Peer-to-peer (P2P) learning in the workforce is an effective method of conducting in-house training and professional development. It encompasses any learning platform or opportunity that is run by staff for staff where knowledge is imparted. Companies often have a professional development budget and although it is sometimes easier when everyone is already busy to simply send people on training courses, the benefits of P2P training extend deeper than just shedding light and understanding on certain aspects of the job. In this article we consider some more benefits to P2P training and why it is something you should consider.
Benefits of P2P learning
Avoid institutional memory lapse
Institutional memory lapse is when the intrinsic, time-tested and niche knowledge of employees is simply retained in their heads and disappears from use when they leave the company for other employment. It creates a void where expert knowledge once existed and of course, this is extremely hard to replace if the company is not in the practice of cross-training. A lapse in institutional knowledge also occurs when new management come on board and adopt different procedures which fail to give the acquired knowledge any air-time.
Losing institutional knowledge can have a significant effect on the quality, efficiency and staff morale of the company. P2P learning systems help to combat this lapse by passing on expert knowledge before it is lost. This is not only a more cost-effective option, but also the expertise shared will be far better suited than any training course the employees could attend.
Author Douglas C. Merrill writes that two people will know more than a single person and three will know more than two and so on. In fact, when a group of intelligent people pool their knowledge and share it, there is not much they cannot achieve together. Sharing knowledge is a way of consolidating and propagating it. It then grows and evolves and in doing so, develops those who imparted it. Employees with this attitude and professional development will be an asset to the company.
P2P learning systems are an excellent way of entrusting staff with more responsibility and therefore helps with career development and job satisfaction. When staff are called upon to teach fellow colleagues, they are given an opportunity which implies trust and approval of the work they have done to date. The effect of this on staff morale and subsequent productivity is exceptional.
Personalised training platforms
P2P learning is a fantastic tool to adopt different teaching methods to appeal to all employees with differing abilities, personalities, time constraints and learning styles. This means the method of imparting knowledge and skills will be far more effective as it will be catered to each individual learner with the ability to adapt if things require tweaking. Traditional training courses cannot always offer this, rendering them more inflexible than P2P learning.
The cost of external training programs can be considerable as the expertise and training materials can often be very expensive to produce. When we consider the inflexibility and lack of employee engagement as well as the cost of external programs, P2P shines.
How can you make the P2P transition easier?
The transition to P2P is easier by adopting some of these tried and true methods:
- Reconsider your existing training methods and platforms. By having a DIY attitude when it comes to training colleagues, you encourage adaptability and revisions based on what will best suit the learners and be most effective. This increases the impact of the training and ultimately results in superior staff skill and knowledge.
- Encourage creativity when it comes to knowledge-sharing. P2P learning system tools are generally easy to use and facilitate creative ways of disseminating information.
- Increase the accessibility of the information. To impart to knowledge to a greater audience who may not be bound by the same time and geographical constraints will be far easier with information and learning resources made for mobile devices.
- Encourage confidence and collaboration. It is essential for staff to feel comfortable to share knowledge and to comprehend the value in it. When sharing is encouraged, the richness of a great diversity of ideas is obtainable which enhances the result of the learning experience.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.