Traditional Training Obstacles That Collaborative Learning Activities Overcome

Traditional Training Obstacles That Collaborative Learning Activities Overcome
Who is Danny/
Summary: Traditional, top-down approaches to corporate learning are a major reason for our current crisis in learning. These approaches treat learning as something that is done to people, rather than something they can decide for themselves. Fortunately, Collaborative Learning activities offer a way to overcome these traditional training disadvantages, helping to boost employee engagement and positively impact ROI for training.

How Can Collaborative Learning Activities Tackle Your L&D Challenges?

The major problem with corporate learning as we know it? It’s centralized, generic, slow, static, and driven only by deliverables. Management or HR sets the learning priorities for everyone, and learners don’t have an easy way to offer feedback on content to help it improve. This isn’t just a drag for the learner–it’s also a missed opportunity for course creators to receive valuable feedback on whether their learning content is relevant or useful. In contrast with this top-down approach, bottom-up Collaborative Learning activities are democratized, relevant, fast, iterative, and driven by impacts.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the 5 traditional training obstacles that Collaborative Learning activities can help organizations of all kinds overcome.

How Collaborative Learning Boosts Engagement Rates To Over 90%
From benefits to tried-and-tested strategies, this guide has everything you need to launch a successful collaborative learning program for your remote workforce!

5 Obstacles Collaborative Learning Overcomes

1. Top-Down Training Priorities

Most traditional corporate training reflects a top-down management style, meaning management or L&D determines training needs and then creates or buys learning materials to meet those needs. In contrast, in a Collaborative Learning methodology, anyone can make a request or create a learning need.

This allows everyone in the organization to contribute to the learning process, making them feel more engaged, focused, and valued. Employees suggest training needs, and other employees use their unique skill sets to create content to fulfill those needs. Then, L&D teams assist others in completing courses, run quality control, and make sure learners have what they need to succeed. This gives L&D teams the ability to focus on what really matters, instead of low-value repetitive tasks like course scheduling.

Because employees declare learning needs, they can learn about the things they really care about. The result is greater employee buy-in and smoother knowledge-sharing between employees and departments.

Here’s an example of how this works in practice. Instead of a sales enablement manager setting mandatory pitch-assessment modules to be completed by all reps, she could give reps the opportunity to declare their Learning Needs, tell people where they were running into problems, and propose solutions with Authoring and Projects features. Then, she could create learning paths that offered the support and the guidance needed to improve. This is a way to avoid traditional top-down models of learning.

2. Irrelevant And Generic Learning Content

Collaborative Learning courses are created by your fellow team members, which means the content is more nuanced and specific to your company than third-party courses would be.

With traditional corporate learning, the L&D team and Chief Learning Officer either creates the learning content or purchases courses from a third party. The process for commissioning courses typically involves a group of instructional designers with technical backgrounds. Classes can take months to produce, and be very expensive.

In contrast, Collaborative Learning enables L&D and employees to create and fulfill learning needs together. As a result, employees are more invested in the learning process. They help create quality content that L&D doesn’t have to buy or source through expert interviews. Other elements such as discussion forums, peer coaching, and employee-generated content also help.

3. Sluggish Training Content

One of the biggest contributors to today’s learning crisis is the sluggish response to training needs. By the time L&D teams have realized there’s a gap in their resources and responded with the right learning content, the chance to make the biggest positive impact has long passed.

Collaborative Learning connects people together, allowing them to declare learning needs, share their skills and expertise, convene project teams, and create learning content quickly to answer urgent questions. This way, organizations can respond to opportunities for growth in a way that is timely, effective, and makes the most of learning opportunities.

4. Outdated Information And Technology

Because course creation has traditionally been slow and expensive, updates and refreshes have been infrequent. Collaborative Learning prioritizes making it easy to create and edit course materials, which means it’s far easier to update them based on new information or employee feedback.

Now, iteration and continuous improvement is more important than ever. Courses frequently become dated due to technological or organizational changes. Static course design hinders flexibility and slows down employee learning. In fact, this is one of the biggest problems with so many organizations relying on outdated learning technology like SCORM.

With Collaborative Learning, you can disseminate information and iterate it over time based on feedback. This way, crucial information gets into the hands of employees exactly when it is needed, empowering them to make better decisions.

5. Training That Measures Sessions, Not Impacts

Traditional L&D programs are focused only on deliverables and counting things like course completion. In contrast, Collaborative Learning is impact-driven, and looks at the impact your training is having over time.

In most L&D departments, success is measured by the number of courses shipped and completed by employees. This approach offers very low visibility into how employees are interacting with the courses or what they’re getting out of that experience. It also makes it more difficult to demonstrate the ROI associated with training.

In contrast, Collaborative Learning is impact-driven because it doesn’t define success with simple course delivery. Rather, because teams are active in the learning process, their feedback indicates whether a course has been successful.


Looking for insider secrets to change mindsets about online training and get employees actively involved in the process? Download the eBook How Collaborative Learning Boosts Engagement Rates To Over 90% to discover how the collaborative approach breaks down barriers and maximizes your organization's L&D potential. Also, join the webinar to learn how to hit 90%+ learner course completion with collaborative learning.

Further Reading:

eBook Release: 360Learning
360Learning is the learning platform powered by collaborative learning. We foster internal mobility to solve the talent shortage by empowering companies to upskill from within.