful, and anyone can offer to teach a course. Courses can be created and updated much more quickly, which helps the company keep its workforce up-to-date on important skills. According to our research, among companies that use 360Learning, non-L&D members create 85% of the courses–including onboarding courses. This is a key part of fostering a Collaborative Learning culture.
2. Emphasizing Self-Directed Training With Collaborative Learning
The second key role of Collaborative Learning in great onboarding? Emphasizing the importance of self-directed training. This is another key employee onboarding tip.
When you enable self-directed training (including during the onboarding process), you support your employees’ growth and also maximize the benefits for your company. Self-directed training gives your team the most autonomy and flexibility: they can complete courses on their own schedule and work toward their targets independently. They can fit courses around other work, because they’re empowered to manage their own responsibilities.
But despite the name, self-directed training isn’t just a solo Collaborative Learning activity. In fact, when it comes to onboarding, the entire company has the chance to get on board. Team managers and the L&D department collaborate to act as facilitators that help set learning targets, suggest courses, facilitate the flow of learning content, and create a schedule. Employees identify their own learning needs, and executives promote learning within the company and also lead by example by sharing their own learning goals–one of the biggest benefits of Collaborative Learning.
This self-directed approach to Collaborative Learning activities aligns with what learners themselves want: according to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, 74% of learners want the freedom to take courses at their own pace. At the same time, 75% say they would take a course their manager recommended. Delivering learning experiences that match these preferences is a key part of building a Collaborative Learning environment.
And for the last benefit of Collaborative learning in onboarding new hires, let’s turn to the role of knowledge-sharing.
3. Promoting Knowledge-Sharing Through Collaborative Learning
This employee onboarding tip might sound obvious, but a lot of companies still have a hard time with it. We’re talking about leveraging subject-matter expertise through Collaborative Learning.
When you hire a talented team, your employees are your greatest resource. They have the skills, the smarts, and the expertise to help your new hires succeed–and they can do it through creating a Collaborative Learning culture within your onboarding program. All you need to do is tap into that resource and set your subject-matter experts free.
With old-school, top-down onboarding, businesses run the risk of creating information silos. For example, sales teams are only told about sales goals, and marketing departments lack insight into product development.
Everyone is working on their own niche, with no way to lift their heads and see where the company is going. In contrast, Collaborative Learning enables L&D teams and employees to create and fulfill learning needs together. As a result, employees are more invested in the onboarding process. They help create quality courses that L&D teams don’t have to buy or source through expert interviews. Other elements such as discussion forums, peer coaching, and employee-generated content also help.
This is one of the biggest benefits of Collaborative Learning when onboarding new hires. In contrast with this traditional siloed approach, employees can teach each other about their work and gain valuable visibility into other departments, which helps them stay aligned on global strategy and promotes collaboration across teams, even when onboarding remotely. Employees become more invested in the company as a whole, and being part of a learning community and sharing knowledge leads to higher employee satisfaction.
So, how can you put these three benefits of Collaborative Learning to work in your onboarding process? All it takes is an investment in the right Collaborative Learning platform.
Download the eBook New Hire Roadmap: All The Employee Onboarding Resources You Need From Day 1 To Day 90 And Beyond to learn how to launch a new hire training program that makes a mark and fosters lifelong L&D. Also, join the webinar to stay updated with a new hire roadmap that will leverage your onboarding process!