3 Ideas for Knowledge Sharing at the Workplace

Workplace knowledge sharing ideas

3 Ideas for Knowledge Sharing at the Workplace

Most successful learning organisations are great at sharing knowledge, both formally and informally. As more and more organisations comprise of knowledge workers, we should no longer undermine information exchanges as a tool for keeping the expertise up-to-date. At the same time, even companies with more practical jobs face a challenge of getting employees up to speed through onboarding as well as staying on top of the constant change in the business. These are all areas where fluid workplace knowledge sharing can make a big impact. Naturally, social media and collaboration platforms are a relatively easy way to get things started. However, here are three ideas that go slightly beyond that.

Letting employees train employees

In the conventional corporate setting, L&D is usually quite a top-down effort. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be. An interesting experiment could be to provide employees with tools to train their peers in the organisation. For instance, small group webinars could be a low entry point way of easily sharing knowledge. But you could also go a step further, and let employees start creating training content. This could take the form of micro-programs, short lessons and topical updates. Nearly all of us nowadays carry a smartphone – a powerful content production tool in its own right. Should you want to shoot practical how-to videos or capture work processes, you don’t have to look any further than that.

As many digital learning platforms nowadays come with rather easy-to-use content authoring tools, this kind of an approach doesn’t necessarily require much training. If you think about this as simple knowledge sharing rather than rigid learning design, the content should be valuable as long as the topics are relevant!

Sourcing tacit knowledge from employees

Now, if you’re still hesitant to give away the keys to the L&D kingdom, there’s another approach you may try too. No matter the job, people and teams always develop some specific, tacit knowledge about the tasks at hand. This may be e.g. improved workflows, better practices, systems knowledge or stakeholder insights. This is the kind of expert knowledge that you don’t learn “in the book”. However, it can be extremely valuable for the job in question.

Similar to employees training each other, we could surely extract this knowledge and formalise it into a learning experience. For instance, if you’re looking to train retail staff on store operations, you could ask the people at different locations to document and submit pieces of information to the L&D team. The L&D team could then use this “raw material” to build a more structured learning experience, or curate a pool of resources. In terms of knowledge sharing value and relevance, this is likely much higher than conventional content.

Employee or team challenges to unlock new ideas

While the previous parts have dealt with employees sharing existing knowledge, that’s not to say there’s no value in tapping into them for new ideas. On the contrary, the “front line” of any given job usually knows the workflows, routines, challenges and problems so well that they can be a major source of incremental process innovation. Most likely, there are a lot of ideas out there. It’s just that people don’t voice them for a variety of reasons. And often these are things that the company would be better off listening to as well!

So, instead of losing out on all those possibilities, how about trying to extract some of these new ideas? Now, this could take many forms. In the digital realm, the process could be similar to the few outlined above. Employees can submit their ideas, review others’ and suggest improvements. Alternatively, this could also take the form of a design sprint or a hackathon. With these facilitation mediums, it might also be convenient to prototype the ideas further. You could also turn this into a problem-based learning challenge. Regardless of which medium you choose, the relevant decision makers could then tap into this flow of ideas, and see which ones could be successfully implemented.

Final thoughts

Overall, effective knowledge sharing can be a huge tool of competitive advantage. It helps you to constantly improve, stay on top of change and even lead it. However, when implementing these kinds of initiatives, don’t forget to incentivise. If you wanna create a sharing culture, you need to establish a safe environment for it and then reward the behaviour accordingly. And if you think you may need help in figuring out how to implement these kind of things in your own organisation, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We’d be happy to embark on an exploration with you.

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How to Facilitate Community-based Learning?

How to facilitate community-based learning cover

How to Facilitate Community-based Learning?

