The recent shift to remote work has given many organizations the push they needed to pivot away from traditional approaches to learning. After all, if our way of working is constantly changing, growing, and adapting, shouldn’t the way we learn on the job change, too?
At the center of this shift is the growing use of Collaborative Learning to allow employees to learn with, and from, one another. Collaborative Learning can transform your organization by making learning agile, decentralized, and peer-driven. Employees sharing their hard-won institutional knowledge is more cost-effective, more efficient, and more effective than traditional top-down corporate learning methods.
But to make it work, you need the right Collaborative Learning tools—tools for communication, project management, and delivering presentations. These tools need to improve and build on your current workflow, and must integrate well with your current L&D processes without causing disruption or being difficult for employees to learn.
There are two ways to pull this together. First, you can build a stack of tools to support Collaborative Learning one-by-one according to your needs. If that’s your plan, we’ve got 20 useful options below. Alternatively, you can commit to a single integrated Collaborative Learning platform to manage everything from one place.
Let’s start by looking at some Collaborative Learning tools to manage communication.
Strong communication is essential for building an effective Collaborative Learning environment. The right communication tool lets L&D receive employee feedback on how to strengthen training materials and improve course relevance. It also helps L&D manage employee training requests and match these needs with in-house experts who can contribute to new courses.
Organizations can use the following tools for overall workplace communication or specifically to help organize and facilitate Collaborative Learning. One key thing to bear in mind is that these tools feature varying levels of integration with actual course content. This means you may have to jump between platforms to manage communications, including comments and requests.
With that in mind, here are eight useful tools to help you and your teams manage your communication.
Many teams use email to communicate asynchronously, but Slack can help your team connect and stay on track in real time with its instant messaging, voice, and video-call features. Organize messages in topic-specific channels, which your team can use to categorize and house training materials, announcements, company information, and any other content.
Teams is Microsoft’s dedicated collaborative communication tool. With Teams, you can create groups; assign tasks; text/video chat with teammates; share calendars, photos, GIFs, documents, and more. This tool works particularly well if your company already operates on Windows or is already set up with Microsoft Outlook for email.
Google Hangouts is Google’s instant messaging platform, while Google Meet allows you to conduct voice and video calls, with the option of sharing your screen to present something. L&D teams can use Google Meet to receive in-depth feedback from employees who take a training course, and managers can send messages in Hangouts to check in on team learning progress.
Asynchronous communication is our preferred method of communication at 360Learning, but sometimes you just need to speak face-to-face. Video call tools like Skype, Zoom, and GoToMeeting allow users to call and video chat with team members, with added screen-sharing features that L&D teams can leverage to facilitate remote learning.
Chanty is an all-in-one communication tool that teams of any size can use to connect and collaborate. It offers text- and voice-messaging features, along with file-sharing capabilities. Its 'Teambook' feature is helpful for organizing tasks and pins, which L&D teams can use to set priorities and share important institutional information.
Strong communication is essential for building an effective Collaborative Learning environment.
In a Collaborative Learning environment, L&D works together with employees to create and disseminate learning materials. To keep projects organized and assign and track tasks, you need the right project management tool.
Project management tools can also work well in conjunction with a dedicated Collaborative Learning platform. For example, we use Trello to plan and collaborate on various projects, including sourcing and delivering learning content on the 360Learning platform. We also use it during onboarding to help keep new hires on track and direct them to the right support.
Google Workspace (previously known as G-Suite) is Google’s collection of cloud-based organizational and collaboration tools. It includes Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Drive, and more. Google Docs makes it easy for coworkers to collaborate and create living documents and resources that everyone can access.
Quip is a virtual storage and organizational platform where users can house information, work collaboratively within documents, and easily share their work within their organization. Team members can view a document’s edit history, tag specific individuals in comments, and leave notes for others to review, facilitating a productive and centralized workflow.
Trello is a Japanese Kanban-style visual collaboration tool helping companies plan projects, track workflows, and share visibility on workload. Using cards, lists, and boards to indicate the status of projects, Trello organizes information intuitively, and allows L&D and other teams to collaborate on training resources or other shared tasks. It’s no wonder we’re so crazy about it.
