Learn How To Empower Your Subject Matter Experts
Your company is brimming with talent—the talent you carefully selected. While each employee at your company is there to do their job, your employees could do so much more. Everyone at your company has unique experiences and knowledge that make them who they are. With the right collaborative learning strategies, you can spread that knowledge to your entire team.
But what is collaborative learning? Collaborative learning helps teams learn fast, stay people-centric, and distribute ownership.
In other words, if you’re not using collaborative learning strategies, you’re not getting the full potential out of your team. Collaborative learning strategies can enable you to create an environment of learning where employees bring out the best in one another. To help you build a culture of collaboration and ensure you’re getting the most out of your team—and that your team is getting the most out of one another, too—we’ve compiled several strategies to get you started.
1. Peer Training Activities: Employees Helping One Another
Peer training activities are when you pair employees together to learn and share knowledge as a team. Peer training’s strength lies in its ability to get coworkers talking, building camaraderie, and facilitating reciprocal knowledge sharing.
Peer training activities involve knowledge sharing between two or more people. In order to facilitate this, create an environment and implement activities that make people feel free and safe to learn and share.
- Organized peer training sessions are one route. Set aside blocks of time for your team to discuss something they learned. These can be formal presentations on a topic, or more informal discussion sessions simply led by an individual.
- Brainstorming sessions around a recurring challenge are another type of peer training activity. Present your team with a problem that keeps arising and see what solutions they come up with as a group. These sessions allow for collaboration and discussion, which both inevitably lead to knowledge sharing.
- Let your employees present on customer challenges or wins. These are great jumping-off points for group discussions and can lead to knowledge sharing and preventing those challenges from reoccurring.
There’s no set-in-stone guidance around peer training activities. Feel free to incorporate your own branding or put your own spin on this collaborative learning strategy. The important thing is that your team is learning and growing—together.
2. Coaching Culture: Peer-Guided Learning
Create a coaching culture in which peers take on the responsibility of acting as coaches for their teammates. Coaches will help teach their peers with direct training and act as guides as they move deeper into their career.
The primary perk of coaching culture is that it takes some of the onus of training from management and allows employees to carry the torch. Like peer training, this collaborative learning strategy can result in both parties learning from each other.
Coaching can be a formal role, similar to a mentor or leader, or an activity in which select employees engage.
If coaching is a formal role, it’s likely an important activity for that employee. This type of role could lead to a management position, or continue as a subset of that individual contributor’s responsibilities. Coaches are different from management in that one of their primary goals is helping others grow, while managers often have various leadership tasks on their plate in addition to employee growth.
Coaching as an activity isn’t necessarily reserved for those looking to take on management positions, but can be a great way to give experienced employees the chance to share knowledge and help mentor others. If you have seasoned employees looking to share their expertise and create a smoother onboarding process for new hires, coaching is a great way to make this happen.
Regardless of the formality, coaches should work with peers to help them fill in knowledge gaps, identify goals, and build a path to achieve them. Regularly check in with your coaches to see how they feel the relationships are developing, and check in with those being coached as well.
3. Peer Reviews: Employees Working And Learning
Peer reviews, or peer feedback loops, are all about giving employees the chance to review one another’s work. This collaborative learning strategy not only allows for two-way learning but also knocks out some of the work another employee is typically responsible for. This type of learning is most applicable in creative settings, but can be useful elsewhere.
Peer review can vary in practice depending on your industry and the responsibilities of your employees. If your employees are responsible for creating anything, like articles or designs, have them pair up and peer-review each other’s work.
Peer reviewing isn’t a direct replacement for an editor, but it allows your employees to get experience on the other end of the creative spectrum and gives them the chance to swap knowledge and learn from each other’s styles and methods.
4. Employee-Led Courses: Peers Becoming Subject Matter Experts
Give your employees a platform and encourage those willing to educate on a subject through employee-led courses and training.
Employee courses are great at building confidence in your team and giving them the chance to flex their expertise. Employee courses also result in a more well-rounded and educated team overall, without requiring additional input from Learning and Development (L&D) or management. And as an added perk, teaching a course will help the employee teaching learn that subject even better!
Start by equipping your employees with the right tools to create courses on subjects they’re knowledgeable in. With a platform that encourages peer learning, your team can make courses and quickly share knowledge. These courses can relate to work, pulling from employee experiences with customers and so on to make them unique.
You’re also free to feature courses on virtually anything. Knowledge is power, even when it’s not directly related to your company! Featuring employee-led courses that cover a wide range of topics is still a great way to help your team build confidence, spread knowledge, and practice making courses.
5. Crowdsourced Wikis: Leveraging Institutional Knowledge
Company wikis act as a centralized location for virtually all company knowledge: training, processes, resources, etc. Basically, if you have digital resources or any valuable knowledge, it can be housed in your wiki. Crowdsource your company wiki and let your team share their collective knowledge in one accessible place.
Use a tool like Tettra or Notion to create a company wiki or knowledge base that acts as your knowledge hub. From there, link to any existing resources pertinent to an employee’s success. You should also create pages within the wiki that cover company culture, processes, specific training, and anything else employees need to know.
To take full advantage of this collaborative learning strategy, give your team the ability to suggest changes and new content to the company wiki. Give one or more members of leadership or HR the ability to approve changes and make sure any info being added is accurate and appropriate.
These crowdsourced wikis allow you to leverage institutional knowledge and provide a resource for new and experienced hires alike, without added input from L&D or HR.
Find The Right Tools For Your Collaborative Learning Strategies
Strong collaborative learning strategies will go a long way toward creating a culture of learning and collaboration. But the right tools are important, too. 360Learning offers the first collaborative learning platform, making it possible for your team to work together on creating courses and training. With 360Learning and the above practices at your disposal, you can create a truly collaborative learning culture that strengthens your entire team.
Sign up for your free 360Learning demo and see for yourself how our collaborative learning platform can help you democratize knowledge and strengthen your team.
Originally published at 360learning.com.