Tackling Resistance to Collaborative Online Learning

Author: Intrepid by VitalSource
September 10, 2019
tackling resistance to collaborative learning

Even if you’re more-than-ready to integrate collaborative learning into your L&D approach, are your stakeholders feeling the same way? (Wait, want to back up a step and make sure you know what collaborative online learning is all about first? Download our definitive guide. Then proceed…)

Change is scary, and its necessity isn’t always immediately clear to everyone. If you’re facing resistance within your organization from internal stakeholders, the C-Suite, or other members of the learning department, this post will help you make the case for integrating online collaborative learning into your organization’s training scheme.

Objection #1: Our LMS Can Do All That

Discussion forums? Check. Social “liking” and “sharing” features? Check. So it’s collaborative, right?

Yeah no.

The LMS is a system of record, and is of course required at any sizeable organization. But it’s not a collaborative learning technology, and bolting a few collaborative features onto a click-through-reading-and-multiple-choice-quiz experience is definitely not the same thing.

Collaborative learning is an online learning experience:

  • that leverages the best of classroom learning and e-learning delivery, without their respective downsides
  • where learners are providing crowd-sourced content as part of the course
  • within which learners are motivated by, challenged by, and encouraged by, peers as well as mentors or subject matter experts
  • where learners solve business-related problems together and create actionable outputs
  • that you can’t successfully go through without interacting with other people
  • where human to human connection (via engaging technology) is the backbone of the experience
  • that mirrors everyday workflow and work habits (like teamwork and asking questions of peers)

The LMS alone just can’t do all that by itself. Wishful thinking, and understandable that you would want what you already have to be the be-all-end-all. But in reality, you really do need a broader learning ecosystem for tackling your business’ most pressing problems.


Objection #2: The Classroom is the Gold Standard

It’s just not, not anymore. The cool thing about the fact that the classroom isn’t the gold standard today? The classroom’s many, many benefits are still available, just via technology at vaster scale now! Peer-to-peer learning, tangibly personal interactions, insights from others, practice, repetition – all at your fingertips. Or, not just your own fingertips, but an entire organization at once if you want!

Take a look at “Collaborative Online Learning vs. Event-Based In-Person Learning” for more fuel for the fire.

Objection #3: We Don’t Have the Content for That

Because of collaborative learning’s emphasis on context over new content, collaborative learning instances can be rolled out to an ever-widening variety of employee groups without needing to create or re-create content in an expensive, time-consuming, or resource-demanding way. High-value content can be deployed as-is, just in a new way, by incorporating collaborative elements. And, because the learners themselves are actively contributing to the experience, each collaborative learning instance will be unique and reveal different business insights than through courses designed for individual learners or groups.

In addition, a good collaborative learning platform can take third-party content and give you easy options for wrapping generic information with company-specific scenarios and goals.

Plus, each time you run a collaborative learning program, you can easily harvest the best insights from learners and share them with future cohorts.

Objection #4: Our Learners are Happy with What They have

One third of employees who leave organizations do so because they weren’t learning new skills or better performance, according to a survey by public-opinion research company The Harris Poll. The survey also revealed that this lack of career growth ranked second only to low pay as the reason employees quit.

If you think this statistic doesn’t apply to you because of the career-growing learning initiatives already in place at your organization, think again. Although 77% of the 1,400+ surveyed employees said they feel ‘on their own’ to develop their careers within their organization, nearly all of the companies where the respondents worked said they provide career-development tools. Where is the disconnect happening?

It’s no longer enough to provide Lynda.com access to employees and expect that they’ll feel invested in by the company. Learners crave more engaged and personalized forms of learning. Another recent survey of more than 1,000 learners and CLOs showed that “learning with/from others” (collaborative learning) was respondents’ most preferred method of learning, regardless of the type of learning last delivered by their organizations. It was also selected by learners and CLOs as the type of learning that provides the most value to learners.

In order to retain high-performing employees, increase employee investment in organizational goals, and to ensure your organization’s future successes, collaborative learning is a must!

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