7 Benefits of Using Peer Learning to Train Your Employees

By Sean Gordon

Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance your employees are not engaged with their training. A recent study found that only 25% of employees thought their most recent training was worthwhile. Another 60% of employees say they are not adequately trained to do their job. Clearly, there’s a connection between employee engagement and the effectiveness of training. People won’t learn when they believe the day would be better spent at their desk.

One approach to fixing employee training is peer learning. Peer learning is simply employees training each other. You don’t need a third-party to train your people. Your employees are your experts. They already have a rapport with one another that can make training more focused and relevant.

Even though peer learning has a simple definition, it’s not necessarily easy to implement. Teaching employees to train one another requires a systematic, deliberate platform. However, peer learning may yield huge benefits for your employees and company as a whole.

1. Peer training is conducive to different learning styles

People of older generations got used to one-way learning from a young age: in school, the teacher talked and you listened. However, Millennials didn’t learn this way as schools began to emphasize collaboration and hands-on learning. Peer-to-peer training replicates the learning environment Millennials know best.

Furthermore, your employees understand their own learning needs. As a result, they won’t all train the same way. Some may stick with a basic Powerpoint, but others will get creative. For example, a trainer could use role-playing to work through an issue-solution-result scenario.

2. Peer learning lets employees practice working as a team

A seminar on the meaning of “synergy” isn’t going to get your employees to work effectively together. Like any other skill, they need to practice in order to learn to work as a team. Peer learning provides this practice. They’ll collaborate with their everyday professional team to examine a problem, explore an idea, or develop a solution.

3. Top performers will have another reason to stay

Employee retention is a complicated issue. Bringing on new employees is expensive, and incentivizing people to stay is becoming increasingly challenging.

Top performers are 57% more likely to stay with a company when they feel connected with a leader who provides solid training. In addition, star employees get a chance to shine by training their peers. This recognition is likely to increase their personal stake in the company.

4. Newcomers have the chance to participate fully

Some people have no trouble speaking up in a new situation. Others, however, need some time to understand the dynamics of their environment. Peer learning gives new hires opportunities to interact during training and feel comfortable more quickly.

In addition, some employees find it less intimidating to ask questions of a peer than their boss. This may be the case whether they’re new or not. By framing training as an interaction between equals, you may find employees become more open about their ideas.

5. Peer learning is cost-effective

When your employees train each other, you don’t have to foot the bill for a trainer to come in every quarter. This doesn’t mean that peer training is free, however. In order for it to work, you will have some upfront costs for establishing a system that works well for your company. In the long run, however, investing in peer learning is more cost-effective than traditional training.

6. Employees learn more when they take on the role of trainer

Teaching someone requires a thorough knowledge of the subject at hand. In order to train their peers, your employees will have to dive deeper into aspects of their profession and become more knowledgeable as a result.

Taking on a training role does not have to be a drain on an employee’s time, however. With digital platforms, your trainers can interact with trainees without having to schedule a meeting. Training can become a continuous and seamless part of the work day.

7. Peer learning makes training simple and replicable

With peer learning, the pressure to constantly search for the newest trend in professional development disappears. Peer learning is always relevant; it’s adaptable to whatever challenge is most pressing in your industry.

Once your company has its system in place, your employees will continually practice and improve the peer learning model. Successful training sessions are easy to repeat with a new group of employees. If something goes wrong, there is a structure against which to evaluate the session and figure out what to improve next time.

Peer learning isn’t a one-time training topic. Rather, it’s an ongoing solution that will become part of the practice and culture of your company. To learn more about how vidREACH can help you develop a peer learning platform for employee training, contact us.

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