It doesn’t matter what sort of business you run, continual learning is something that you’ll need to do for the rest of your life, if you want to become and stay successful. Thankfully continuing your business education can be a fun and social experience especially if you involve yourself in collaborative learning opportunities.
Finding Collaborative Learning Communities
Use social media to access a few local groups online, start by looking at what groups the people you know on Facebook are taking part in. Once you join a few groups, you’ll be exposed to other opportunities to join more communities. LinkedIn also has many groups and opportunities to learn with others and is one of the major driving factors of LinkedIn. Participating in discussions online this way and in forums is a great way to participate in collaborative learning.
There are many different types of groups to become active in locally, your local chamber of commerce, the local business association, the small business center, or your local chapter of SCORE, are all ways that you can find collaborative learning opportunities that will help you learn more in your business.
If you read industry publications, you’ll be notified of industry events and opportunities for collaborative learning events. Sometimes these are weekend retreats, other times you can take part in members’ only online forums that help you learn from your peers and competition.
These are usually very small groups that you have to be invited to from someone who is already on the inside. You will likely discover these types of groups from your participation in the one of the other opportunities. If you get a chance to take part in a mastermind group, choose one that represents more than just your own niche so that your learning will be broader based.
Creating Collaborative Learning Communities
Inner Circles Or Mastermind Groups
Do you have a strong following among your audience? If so, create an inner circle. This can be a new income stream, too. All you need is a closed discussion forum to get started and the ability to invite a few of your inner circle in.
Social media groups
It’s easy today to start your own social media group with Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have a following at all, invite a few core people to join the initial group. Choose broadly from various niches so that you can learn from each other. Then ask questions of the group and encourage others to as well. Initially try to refrain from answering every question as your purpose at least initially is to drive participation, and that means sitting back and letting others get involved.
Local Meetup Events
Head over to Meetup.com were you can organize and plan your own collaborative learning communities around any topic that you want to. You don’t even have to be the leader, just the organizer. Many people who like to share, network, and learn will sign up for your small Meetup event, I know that I do, so if you’re in Perth or I’m visiting your city you might just catch me at your event.
Teach a Course
It might sound counterproductive to teach a course to learn collaboratively. But, it is amazing what you can learn from those whom you plan to teach. Plan a course around something you are an expert in, and then always give time for your students to speak up and talk about what they know. You can teach courses and classes by renting a location to do it or check with your local community college or university to see if they let the public teach lifelong learning courses.
Write a Blog
Share your experience and expertise with your audience, it’ll set you up as an expert in your field and it’ll enable you to research and learn all manner of things as you seek new subject matter to write about. By opening your blog up to others to comment on, you’ll also enable discussion and learning opportunities.
Collaborative learning opportunities abound both offline and online, if you keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground, you’ll find out about more opportunities to learn with others such as small events online and offline, inner circles, group coaching and more. When you put together several people from various industries and with different specialties, you’ll be amazed at what the group can accomplish and learn together.