Small Group Learning – Part II

Technology has a way of filling in gaps caused by changing environments. One has only to look at how some businesses adapted to COVID-19 shutdowns to see that necessity really is the mother of invention. Through various virtual platforms and services, they were able to find ways to conduct necessary functions that not only worked, but in some cases worked better than in-office models.

In the case of company trainings, some virtual platforms have developed ways to offer every aspect of training that was possible with traditional training conventions.  This includes small group learning through dynamic break out rooms. A growing number of companies are choosing platforms that allow these virtual breakout “rooms” for small group learning, especially large companies with highly-dispersed workforces.  In some cases, virtual training has more options for engagement and learning than in-person.  Using Jigsaw Interactive, for instance, trainers can easily design projects and learning programs that offers personalization by each attendee.  Getting learning and engagement analytics gives trainers data they are not able to capture through in-person programs.

People are more likely to participate and contribute when they are in small groups. Learners feel more visible and valued in smaller groups (Learning Solutions).  Knowing their opinion and answers are heard and their participation is important encourages action.  There is also a “safety” factor since many people are more comfortable in small groups.

Informatics expert Nikos Andriotis says, “Large [V]ILT (virtual, instructor-led training) classes leave little room for active learning. Instead, learners in large classes are expected to passively consume information being presented by the instructor.” Smaller groups, he maintains, lead to higher-quality instructor/learner interactions (ELearning Industry).  Small groups lend to comfort and communication in ways that large groups cannot.

Many studies show that collaborative and hands on learning leads to greater information retention.  Small groups provide more collaborative experiences and encourages greater participation from everyone.  This leads to a higher-level of thinking, better learning experiences, higher retention and an increase in problem solving.  Small groups have a more intimate and inclusive feeling .  Small group learning enables role-playing activities, which, says online event producer Karen Hyder, “Greatly increase[s] the breadth and depth of learner engagement” (Learning Solutions).

When looking a virtual training solutions, especially if small group learning is part of the program, be sure to get a full understanding of what the technology can do.  Jigsaw Interactive is the only solution that has fully functioning break out rooms that are also customizable.  This allows the trainer the opportunity to build different projects in each room for more impactful programs.