The general job of L&D could be defined as transferring knowledge from those who have learned to those who need to learn. However, a challenge is that no matter the resources available, an L&D team is never able to accommodate all the learning needs in an organisation. The business needs and skills required at work are simply too complex – and changing rapidly. But could we do more without adding traditional resources? Community-based learning is a strategy that aims to connect organisational experts to learners and cut away the clutter in between. So, let’s look at how leveraging learning communities could benefit your organisation.

What is community-based learning?

Like mentioned, a community-based learning approach aims to connect organisational experts to the learners directly. On one hand, this allows willing experts to share their knowledge in a convenient manner. On the other hand, it enables the L&D to “crowdsource” a large part of its traditional work. A practical application of this could be employees sharing their own expertise to colleagues through a medium of their choosing.

How does this benefit the L&D team?

The benefits of community-driven learning can be manifold. Generally, effective strategies follow a particular division of labour. The L&D function tends to handle high-intensity, high-cost initiatives, whereas the community contributions tend to be more “long tail”. Regardless, organisations employing community-based learning strategies may see the benefits such as:

  • Much broader offerings of learning, without huge increases in direct cost
  • Better visibility to changing learning needs in the organisation
  • Increased collaboration opportunities, as people become aware of each other’s work and projects
  • The ability for the L&D team to focus on high-impact activities

How can we facilitate community-based learning in an organisation?

While there are many solutions to a problem, and you should always take your organisational culture into account, we’ve seen two distinct enablers for community-driven learning.

Firstly, since the idea is to match subject matter experts (SMEs) with interested learners, you need a some sort of marketplace. Within that marketplace, SMEs can share their knowledge and offer their expertise to others. The actual “delivery” of learning can take many forms (workshops, short talks, digital content etc.), but the important thing is to make it available. If the employees don’t know that the opportunity exists, they can’t take up on it.

Secondly, you need to embrace user-generated content. Combining the above marketplace method with easy tools for content development can really enable a great offering with good efficiency. From a resource constraint perspective, it doesn’t necessarily make sense for the L&D team to intervene even in the instructional design phase, if you can guarantee an acceptable base level of quality. By enabling the SMEs to freely generate and publish digital learning content, you unlock significant scalability. There are a lot of platforms out there enabling the users to seamlessly and quickly generate content. Then, naturally, if such community-generated learning program becomes a resound success, the L&D team might step in to optimise and add to the learning experience.

Final thoughts

Overall, community-based learning as a strategy has a lot to offer. However, implementing it successfully requires the L&D team to relinquish some of its control. Fundamentally, it’s about enabling learning by connecting people. And the funny thing is, that these more informal and collaborative learning activities might even be much more effective than conventional classroom training or eLearning courses. If you’d like to give community-based learning a try, or find ways of leveraging user-generated content in your learning strategy, we can help. Just contact us here.

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Social Learning Tips to Enable More Meaningful Discussions

Social learning tips enable better discussions

Social Learning Tips to Enable More Meaningful Discussions

Learning is largely a social process, whether we acknowledge it or not. Furthermore, your learners are social by nature. Thus, you should cater to that quality and enable learners to interact with each other during learning experiences. However, you shouldn’t expect any of this to happen automatically. Rather, it’s something that you need to enable and facilitate through technology and design. There are however a few good practices that we’ve compiled that you should look into. So, here are 3 social learning tips to facilitate better interactions.

Social learning tip #1: Encourage participation and contributions

Firstly, you should always encourage participation and contributions in your learning experiences. For instance, you can create initial engagement by having the learners introduce themselves and submit testimonials of their own experience with the topic. Overall, user-generated content can be a valuable driver to the overall learning activity. You should also think about different collaborative learning activities that your employees could engage in to bring a practical aspect to their learning.

You shouldn’t be afraid of constructive criticism either. By creating a safe discuss for argumentations and discussions, you’ll show that the discussions are not just for going through the motions. Similarly, you should never punish for inactivity on “being social” or introduce very strict success metrics of social learning. Commenting just for the sake of increasing one’s comment count doesn’t really contribute to anything.

