We often talk about how important it is that learning is social and informal. After all, working in groups allows learners to support each other’s learning, share different perspectives, think out loud and keep each other motivated.
But then, after thinking about it, we realised that the idea of working in groups might actually fill some of you with dread!
If you’re a bit of an introvert, a generally shy person or if you just prefer to learn alone, the idea of getting together – both in real life and online – to learn in groups can make you feel anything from bored and disinterested to terrified and panicky.
But don’t despair! We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves to help make learning in groups a lot more fun and less daunting. And if you know us well, you might even guess what the main trick is… Yep! Gamification is here to save the day once again. Here’s how:
Splitting your group up into a few teams can really help to make things more fun because it makes learners feel like part of a culture and drives a sense of competition.
As the psychological theory of ‘group cohesiveness’ states, as soon as you are placed into a group, you begin to think like other members of the group, take on the identity of the group and feel a sense of pride and commitment to the group’s cause. So you’ll feel as though you belong in your team, and you’ll find that you push each other on to learn more and share more of your knowledge.
Teams add a sense of competition to learning – which team knows the most about the topic? Which team will answer all the questions quickest, and get the most points? Which will finish their eLearning modules first? Basically, which team is best? Everyone wants their own team – whom they come to love and think of fondly – to win, which is incredibly motivating. You won’t keep a great article or book to yourself if you want your whole team to win!
Rather than creating teams out of groups, you can simply kickstart competition within the group by pitting learners against each other. While this doesn’t exactly encourage the sharing of knowledge, it certainly motivates each and every learner to try their hardest to learn the topic!
Alternatively – and here’s what we’ve done in the knowledge sharing area of our Learning Management System, which is chock full of gamification – you can reward learners when they share knowledge, rather than when they win pop quizzes and answer the most questions correctly.
Here’s how: if a learner posts a question on their LMS, they get a few ‘Experience Points’ for interacting with other learners. Whoever replies to the thread and answers the question also gets points for sharing their knowledge and helping out the askee.
The more questions a learner answers and the more knowledge they share with others, the more points they get – bumping them up the leaderboard. Once at the top they are crowned the Top Contributor, which is a great honour!
But they can’t stop their social learning there: they must keep interacting with others, sharing ideas and posting relevant links and articles in order to retain their title. If not, they will be knocked off the top spot by another eager beaver learner!
Luckily, once gamification comes into play, group learning is far less daunting. Far from sitting around a table and reading from textbooks, learning because much more fun and interactive.
Social learning should be social, after all – sitting next to someone doesn’t mean you’re learning together!
Want to find out more about social learning? Of course you do! Well, you lucky things, we wrote a whole white paper on the topic, which you can download for free by clicking this link. Enjoy!