Notion is a workspace tool blending a range of work apps into a single platform. It allows users to write, plan, and collaborate on shared projects, or just work on solo jobs. When teams are collaborating from a distance, Notion makes it easier to stay on track with components such as Kanban boards, calendars, reminders, and shared databases.
In Smartsheet, users can create sheets to plan out every single task that needs to be done to complete a certain project, whether onboarding a new employee or finishing a training module. L&D teams can assign tasks to team members, track project progress, and share documents. Even better, it all happens within the platform, so everything is organized in one place.
Basecamp is a project management and internal communication tool that allows distributed teams to work collaboratively. The platform makes it easy to break up your work into digestible projects, with each project featuring its own message board, schedule, to-do list, group chat, and more. Basecamp works well for remote companies, allowing employees to collaborate with L&D teams, complete training courses, and work on daily tasks.
Padlet is a “virtual bulletin board,” where employees, managers, and L&D teams alike can share bite-sized pieces of institutional knowledge in the form of sticky notes. Users can add images, links, and videos to these notes, or they can use Padlet’s collaborative note-taking feature to create relevant and reliable training resources for their teams.
To keep projects organized and assign and track tasks, you need the right project management tool.
Collaborative Learning requires individuals and teams to capture and share information in engaging ways. Presentation tools are a key part of Collaborative Learning, as they make it easy to hold people’s attention and encourage them to retain learning content.
These presentation tools also help to support asynchronous learning, where employees can take courses whenever and wherever they like. This isn’t just a question of convenience—it also helps drive higher course completion rates than traditional synchronous learning.
Many companies are moving toward a new version of blended learning that combines both synchronous and asynchronous learning to offer greater flexibility. You can pair one of these presentation tools with a Collaborative Learning platform that enables asynchronous learning.
Prezi relies on motion and spatial relationships to bring ideas to life. These animations aren’t anything like the standard slide transitions you’ll find on PowerPoint. With Prezi, L&D teams can make use of one large canvas that allows you to pan, zoom, and navigate interesting presentation paths, helping to deliver training materials that transcend the status quo.
Flipgrid is a tool that facilitates video discussion experiences for learners of all ages. Collaborative Learning professionals can use the platform to set up specific learning communities and encourage users to record and share short video responses, actively engaging their peers and coworkers in stimulating topics.
Vyond helps users deliver engaging content to a range of audiences with dynamic animated video creation. Its intuitive animation software allows users of all skill levels to create quality videos, and is designed to cater for training, eLearning, marketing, and human resources. Vyond is a great tool for teams looking for new ways to capture and hold audience attention.
A cloud-based platform that focuses on visual content creation, Visme is a helpful tool for anyone looking to create more engaging presentations. From simple branded visuals to fully interactive content, L&D professionals can leverage the thousands of templates, millions of images, and over 50 charts and data widgets to customize their presentations.
Nearpod is a presentation tool used by educators in classroom settings, but its unique features are equally useful for corporate learning programs, too. Whether you’re presenting in-person or online, you can boost interactivity by adding quizzes, polls, and open-ended questions to help engage employees, gauge their overall understanding, and adjust content in real-time.
Presentation tools are a key part of Collaborative Learning, as they make it easy to hold people’s attention and encourage them to retain learning content.
Any of these tools—or a combination of them—can help you cultivate a culture of Collaborative Learning. However, there’s a downside: switching between a bunch of different windows and tools can be a hassle. Each new tool you add to your stack has the potential to cause confusion, and maybe even frustration.
Alternatively, if you’re an L&D or HR team that needs an overview of every single moment of Collaborative Learning happening within your company, or if you want to encourage or measure these moments quickly and accurately, you can choose a full-stack Collaborative Learning solution like 360Learning.
360Learning empowers L&D teams to drive culture and growth through Collaborative Learning. Our learning platform combines collaborative tools with the power of an LMS, enabling high-growth companies to unlock learning based on collective expertise instead of top-down knowledge. 360Learning is the easiest way to onboard new employees, train customer-facing teams, and develop professional skills—all from one place.
Traditional learning management systems typically involve a single person or a small group of people running and creating an organization’s training programs. 360Learning changes that by instituting a democratized, bottom-up approach and making it easy for everyone to feel invested in their own education. That’s the value of Collaborative Learning in practice.
Interested in learning more about our full-stack learning solution? Contact us for a demo.
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