Social learning tip #2: Keep the discussions with the content

No matter what kind of tools or social learning platforms you may use, you should try to integrate the social aspect into the natural flow of the program. Instead of having a separate forum or space for discussions, you should keep the interactions near the content. Annotations or different types of “social overlays/feeds” are a great way to do this. As your learners don’t have to move to a different “portal” or “page” to share their opinion, the discussions become more spontaneous. This results in a much more fruitful, relevant and to-the-point commentary, instead of manufactured posts on general topics.

If you’re using a lot of content with a playback content, such as videos or animations, it might be beneficial to time stamp the discussions. This way, comments e.g. on a video will appear as the video progresses. This even further improves the relevance and context of discussions.

Social learning tip #3: Initiate discussions and ask for comments

As you might guess from the previous section, totally free-form discussion is hard to evoke. Learners may refrain from commenting feeling that their experiences or thoughts might not be relevant or “right”. If that happens, you won’t be getting a lot of contributions.

Therefore, it pays to guide the discussions ever so slightly. While you shouldn’t censor discussions or restrict topics, you can discreetly point your learners to the items and topics you’d like them to discuss. For instance, deploy a few sample questions to start discussions at any point where you want to activate social interaction. However, remember to focus on quality as empty discussions are pointless. Thus, ask the learners for their own reflections and experiences on the learning topic instead of mundane things like whether they liked the content or not. Sharing of real opinions, ideas and experiences brings a lot more value not only to you, but even more importantly to the other learners.

Overall, you should attempt to make social interactions a seamless part of the learning experience. Forced and manufactured interactions don’t really serve a purpose. If you need help in designing better social learning experiences, contact us for more social learning tips and advise.

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How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

peer-to-peer learning in corporate environment

How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

Regardless of context, learning is much more of a social effort than we tend to think. People learn from each other, whether through mistakes, experiences, stories, testimonials or even straight-up coaching. While corporate learning remains largely a top down effort, you could save your L&D team a lot of trouble by enabling your employees to mentor and teach each other. As organisations are increasingly dispersed and filled with busy people, the issue might seem too big to tackle effectively. But that’s not the reality in most cases. And to demonstrate that, here are four different ways of facilitating peer-to-peer learning in your organisation.

1. Social learning platforms enable peer learning

In the past couple of years, social learning platforms have really risen up in the workplace ecosystem. While functionalities differ slightly, the logic and value proposition is real and clear. For a long time, the field of eLearning has completely neglected one of the most valuable aspects to the learning experience: interacting with other people. While this happens naturally in a classroom, often there hasn’t been even an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning while engaging with activities in a digital environment. Luckily, that has changed.

Social learning platforms enable discussions and sharing – the things peer-to-peer learning is all about – across geographies and organisational barriers. In the context of workplace learning, ultimately it’s not about the content. It’s about finding ways to implement the learning on the job. That’s where a community of peers can help a lot. Consider topics like leadership or managing a team. The topics tend to be quite abstract, but when you have someone sharing with you their experience of implementing such practices, you remove a lot of the barriers to implementation.

2. Skills Market Places for peer-to-peer coaching

In organisations, there are a lot of “hidden” skills that companies are not necessarily aware of. Nowadays as people change jobs and careers more frequently than ever, it’s more important than ever to tap into the increasingly diverse experience that our employees have. Establishing Skills Market Places can be a good way to support peer-to-peer learning and skills transfer organically within an organisation.

The idea of the skills market place is a rather simple: connecting people with specific skills to those who want to learn such skills. The people who have in-demand skills and are willing to teach others can indicate the subject matter that they’re good at. Similarly, people wanting to learn new skills indicate the type of skills they are looking to learn. Just drop in a bit of magic (and maybe a bit of tech to make things smoother!) and enable these groups of people to find each other. Let the employees manage the process, take control and engage in ways they see fit. Have them report back and analyse your data. As a side product, you’re much more likely to get an accurate view of your organisation’s skills map.

