L&D budgets are on the rise for the third year running, according to LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report. Fifty-seven percent of departments expect to increase their online learning spend.
This is a great opportunity for L&D to build the programs they truly want. But with that opportunity comes the need to train effectively and make the most of those extra dollars.
Peer training is key to a more sustainable and effective model of remote learning. Peer training, or collaborative learning, happens when employees teach and learn from each other. It’s an easier way for companies to train employees at scale, and it sets the stage for deeper learning, better team collaboration, and cross-team sharing of institutional knowledge.
Just as peer learning is more effective than individual learning for remote students, peer training is more effective than individual training for employees working remotely.
Peer training, learning from and with one’s coworkers, is more effective than individual or passive learning because the “teacher” (reviewer) must process the information differently in order to give feedback. This benefits both the teacher and the learner. As the student gets a basic understanding of or introduction to the concept, the teacher-student facilitates their own deeper understanding.
The advantages of peer training are especially valuable in a mostly virtual world, where human interaction is limited. It helps facilitate deeper learning in a challenging environment. Deeper learning is when people have more impactful educational experiences that last beyond the near term. It’s when they learn the concept and are able to apply it to their roles.
So, what does this look like? If you have a sales associate who is learning how to cold call, encourage them to role play with other sales managers. Have learners share recordings of their own calls and solicit feedback from their peers.
Peer review is a great way to streamline and facilitate feedback by having employees review each other’s work, be that a sales pitch, an end of year report, a skill development plan, or something else.
Peer training creates a collaborative learning environment, where employees can share their skills and industry knowledge with their coworkers. This helps break down information silos between and within teams.
How do information silos start? Many training programs are top-down, meaning senior staff and executives disseminate the information they want shared. This information is then passed down to each “tier” in the organization, without any collaboration. The way the information is passed creates information silos, where knowledge lives within a select department, team, or even individual.
Silos can also be created by a failure in cross-team communication. As teams grow, departments inevitably become more disconnected. If the sales team knows the profile of likely buyers but the marketing team doesn’t, you have a pretty ugly information silo that could potentially harm the entire organization.
Information silos are a persistent problem for many growing organizations. Peer training helps break down those silos because training is done with coworkers, not just leaders. Therefore, the knowledge is spread more evenly across teams.
As an example, your IT team could create explainer videos and tutorials to show the organization how to use new software, log in remotely, ensure a safe connection, back up data, comply with new security requirements, etc. Other workers could take this mini course to get a better understanding of safety best practices. As a follow-up, the IT team could make themselves available for questions and support through a discussion board or a shared Slack channel. That way, everyone could see and search for frequently asked questions.
The same approach could work for other training topics within your organization.
Peer training is an effective way to train your people. Peer training builds a strong, community-driven company culture of empowered employees.
Peer training, by nature, requires people to form teams and learn together. This community-forward effort makes for effective employee training for a few reasons. One reason is that teams can rely on varying skill sets and backgrounds to fill in knowledge gaps as they make their way through training material. And it requires people to develop communication and conflict resolution skills as they teach, learn, and work together.
Even better, collaborative learning is welcome among professionals. Most of today’s workers want some sort of socialization element when training or taking a course. Peer training provides that social element, changing learning and development from an isolated activity to one with built-in collaboration with and support for/from other team members.
Zapier creates a community that facilitates peer training. “Pair Buddies are a weekly random pairing with 2–3 people on the team that allows you to catch up on work, life, or anything else.” The same concept could apply to training or onboarding a new group of employees or to any other area of dedicated training.
For many, it can be difficult to get comfortable giving and receiving feedback. Eduflow has extensive peer-review features that let learners review each other anonymously. This eliminates the potential for interoffice drama. Trainees can also request additional peer reviews from other team members for more opportunities to give quality feedback to their peers.
A strong, well-trained team is likely to be more engaged and invested in the company’s success. When your people feel valued by the organization, they’re likely to reciprocate. And this has massive potential for your bottom line. In fact, organizations that consider themselves to be “great places to learn” have 23% greater financial returns than those that don’t make learning a priority.
Collaborative learning is also more cost-effective than many traditional methods of employee training. This is especially beneficial, considering it takes almost 40 hours to develop just one hour of standard training material.
Because you don’t have to create and update dedicated courses and training materials for every single thing, you can rely on what your team brings to the table. Instead, because these are the folks on the ground doing the job day in and day out, they’ll have the most relevant and up-to-date context and “lessons” to share.
Moving Forward with Peer Training in Your Organization
You need more than people to create an effective collaborative learning environment for your employees. You need tools to help them share their knowledge throughout the organization. With Eduflow, you can make online learning a group activity that actively contributes to your bottom line.