The importance of collaborative feedback

Ryan McCarthy shares his experiences about why collaborative learning adds value

In brief

  • Understanding how you learn is critical for improved outcomes
  • Learn from analysing people’s behaviour
  • Group environments encourage people to communicate their perspectives

Why collaborative learner sets you up for success?

When Ryan McCarthy CA, Managing Director of Stryker Medical realised that he needed to improve to succeed he did so by taking the ‘great’ from the people around him.

“I learnt through others and their actions, I critically analysed their behavior and then tailored that behavior to me and my own unique needs and circumstances.”

Ryan describes his learning style as kinesthetic “I have to do in-order-to learn” but reflects that it wasn’t always that way.

Ryan McCarthy CA

Ryan McCarthy CA, Managing Director of Stryker Medical

Learning preferences with your best interests at heart

“Before I truly understood how I liked to learn my career was on a different trajectory. When I realised how important it was to understand my learning preferences through self-discovery my resolve, passion and outcomes for learning improved significantly.”

While it wasn’t a single moment of enlightenment Ryan recalls with ease the clarity felt once he understood what it meant to learn with his best interests at heart.

“Group collaborative based study through reasoned and well -articulated discussion with peers, on a particular topic, is so much more valuable to me than reading a textbook and sitting in a lecture theatre.”

“A group environment encourages people to put their perspective forward. The value is being able to then cherry pick the views of others to inform your own opinion and articulate it.”

The power of feedback and trust

It is this theme of feedback that Ryan believes is at the core of learning and informed his most memorable learning experience at a 3-day high pressure business simulation course in the US.

“It was an intense environment, but a worthwhile one, because it was centered on trust, respect and a common goal. Feedback between group members was important and happened regularly over the 3 days, however on the last day I received some feedback that changed my life.”

“I was told I was an interrupter – I didn’t let people finish speaking…it was akin to kryptonite in a collaborative working group.”

While acknowledging the feedback it only worked because he was, “in a safe environment, with people that I trusted, respected and who had my best interest at heart.”

Advice for Gen Y learners

Reflecting on the experience, and with attention to the future of learning, Ryan underscores the importance of regular feedback particularly for Gen Y workers.

“Gen Y are going to want smaller doses of learning in a more frequent manner. Both organisations and Government have a role to play in-order-to provide more meaningful learning in bite sized pieces with regular feedback mechanisms through different mediums.”

And his advice for those that that don’t get enough feedback?

“Create your own. Approach people that you know observe you, who you trust, who you know will tell you the truth. Collaborative learning experiences such as feedback are more personal, more informal and of more value to you then any formal course could be.”

“If you don’t understand the way you learn everything you do in the learning space won’t be of maximum value to you.”
Ryan McCarthy CA

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