3. User-generated content is an untapped opportunity for peer learning in the workplace

As with the example of skills market places above, there’s a lot of valuable, tacit knowledge just sitting out there. Instead of sticking to the age-old and largely ineffective top-down training mantra, why not rethink the learning process? After all, it’s the employees who are the best experts at their jobs. They also know the organisational, functional, cultural and interpersonal barriers to implementing change and new behaviours in the organisation – something that even the management often has hard time grasping. Thus, they can generate content with unparalleled level of context and relevance.

As learning goes more into the workflow and shifts to on-demand resources, this type of user-generated content becomes increasingly valuable. It doesn’t necessarily need all the fancy bells and whistles. Often, the high context and relevance more than makes up for the extensive design work that we tend to opt for. Of course, it doesn’t have to be anarchy either, the L&D professionals should still keep control, facilitate the process and curate the content. But overall, the opportunity itself is too great to miss.

4. Collaboration tools enable peer-to-peer learning in the workflow

The fact remains that learning doesn’t only happens in classrooms or within learning platforms. Collaboration tools and platforms (e.g. Slack) are a true example of that. While not designed for learning, they provide a shared platform for employees to engage with each other. Discussion rooms, virtual workspaces, private chats along with the performance support are a great example of facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Whenever an employee encounters a problem with a project they’re working on, collaboration tools provide seamless and easy things to engage in the oldest modalities of learning – asking.

Sure, there are many ways to collaborate within the workplace. But when the workforce is increasingly flexible, short-tenured or even project-based, these kind of platforms increase in importance. We need to learn more than ever, but at the same time, it’s imperative to stay productive and not waste time in just-in-case type of learning activities. These tools not only help your people to work more efficiently, but also provide a great platform for learning from each other on the job, at the point of need.

Are you enabling peer-to-peer learning in your organisation? Are your digital learning resources and experiences still “unsocial”? We can help you with that. Just leave us a message here and we’ll get back to you.

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“Non-Tech” Corporate Learning Trends 2019

corporate learning trends

“Non-Tech” Corporate Learning Trends 2019

Last week we took a look at learning technology trends for 2019. While technological capabilities will be at the forefront of the developments corporate learning, there are important things happening outside of tech too. As we progress with technology, we are re-evaluating the effectiveness of our longstanding learning practices. As such, this results in improvements in learning methods, design and delivery even in offline settings. Thus, here are some of the “non-tech” corporate learning trends for 2019. 

Corporate learning trend #1: from learning management to learning experiences

Traditionally, corporate learning has been a very top-down approach. Unfortunately, too much of the focus has been on “learning management” instead of providing great learning experiences. In 2019, organisations will increasingly adopt learner-centric approaches to their strategy and design processes. This trend in corporate learning means that the ultimate focus is on the learner, their success and subsequent performance. Personalised learning experiences will supersede tick-box style eLearning courses. Organisations will finally start to focus on learning for the sake of learning and performance, rather than fulfilling arbitrary assessment or compliance criteria.

While the focus of this text is to focus on non-tech corporate learning trends, it should be said that this paradigm shift is further facilitated by developments in learning technology. 

Corporate learning trends #2: from corporate-controlled to user-generated content

In the era of the knowledge and information economy, corporate L&D is waking up to a realisation. There’s simply no way for any organisation to simultaneously produce all learning content themselves and keep abreast the speed of change. As learning needs are more diverse than ever before, there’s simply no resources. Hence, organisations will start looking inwards for untapped resources. Employees nowadays possess diverse sets of skills and tacit knowledge. Organisations will increasingly look for ways to tap into that hidden knowledge by letting employees engage in peer-to-peer, collaborative and social learning. These particular corporate learning trends provide a way of bypassing traditional lengthy learning design processes and help to keep the content up-to-date. 

