5 Benefits of Collaborative Learning
When you’re learning for your career, you need to be getting skills that creative employers actually need.
It’s not just about the technical skills. For example, Laurence Honderick from BBC Creative looks for “well-rounded individuals, who know their strengths and weaknesses”, and Bee Grandinetti, Founder of Punanimation says “telling a good story should be priority number one” for budding designers.
Learning on your own makes getting these skills challenging. After all, Youtube tutorials can’t teach you how to present your ideas to clients or give you a pep talk when you need a motivation boost.
Collaborative learning, on the other hand, gives you the chance to build your transferable soft skills while developing your technical craft.
What is collaborative learning?
Put simply, learning collaboratively means working with others to achieve your learning goals.
But let’s be clear, it’s not only about a team coming together to deliver one shared project. It’s also about individuals working together to create their own work and accomplish their individual objectives. It’s about bringing together people with shared passions and different backgrounds to learn and grow.
Research consistently proves that collaborative learning has tons of benefits. Learners progress quicker, develop communication skills that help them succeed and have a much more positive outlook on their development. So let’s explore these benefits in more detail.
Benefits of Collaborative Learning
1. Build your network
A key advantage in building your career is having a network. One of the benefits of collaborative learning is you can grow your professional network as you learn, even if you’re learning online. So by the time you complete your course, you’ve got trusty connections you can rely on when it counts.
Going it alone might teach you some new skills, yes. But when it comes to applying those skills to the real world, you’ll need a network who’ll support your journey and help you create opportunities. You’ve heard the saying “it’s all about who you know”. They didn’t pluck it from thin air.
2. Tackle challenges together
From one well-known saying to another. Two heads are definitely better than one.
With collaborative learning, you’ve always got someone else to tackle challenges with. Whether it’s through group tasks, in-person tutorials or a team brainstorm, there’s no better way to solve a problem than by sharing ideas and combining different strengths.
One of our graduates, Marty McCrossan, agrees “having a support network when you’re working on something, where you can just dive in and ask how to do this or how to do that, is really useful.”
We’ve all been there. Staring at the same page for hours on end, going round in circles trying to figure out how to move forward. The solution? Step outside of your own head. Ask for help from someone who’s tackled the challenge before, or bring in a peer who might be stuck on the same problem. It’s a sure fire way to overcome hurdles.
3. Get continuous professional feedback
It can be hard to accept feedback. We get it. It’s scary to put yourself and your work out there to be criticised.
But don’t look at it as criticism. Look at it as crucial advice for helping you grow. That’s why you need feedback from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Someone with experience, who can use their own insight to mentor you along your journey. How can you access that when you’re learning alone?
Getting continuous feedback when learning online is a vital ingredient to success. The earlier you can identify your strengths and stamp out your bad habits, the better you’ll become at your craft. Motion design grad and UX designer Stephi Batliner weighs in, “doing an online course remotely isn’t always easy, but during my course it was great to keep in touch with fellow designers, to exchange feedback and support each other.”
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re learning solo.
But working in a collaborative environment with like-minded people? You’ve got someone to hold you accountable to your goals and help you achieve them. Through participating in regular in-person or virtual meet-ups with a friend, mentor or colleague, you can outline your learning objectives and set out on your path to success with someone who’s going through the same experience.
Multiple studies have found the link between collaborative learning and enhanced performance. Having someone to hold you accountable and check in on your progress plays a key role in this.
5. Emotional Support
And when you achieve your goals and take another step closer to your dream career, do you really want to be celebrating your wins on your own?
No way, right!? Collaborative learning means you can celebrate your victories with a friend, peer or mentor. Even virtually, it feels good to share your success with others. When you’ve invested time, money and effort into your learning, you absolutely deserve to put as much heart into your celebrations.
Reaching your dream can feel like a long and tough road. There’ll be bumps along the way. When you reach those tricky moments, learning collaboratively allows you to reach out for emotional support. Your network will be there to lift you up when you’re down and keep you focused when you’re on top of the world (after celebrating those wins, of course!).
For a career in design, you need more than just technical skills. To succeed, you need to be well-versed in teamwork, communication and empathy. These traits don’t come naturally to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop them.
Through collaborative learning, you can build the technical skills needed to execute your creative vision, as well as the soft skills that’ll get you hired and help you grow in your career.
Working remotely on your own projects doesn’t mean you need to go it alone. You can have your own goals. You can come up with your own ideas. And you can collaborate, learn from others and elevate fellow designers too.
Here at Created, we recognise the strengths of collaborative online learning. On our courses, every student gets regular networking opportunities, group and individual mentoring and access to a private Slack community of designers. We foster collaboration because we know it works.
Ready to get stuck in and learn collaboratively? Why not browse our courses in motion, UI and UX design to see how collaborative learning can elevate you to your goals.
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