Friday, April 7, 2017

Learning Every Day – Collaborative Learning

Rachel Burnham writes: If you want to be learning every day, then one of the most effective ways in my experience is to find someone to learn alongside, a practice partner, someone to collaborate in learning with.

I have had two brilliant experiences of this recently.  Over the last three months I have been engaged in collaborative learning about how VR (Virtual Reality) can be used effectively in workplace learning, with my friend and fellow independent L&D consultant Niall Gavin (@niallgavinuk).  We both participated in a webinar on the subject of VR and that kickstarted a series of conversations, which led to us finding out more about VR and giving it a go.  As a result of our collaborative learning we put together a series of blogs, Sketchnotes and video conversations to share what we discovered under the #VRinLearning. 

In a similar way, I have also been learning practical skills of video making and particularly how to use Snapchat for this purpose, with my fellow Manchester-based Mike Shaw (@MikeShawLD).  Learning alongside, can be a great way of learning a practical skill such as video making, where there are skills & confidence to be developed both behind and in front of the camera, which can be difficult to practice on your own.

There are many benefits to collaborative learning:

·       You can pool resources – sharing your insights and helpful resources – thus accelerating the learning process.

·       Practical tips – when you get stuck, your partner can often help you practically problem-solve.  I’m not sure that I would have ever got my head around Snapchat without tips from Mike.

·       Extend your thinking – being able to share ideas and talk them through with another person can challenge and develop your thinking.  This was key in working on the VR project with Niall and seeing Mike’s completed Snapchat videos has inspired me to try out different ways of presenting information.

·       Above all encouragement & fun – learning alongside someone else is just more fun and encourages you to keep going when otherwise you might just give up.   It is great to go to an event such as CIPD’s L&D Show 10th & 11th May (for details) with a colleague and share the learning from this together, comparing and contrasting your learning from the event. Or follow the event via #cipdldshow

Why not give collaborative learning a go yourself?  Or share your stories of how you have done this – I would love to hear about your experiences.

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I am particularly interested in blended learning, the use of digital skills for learning, evaluation and anything that improves the impact of learning on performance. 

1 comment:

  1. It was an honour and a pleasure to work on the VR in Learning exercise Rachel. Much more fun than solo study. I'm looking forward to catching up with you and Mike's SnapChat work.