Corporate learning trend #3: from formal learning towards performance support

Another realisation that corporate L&D professionals are increasingly making is that formal learning approaches fail to address the real business problems. Traditional methods of delivery, be it classroom or “eLearning” are too distant from the daily work. Learners don’t benefit from heaps of theoretical knowledge and new frameworks. Rather, they yearn for tips and practical applications to support their own work and performance. If the employee cannot apply the learning immediately, it’s very likely to forgotten. 

Thus, organisations will increasingly start looking into ways to integrate learning into the workflow. Instead of delivering everything just-in-case, learning will become much more just-in-time. Furthermore, performance support resources, e.g. coaching and microlearning will take over from lengthy activities. 

Corporate learning trend #4: towards fluid blended learning experiences

Finally, organisations will start paying increased attention to their learning delivery. For a while now, organisations have been jumping at digital without really thinking through it. Similarly, many have shrugged off the need for digital transformation thinking “…this can never be taught digitally…”. With 2019 around the corner, many organisations have realised that blended learning is probably the way to go. 

Hence, the focus will be on creating fluid blended learning experiences connecting the physical and the digital world. No activity can happen in isolation. Rather, organisations need to develop and maintain a solid and holistic understanding of every learning component and the role they play in the final outcomes. Meanwhile, trainers need to re-orient themselves for the digital era. Overall, all the pieces of the learning mix need to work in harmony with each other as well as the business operations and that will be a main focus area of many L&D departments. 

Is your L&D ready for 2019? If you’re not sure, feel free to contact us for a free consultation session. We’d be happy to help you future-proof your corporate learning. 

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Learning Content Curation vs. Design – Find What Suits You

Learning Content Curation vs Design

Learning Content Curation Vs. Design – Benefits and Pitfalls of Each Approach

The role of knowledge and information in learning and development has shifted quite dramatically in the last 10 years. Whereas knowledge once was a luxury available to the few, it has now become a free commodity available everywhere. Furthermore, with the impeccable speed of change it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep knowledge relevant and up-to-date. Hence, the old big investments into packaging of knowledge (learning content) have somewhat dried up – and for a valid reason. Organisations are sometimes struggling to justify the costs of designing learning activities from the ground up. As a result, a field of learning content curation has picked up. To clear up the ambiguities around content curation and learning design, let’s take a closer look into both.

What is learning content design? What is learning content curation?

Traditionally, the corporate approach to learning – and eLearning in particular – has been a design-led approach. The basic units, courses, are built from scratch. Learning content design generally starts with collection of subject matter, followed by scripting, storyboarding, building interactivity, visual design and technical execution, just to name a few. Overall, it’s a very tedious and resource-consuming process, but the results can be excellent if the designers are at the top of their game.

Learning content curation, on the other hand, relies on existing and readily available content. The fundamental principle is that of packaging, re-engineering and linking content to form coherent and relevant learning experience. Whereas a learning designer would build from scratch, a learning curator would compile material from sources available, with very little time spent on technical execution.

What’s the better approach then? Learning content curation or design?

As any complex problem, there’s no straight right or wrong answer to this one either. However, here’s a list of pros and cons with each approach that may help you to form an educated decision for your next project.

Learning Content Curation – PROS: 

Learning Content Curation – CONS:

  • There may not always be learning content available for your specific needs
  • Content cannot reach the same level of tailoring and customisation as with traditional design

Learning Content Design – PROS

  • Possible to deliver beautiful, tailored learning experiences
  • Better ability to address company specific issues – you control the type of content you have

Learning Content Design – CONS

  • Very time – and resource-consuming. Building learning content from scratch takes a very long time
  • Inflexibility in responding to rapid changes in the business and learning needs
  • Traditional top-down learning content design approaches have not produced good results (you may try more learner-centric design instead)

Finding a strategy that fits your learning needs

Overall, we expect a large shift towards a more curative approach to learning content in the future. The benefits of significant increase in flexibility and lower costs are too much to overrule. However, the design approach is not going to die either. If we were to build a corporate learning strategy on a clean table, we would advise our clients the following way. “Build capabilities for using a learning content curation approach for most of your learning content needs. Yet, consider using more comprehensive design processes to deliver training in high-impact areas”.

