How to get started with collaborative technologies

by | Feb 12, 2018 | Articles, Featured, General

No man or woman is an island. Or at least they shouldn’t be. But throw some technology into the mix and people can find it hard to work and learn together. Now, one of the biggest shifts in learning technology is in the development of increasingly collaborative platforms. So how do we best harness these solutions and create a culture of knowledge sharing? 

Gemma Critchley, Head of Technology & Innovation for learning at Aviva and Mark Arneill from Towards Maturity hosted a roundtable discussion offering practical advice on how to get started with collaborative technologies, what it could mean for your organisation and why you should start!

Getting started

Ask yourself a few simple questions before you even begin to look into using collaborative technologies. What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? What areas of collaboration are you struggling with and can technology help solve this issue? Are there alternative methods?

Once you have the compelling story as to why you want to improve collaboration to assist in learning, you know which platform you’re going to use and you have defined the areas you wish to concentrate on; what comes next? We’re sharing a handful of the great practical steps that came up during the round table:

1 – Start small

Don’t think that from a standing start you’re going to engage the entire company on day one. It takes time to develop the networks or topics related to learning and the business. In fact, Gemma recommends just allowing the conversation to happen whatever that may be. Allow employees to feel safe, to have their first discussions arout whatever they want be it pets, food, sport etc. Get them familiar using and interacting with the applications and it will start to build from there.

2 – Let the noise happen

Once you have this initial conversation go out to specific areas of the business and light little fires and allow them to take hold and grow. Directly engage with people that you know are using the system.

3 – Get leadership involved

If it’s ok for your leadership team to do it, then it’s ok for everyone else to be involved as well. Get them writing blogs and sharing their own learning. Are they able to write a blog or two per month, post this on the platform and allow their team to provide feedback?  Anytime the senior leadership get involved a percentage of the business will gravitate towards reading their opinion.

4 – Marketing and internal communications

If you feel you don’t have all of the skills necessary to successfully promote learning through collaboration and the tools you’re implementing, engage with your peers in marketing and/or internal communications. They are experts in grabbing people’s attention so utilise them!

5 – Get the experts involved

One big challenge could be that you have a number of experts in the  business that do not want to divulge their knowledge through fear of losing power. However often they just haven’t had the opportunity to share their knowledge. Work alongside them, assist them in sharing their knowledge and you will be paid back no end, not only from the information they are willing to share, but it will also encourage their peers to do the same. Turn these experts into trainers in their own right and all that inherent knowledge will be kept within the business. Build these champions and think about how the business could recognise the value they add to the community.

6 – It’s ok to fail

Rome wasn’t built in a day and you shouldn’t expect that everyone in the company is going to jump straight into using collaborative technologies for learning. Potentially only 10% of your employees will be active, but if you’ve set realistic targets and that’s what you’ve achieved, that’s OK!


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