How to Make the Most of Online Groups to Expand Your Skill Set

If you work in a remote position or are currently working from home, you’re likely receiving training and education in an online setting as well. Instead of going to a learning centre to receive classroom instruction, you probably receive your materials from online groups and virtual meetings instead. With this not so hands-on setting, it can seem less effective in furthering your education or professional career, compared to face to face learning, especially if you’re pursuing personal development on your own.

However, you can overcome that hurdle by collaborating with others via online groups that are specifically for people to discuss and further their craft in specific industries. Not only will you learn useful concepts that you can apply to your current job, but you’ll also master skills that can give you a competitive edge in your line of work. You can even encourage your coworkers or teammates to join you in learning something new. But how do you go about maximising these online groups for learning? Here are some ways to do so:

Augment Your Group Learning with Coaching

Emotions can run high in group settings especially when people are being taught new things and each person learns at a different pace. Given this, a monthly group coaching session with everyone involved can reveal insight into each member’s personality and how they function in a team setting. Even if your group is not currently having a hard time working together remotely, a coaching session can help you pinpoint anything about your group’s dynamics that may need improvement.

Indeed, group work in an online setting poses a different set of challenges that may potentially lead to conflict. That said, regular coaching can resolve these issues so that the whole group can make the most out of the online learning opportunity.

Divide Yourselves into Smaller Intimate Groups

Some people are considered reserved learners and often benefit more from being in virtual groups with fewer people. While there are obvious advantages to having more people in a group, some individuals can become overwhelmed and feel left behind in such a setting. That being said, there is nothing wrong with splitting your team up into online learning sub-groups.

Dividing the group can even encourage collaborative learning as the small groups make everyone more accountable to participate in it. There is also less room for slacking in small groups, so each member has to put in more effort to keep up with all of the requirements. Just be sure to diversify the members of each group so that everyone has the opportunity to catch up. For example, you can create smaller groups sorted by expertise, skill level, age, or any other common factor that you can identify.

Keep Communication Constant

Virtual learning lacks the benefits that come with face-to-face encounters. Because there is more physical distance between you and your teammates, it’s even more important to stay in touch. Since you are unable to approach each other personally, everyone must make an effort to be online and responsive.

To get around this, create a group chat specifically for this purpose so that you can talk to your teammates outside of training. You can use this chat for work-related topics and even for some humourous banter, which can help you bond outside of the learning sessions. You can also create a separate group on social media to make it easier to share files and plan meetings for your online learning opportunities.

Develop Creative Conflict Resolution Tactics

When tensions run high in online groups, disputes can get out of control. Some people may passive-aggressively post about the issue while others may go offline for some time as a result. The typical methods for conflict resolution often do not work in a virtual setting, given the nature of online communication. As a group, people must know how to address these problems when they arise. Otherwise, these conflicts can seriously damage the relationships between members of said group.

Sharpen Your Presentation Skills

Another way to optimise online learning with your team is to have everyone practise and develop their presentation skills. Pulling off a good presentation usually requires in-depth knowledge and comprehension of the subject matter. Moreover, it also improves one’s public speaking skills and charisma. So if you want an effective way to lock in new lessons and apply what you’ve learned, definitely look into doing more presentations for your group.

Online learning can be more enjoyable when group work is thrown into the mix. The connection and the collaboration that come with being part of a team can do wonders to bolster the expansion of your skills and knowledge. Even if most interactions are kept virtual, the fact that people are coming together to improve in their line of expertise can transcend the lack of hands-on experience and instruction. Hopefully, you find these tips helpful in supplementing your online learning experiences.

Josephine Corcoran is a holistic career coach who does private and group coaching to assist her clients to find a purposeful career. Contact Josephine if you would like to book one of her group sessions.

Want to know how to further expand your skillset to manage an online team? Get in touch with Josephine Corcoran today.

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