Are you curating or designing? Do you need help in shifting from a design focused strategy to a more agile curative approach? We can help you on the journey, just contact us.

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3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal Learning Digital Approach

3 Digital Approaches to Facilitate Informal Learning

Informal learning arguably makes up a large majority of all workplace learning. According to the 70:20:10 theory, informal learning accounts for up to 90% of all learning. Yet, the corporates often focus and drill down on the 10% – formal learning. As informal makes up such a large part of the learning mix, it’s important that we try to facilitate it in our organisations. It starts by doing more ‘pull’ instead of ‘push’ and creating channels for open communication, collaboration and internal influencing. Here are three easily implemented digital approaches to support informal learning in your organisation.

1. Creating communities for Social Learning Experiences

As with so many other things, communication is always the key. For informal learning to happen, you need to establish peer-to-peer communication channels within your company. These can be totally unstructured, like employees using their own social media tools to exchange information. However, it is generally advisable to adopt a semi-structured approach, whereas the company provides the platform for social collaboration and knowledge transfer. As such, the company also controls the knowledge being exchanged, and is able to intervene in problematic situations. With proper learning data tracking, you’ll also be able to pinpoint who are the internal influences and key opinion leaders within your own organisation.

In these communities, whether online or offline, employees can collaborate, exchange ideas and provide peer support. The approach is supported by the social learning theory, according to which students learn by mimicking and following others.

2. Curating accessible ‘Pull’ learning resources for on-demand needs

While corporates have generally adopted a ‘push’ model of learning, whereas content is authored by the company for to fulfil certain learning objectives, a ‘pull’ approach might is required as well. Instead of engaging in time consuming instructional design processes, companies should make the best use of free resources. The internet is full of free videos, documents and knowledge bites to use. Instead of designing content from scratch, corporate L&D professionals should focus some of their time on curating these types of content. A ‘course’ is less and less frequently the best solution to individuals’ learning needs.

Resources in various bite-sized formats, on the other hand, provide informal support at the time of need. Providing a library of curated supporting resources based on observed business needs provides a good basis for informal learning. Learners don’t have to waste time on searching the open internet for alternatives, as you’ve already curated the best resources for them. Furthermore, it’s much more easier and agile to produce curated resources than author formal courses! Hence the L&D team can save a lot of time as well.

3. Enable learning ownership and user-generated content

With a ‘pull’ approach to learning, you’re enabling individuals to take ownership of their own development. To take it further, you could also encourage them to take ownership of the organisation’s informal learning by allowing user-generated content. This type of sharing of best practices, tacit knowledge and tips and tricks is nothing new. Yet, in the age of social media, you can reap the benefits of it by providing a collaborative social learning platform. Therein, the employees can create their own content (e.g. videos) or share external resources (lectures, blogs, etc.). Even simple discussions and comment chains can provide valuable knowledge nuggets to others in the organisation.

Realistically speaking, the L&D team no longer has the best knowledge or the time to develop formal courses. Due to the speed of the economy, they might not even have time to curate all the necessary resources. By enabling users to be a part of the learning content development process, you’re able to scale up much faster. Meanwhile, you’re encouraging a more collaborative culture and letting employees to take ownership of the learning process, which should increase engagement by quite a bit. That’s the power of informal learning.

