Teamwork is becoming more of a priority for businesses. Methodologies like Agile and Lean are helping people to work more efficiently in groups. And cloud tools support collaborative working, even when teams are spread out. Companies are investing time and money into making team projects more streamlined, resulting in a better bottom line for the company.
In the same way, team learning can offer significant benefits compared to learning individually. Many philosophies, such as Lean Six Sigma, are based around team problem solving, and some of the world’s biggest corporations have adopted them.
Passive and active learning
Professional trainers use varied techniques to cater for everyone in a class. Solitary activities, like reading and listening, are described as passive learning techniques. Active learning involves speaking out and getting involved.
Many employees benefit from a more active learning process, and it also suits team learning well. It stops training sessions from becoming too heavy in demonstrations, Powerpoint and self-study, and can help delegates learn from each other, as well as from the course leader.
Why use team based learning?
Team learning is often rolled out in situations where passive learning has failed, or where the course material requires real world scenarios to be solved in real time. This highly interactive style of learning can be instantly applied to real problems when the team members return to the office, meaning that the benefits to the business are instant, and can produce results straight away.
For individuals, team based learning challenges different skills, and encourages weaker team members to get involved with the course. It’s specifically designed to offer something for everybody, and this can produce better outcomes for each delegate on a course.
More generally, team based learning has produced a host of proven benefits for employees and companies alike:
Individuals tend to feel more accountable in a team, so they stretch themselves more
Real business processes can be used as the basis for lessons
People are likely to engage with the material, and each other, in a far more enthusiastic way
Learning progresses consistently for everyone, rather than leaving some people behind
As team members develop, the team also perfects its skills as a unit
Stronger team members begin to collaborate, rather than dominate
‘Living out’ the experience helps to reinforce principles of the training long term
How to deploy a course
If you’re thinking of using team-based learning, bear these key principles in mind:
Preparation is key; let people do their reading early, by giving out handouts a few days before the course
Small teams work best; people need to be able to have a conversation
Practice makes perfect; delegates need lots of opportunities to discuss things in detail
Everyone is accountable; in a group, or solo, everyone in the team needs to have ownership of what they do
Assessment is critical; delegates need feedback in order to understand the lessons you teach
In a well-managed course, with adequate group sizes, team based learning inspires everyone to be more active and accountable as they learn. As an employee’s confidence grows, they become participatory in the workplace, and better at using their own problem solving skills.