Experienced trainers and educators understand the secret of peer groups in LMS online courses. When learners collaborate in an engaging and satisfying way, they produce potent results.
It’s not only an effective business strategy, but in a training program it works wonders, fostering a spirit of community and a sense of common purpose. Why is a sense of community an important aspect of a learning experience? And how can you create efficient group formats in a learning environment?
Latané’s social impact theory describes how a person’s behavior tends to correlate with the behavior of a group of people, given that these people become important to that person. So if a group is working hard to achieve a common goal, individual members are more likely to feel more deeply invested in the cause. Frequent interaction is a critical factor in the equation.
Encourage learners to collaborate to achieve goals using group discussions, IMs, blogs, conferences, wikis, etc. The more interactions that take place, the closer the students’ sense of “us” will be. Belonging to a community of engaged learners increases the likelihood that each learner will become more deeply engaged with the learning material.
All too often in LMS online systems, a leader (teacher or trainer) fails to take advantage of peer groups. This may be partly due to challenges posed by peer group arrangements. For example, we’ve all had the experience of a team effort in which there were one or more participants didn’t–lightly speaking–give their all. For peer learning to be effective in LMS online learning, the trainer must create a system that insures that all learners are participating. Thus the importance of an efficient learning tool like an LMS.
Using a learning management system, trainers and educators are able to track both group and individual progress. An LMS includes critical tools such as online assessment, automatic marking, a resource organizer for project work, and progress tracking mechanisms. Trainers are able to track which employees have completed their course requirements and those whose obligations are unfulfilled, or who may require updates or “refresher” courses.
LMS online learning experts strive to be trendsetters, not followers, in the industry. This requires not only thinking outside the box, but keeping in mind our societal need for technology as a collaborative tool. The possibilities are endless. Companies are reacting according to this basic human need, developing cutting-edge technology that provides new ways of interacting online.
Cisco, for example, is working on unified communications that combine a virtual meeting space via TV, web conferencing and instant messaging. The idea of collaboration is at the heart of tools like LMS online training systems as well.
In designing and maintaining your organization’s LMS, keep in mind its community-building capacity. The more interactive and collaborative, the more effective your course will be. Synergy is the bread and butter of today’s globalizing economy.
Organizing a virtual team is a process made a great deal easier by a robust learning management system. Training for team members can be organized and performed internationally, linking LMS online human resources training to its various human resources departments and ERP systems, to perform multi-locational, cost-effective and efficient training.
These days, organizations are practically composed of a vast network of individuals and teams to meet all the goals and functions of an organization. An LMS can be not only a helpful way to organize employee training, but service teams can use them to keep track of customers and employee achievements.
The benefits of peer groups outweigh any potentiality for disaster that prevents more people from tapping into them. These include not only professional benefits, within an organization, but personal ones as well: a sense of team-building and support systems, greater self-esteem, social competence, and better communication skills. Peer groups and virtual or face-to-face teams are a vital resource to any LMS online training program.
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