Do you need help facilitating the informal learning needs within your organisation? We’ll be happy to share you more in-depth insights, best practices and tools. Just contact us

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Experiential Learning 2.0 – Incorporating L&D into the Modern Workflow

experiential learning

Experiential Learning 2.0 – Incorporating L&D into the Modern Workflow

Experiential learning, or learning on-the-job is arguably the most effective way of learning in organisations. Whereas research supports that observation, experts have also developed many frameworks further capturing the importance of learning on the job. The 70:20:10 theory is a good example, and sets the stage by implying that 70% of learning happens on the job. While we agree that on-the-job learning might be the most important medium, we also recognise a challenge. As further research points out, experience doesn’t necessarily equal learning. Consequently, you can have a lot of experience with very little learning. Hence, it is more important than ever to ensure that we facilitate the experiential learning process in our organisations. Thus, we’ve compiled a few key tips on taking on-the-job learning to the 2.0.

On-demand and just-in-time learning work great on the job

Thanks to the adoption of mobile and other technologies, we have got access to more on-demand content than ever. Also, due to the modern nature of business and the constant change, upskilling people beforehand is becoming a mission impossible. Skills that are relevant today might not be relevant tomorrow. We are facing so many new problems and challenges in the day-to-day, that often we just have to make it up as we go along. This is where just-in time learning can help organisations thrive.

With on-demand and just-in-time done properly, people can access information and knowledge with only minor interruptions to their workflow. They are able to consume bite-sized knowledge, which reinforces their existing capabilities. Furthermore, they are able to apply the learning immediately. The application is the key part to all experiential learning. By enabling your people to learn and apply on the spot, instead of sitting them in a classroom, you can see them upskill faster than ever. Consequently, you are also ensuring that they are getting and applying the desired knowledge and not deviating too much from the SOPs or company guidelines.

You can use social learning and sharing to support the experiential learning

Naturally, amassing the library of on-demand content in the traditional way is potentially too time-consuming. Whereas learning and development professionals have traditionally curated all the learning content, that is not necessary anymore. In fact, by enabling your employees to create and share content you are able to achieve unprecedented scale. Furthermore, you ensure that the subject matter is of high quality and constantly updated. Whenever there’s a change in a particular workflow, one of the employees, a subject-matter expert, can update the key content to reflect that. Over time, the group can share best practices on any given topic as they accumulate experience.

This type of tacit knowledge gained through experience is highly valuable. It is not often that learners can get access to such a wealth of subject-matter expertise. But nowadays it is possible – thanks to technology. By giving your employees access to such knowledge base and enabling them to apply it on their jobs first hand, you are helping them to get from 0 to 100 faster than ever. That early acceleration in learning and becoming a productive individual is what helps businesses succeed in the current environment of constant change. Hence, it is important that we facilitate the experiential learning experience to reduce the time to proficiency.

All in all, experiential learning is still the most powerful way of learning. However, as everything moves so fast nowadays, we are not able to give our employees a long time to master their trade. Thus, it’s important that we take advantage of the opportunities and technologies available to transfer knowledge and develop competencies faster.

Are you facilitating on-the-job learning with the aid of technology? We happily share best practices and case studies in how to take experiential learning to the next generation. Just contact us here

 

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Empowering Employees with Collaborative Learning

collaborative learning

Empowering Employees with Collaborative Learning

In the corporate training world, we face major constraints, mainly in terms of finances and time. Naturally, this limits our ability to curate formal and structured learning activities for our employees. Hence, there are much more training needs that we can address. Yet, it is often that we have subject matter experts for virtually all these topics in our own organisation. Whereas formal training can be problematic due to the lack of agility, social and collaborative learning can help to bridge the gap in upskilling the workforce. Thus, lets take a look at how we can seamlessly empower our employees through collaborative learning.

Defining the role of collaborative learning in the learning architecture

Firstly, it’s important to start by defining where this type of social learning activities work best. In terms of employee effort required vs. value-add, it is likely that peer-to-peer learning is more suited for acquiring advanced knowledge in given topics. Loss of employee productivity is kept to a minimum, as only motivated and interested learners seek out the guidance of others. Furthermore, when there is an existing base level of knowledge, the peer-to-peer activities can focus on more experiential learning. For instance, subject matter experts could collaborate with the learners to create solutions for real business problems. Hence, you might consider providing the base knowledge through formal e-learning and then let your own experts become mentors for the interested few.

