The Best (Free!) Learning Tool You Already Have

people have colorful ideas.jpg

Peer-to-peer learning can be a powerful (and free) development tool.

Research shows that when people want to learn a skill, turning to colleagues for help is often the first thing they do.

You can encourage this kind of learning in your organization by setting up a formal program for it:

  1. Start by appointing a facilitator to oversee the program. It’s important to have a neutral party — who is not the team’s manager — to organize sessions, keep everyone on topic, and maintain a positive atmosphere.

  2. Before your first session, create a safe environment so that people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, experiences, and questions. Setting ground rules around honoring confidentiality and accepting feedback graciously can help.

  3. During sessions, be sure that learning is tied to real-world situations and problems so that participants can apply the skills they’ve learned quickly.

  4. Finally, encourage employees to network, whether online, at networking events, or through another method, so that anyone in the company can get involved.

Adapted from “How to Help Your Employees Learn from Each Other,” by Kelly Palmer and David Blake