What is collaborative learning?

Inside the L&D movement helping companies compete in tomorrow’s world.
Collaborative Learning movement

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Times have changed:

The pace of innovation is disrupting every industry, baby boomers are retiring, and the demand for new skills is higher than ever before. 

Most companies aren’t ready—and for that, they’re paying a steep price:

Bosch recently revealed plans to spend over $2bn on reskilling workers as the car industry shifts to electric.

Two billion dollars. 

This is not the way.

The problem is: Even though the times have changed, corporate learning at most companies hasn’t.

Where it has, however, we find winning companies—and a trend:

Top-down training is nowhere to be found. Instead, it’s been replaced by collaborative learning, which empowers companies to upskill from within and turn their in-house experts into growth drivers.

Google, Tesla, McDonald’s.

They’re empowering their employees to not only learn—but to teach, too. 

Unlike Facebook, Google is promoting their people, not their product, encouraging internal experts to share knowledge with others in and outside the company. And Tesla is building out intensive upskilling programs for hopeful employees with Tesla START. 

But it’s not just happening at tech companies—look at McDonald’s, and you’ll see they’re doing the same thing as Google. 

This all marks a fundamental shift in the mindset of L&D—from top-down training to collaborative learning.

Top-down training used to be the only game in town, but it simply didn’t work:

  • Leaders (and only leaders) would set the training agenda and created courses
  • Employees failed to engage with static, run-of-the-mill content
  • Upskilling took years because of a lagging skill matrix

Now, collaborative learning has introduced a new reality, where:

  • Experts and learners shape the training agenda and course content
  • Learners engage with content because it’s interactive and relevant
  • Upskilling is fast and continuous for the jobs of today and tomorrow

The result?

Companies that’ve embraced a collaborative learning culture are winning the battle for skills and the war for talent. 

And they’re ready for the future.

What is Collaborative Learning?

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Collaborative learning positions you to compete in tomorrow’s world.

The organizations that win in the future will be the ones most prepared for it. 

But to successfully (and rapidly) prepare a workforce of hundreds or thousands of people, you need an L&D strategy that optimizes for relevance, speed, and engagement. 

Collaborative learning helps you do all three of these things, and we have the numbers to prove it:

  • Collaborative learning has a 95% average course relevance rating (vs. ~30% for top-down training).
  • Collaborative learning helps employees upskill in weeks (vs. years with top-down training).
  • Collaborative learning has a 91% average course completion rate (vs. 20% for top-down training).

This changes the game for everyone on your team.

What if, instead of creating annual, slow-moving skill matrices, you could build flexible reskilling programs capable of training and upskilling employees in real-time? 

That’d be a no brainer, wouldn’t it?

The truth is, you can do this, and many companies already are.

What we see emerging in tech (and especially in Silicon Valley) is a major shift in the focus of CHROs and VPs of Talent:

They’re now moving away from annual planning and complex skill matrices, and they’re starting to adopt fast and simple pre-boarding programs, which are similar to onboarding programs except employees complete them before they even join the company. This not only reduces employee ramp time, but it effectively closes skill gaps before they can become a concern for the organization.

Another thing we’re seeing a lot of? Leading companies are giving up on big, lengthy, labor-intensive reskilling initiatives. Instead, they’re creating shorter, yet continuous, reskilling programs that close skill gaps just as quickly as they arise. So, instead of spending years trying to upskill and reskill employees, these companies are doing it in weeks—sometimes even days. 

This is all part of the shift from top-down training to collaborative learning. 

But the shift goes beyond CHROs and VPs of talent—it’s changing everyone’s relationship with corporate learning, and for the better:

  • L&D leaders have gone from reacting to business requests to proactively deploying strategic pre-boarding, onboarding, and learning academies.

  • Instructional designers have gone from being course content creators to course content quarterbacks, setting the tone and direction for learning projects. 

  • In-house experts have gone from secret geniuses to recognized mentors.

  • And finally, learners have gone from taking required courses just to check a box to voluntarily taking growth-oriented courses designed to improve individual and company performance. 

When all of this happens, you avoid the fate of the Great Resignation because learners are engaged and defining their next professional steps inside your company—not out. 

But, there’s a catch...

Collaborative learning demands new capabilities. 

How will you…

  • Know instantly when new needs for expertise arise?
  • Identify and motivate busy experts to share expertise?
  • Turn expert knowledge into learning programs fast?
  • Maintain a high level of both quality and control?
  • Make less work, not more, for your L&D team?

The old tools weren’t built for this. 

A ‘Modern’ LMS? That’s just a new UI for top-down training.

Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs)? Those were merely built for off-the-shelf, prepackaged content. 

This is why we created 360Learning…so you can leverage the power of collaborative learning to upskill from within and turn your experts into champions for employee, customer, and partner growth. 

And you know what else is cool?

360Learning makes it easy for you to build a culture of collaborative learning—at your own pace.

All the power of a modern LMS built around the unique capabilities of collaborative learning.

All the modern solutions and integrations…

  • Academies 
  • Learning programs
  • Analytics and insights
  • Instructor-led training
  • Mobile learning
  • Curated 3rd-party content
  • Content management 
  • User management HCM integrations

…for all your use cases…

  • Employee Onboarding
  • Sales Enablement 
  • Customer Training 
  • Partner Enablement 
  • Software Training
  • Leadership & Development 
  • Compliance Training
  • Frontline Staff Training 

…combined with rich collaborative features:

  • Learning needs tracking
  • Expert sourcing 
  • Course creation
  • Project management 
  • Quality assurance

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Collaborative Learning movement

The five game-changing things you can do with the LMS for collaborative learning.

Combined with its speed and ease of use, 360Learning’s collaborative features bring a whole new world of opportunity to L&D teams. 

You can crowdsource learning needs and rapidly identify skill gaps.

Ever find yourself guessing about what training your employees need? You don’t have to with 360Learning. With real-time declaration and upvoting of learning needs, learners can tell you exactly what training they need to succeed—all from within the LMS. 

You can easily find people in your company with in-demand expertise.

77% of employees say they have untapped knowledge to share with their organization. This doesn’t have to be the case anymore. 360Learning allows you to easily tap into the knowledge of your employees and find in-house subject matter experts with learner suggestions and AI.

You can empower your experts to collaborate with L&D.

Give your courses the expert seal of approval. Add the right subject matter experts as co-authors to contribute and make edits to course content with the co-authoring tool—complete with collaborative commenting and validation workflows to ensure courses are always up to your standards.

You can scale course development without losing control.

Scared of losing control as you scale L&D? Fear not. With 360Learning, you can streamline training delivery and maintain visibility into everything with end-to-end project management, including project timelines, task assignments, and learner notifications and deadlines.

You can maximize course quality and engagement with real-time feedback.

Keep courses fresh with real-time feedback from learners. See what they like and don't like with in-course commenting, threaded Q&As with upvoting, and learner relevance scoring, so you and your team can optimize course content and charge toward 91% completion rates.

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Collaborative learning transforms the entire employee journey.

With a collaborative learning culture, a lot changes for the better, including the employee journey—all the way from start to finish. 

  • New joiners begin to accept offers because they want to learn and grow with people they admire, not because of the allure of a brand or paycheck. 

  • Onboarding is engaging and full of interaction with previous cohorts, as opposed to a boring, isolating, administrative box-checking experience. 

  • Role pivots are driven by self-learning via course content and sincere interest, not crisis and internal panic.

  • And promotions become a community-celebrated affair instead of a morale-threatening competition (and retention nightmare).

Interested in building your own collaborative learning culture with 360Learning?

See what you can do with it in a personalized demo.