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When did collaboration and learning become separated?

I like to talk to people about what systems, structures, and platforms they use to help their teams collaborate, learn, and problem-solve. 

It doesn't really matter if I'm talking with trainers, consultants, or educators. I usually hear something like this:

"We have our (training) courses inside of  (INSERT NAME OF LMS HERE). And, then we collaborate every week on  (INSERT ZOOM, SLACK, GOOGLE MEET, ETC)"

When did we start thinking / saying this? 

Was this a prevalent phrase pre-pandemic? I don't remember hearing it then. (Perhaps I wasn't listening.) It's certainly a common paradigm now. More importantly, what impact does its arrival have on the way we structure our team's environments?

For starters, it brings up a few odd questions.

  • Aren't we naturally better learners when we collaborate? Aren't we better collaborators when we're learning along the way?
  • Don't we do one better when we incorporate the other?
  • When we think of the systems we use, why do we naturally separate these two?

Collaboration and Learning: 1:02

The truth is, we have grown to think of these two activities as separated because the current learning model of our LMS is passive. We basically watch videos and take quizzes. Maybe we even engage in a few chats.  But our current platforms are not set up to help us learn from each other. That's why we turn readily and unapologetically to other platforms to help us collaborate.

It's so engrained in us that we probably don't recognize how odd this really is. It's just an accepted fact. 

However, in reality, don't our best collaborate experiences come when we share our ideas, solutions and feedback? We benefit from hearing the feedback of others. We benefit from seeing how others have solved that problem.  The best collaborative experiences are like dances where we each take turns leading.

SPOILER PREVIEW FOR A FUTURE POST: Reflect on the "collaboration" during your last Zoom meeting. Did it feel like a collaborative experience with different people "leading the dance"? Or, did it feel like a lecture with Q&A?

But our current LMS systems are simply not set up to do this. 

Better LMSs will not make Zoom meetings a thing of the past. We need synchronous time together (virtually or in person). But if our LMS platforms did a better job of helping us learn from each other's ideas asynchronously, we could spend less time in Zoom meetings (and have a much more collaborative dialogue when we did) because each member's ideas and feedback would already be visible to everyone.

That's an idea where we'd like to collaborate and learn more.

Hear how we're innovating the old model, and visit us to learn more.

Additional resources to consider:

This post was modified on April 13, 2024 from the original post in May 2022.

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