Creating platforms for peer-to-peer engagement

Consequently, for collaborative learning to work, there should be a platform for subject-matter experts and interested parties to meet. Whereas some situations may warrant a digital platform, a face-to-face approach might work well for others. The important thing is that learners are able to find “mentors” within the organisation who can guide them on their learning journey. Furthermore, learners should be able to connect with their peers to solve problems, share ideas and learn through discussion and interaction. Whatever the medium, it should be one that can be seamlessly incorporated into the flow of work. Naturally, the advantage of digital platforms is the access to e.g. discussion analytics. Proper analytics help you to capture the learning needs as well as identify key experts in your organisation.

Encouraging and motivating knowledge sharing

Naturally, it is vital to get the employees to share their expertise with others. Helping others is an area of intrinsic motivation for many. However, due to hectic jobs and everything that comes with them, you might want to consider extrinsic motivation tools as well. Gamification, for example, is an easy way to reward, recognise and motivate subject matter experts to share more. Naturally, it works also for motivating the learners to achieve more. Also, it is important to trust your employees to freely formulate their own training activities. This type of user-generated learning content approach is quite agile, as many personalised learning needs can be fulfilled rapidly. By giving the employees the freedom to dictate the collaborative learning experience, you’ll likely see much more motivated individuals as well.

Has your organisation taken up on collaborative learning or social learning? Would you like to find out about different ways to better knowledge transfer within your organisation? Just contact us and we’ll be happy to share our experiences. 

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User-Generated Learning Content – How to Approach It?

user-generated learning content

User-generated learning content – how should we approach it?

A major bottleneck with rolling out digital learning initiatives is the content production. As content is mostly done manually, L&D professionals may find themselves struggling to keep in the pace of the business change. Often, L&D professionals are managing too many roles by taking charge of the pedagogics, technical capabilities and the subject matter. In these cases, user-generated learning content can significantly reduce the workload and even improve the quality of learning materials.

Let the subject matter experts (SME) help with the Training Needs Analysis

L&D professionals like their training needs analysis. However, as we are not privy to all specific tasks and roles at different levels, the analysis often lacks relevance and actionable subject matter. Instead of L&D trying to define what training the business needs, the business should dictate what training the L&D gives. And instead of struggling with the subject matter yourself, you should let the real experts define what the tasks require. The seasoned employees know the skills and knowledge requirements of the job. You should let them play a major part in defining the training scope of the less experiences employees.

Next: source user-generated learning content from these SMEs

Once you have jointly defined the scope of training and content required, collaborate with the subject matter experts to produce it. All your employees have powerful content production capabilities with them at all times (hint: smart phones). The employees can easily produce subject matter input and the format can range from text to pictures and video.

By doing this, you are multiplying the amount of subject matter the L&D department receives and handles. With all this subject matter, the L&D professionals can focus on what they do best. Curating effective, engaging and pedagogically sound training materials. With different social platforms, you can also enable expert collaboration and peer review. This way, you can get your experts working on producing the most refined and relevant version of the content. Once the “raw” content is of very high, vetted quality, the L&D professional’s job becomes very easy.

Finally, build user-generated learning content into the everyday

To ensure continuous stream of subject matter and staying abreast of the changes on the business level, we need to change the culture. Make work or task related sharing and documentation the norm. Social sharing among the employees can be easily incentivised through different social platforms by e.g. gamification or financial rewards. Thanks to easy traceability, it’s very easy to incorporate these activities into e.g. performance assessments. Furthermore, tools for recording, screen capturing and sharing are so prevalent, that no major technological adoptions are needed.

By doing this, you ensure that the L&D professionals can keep in the pace of the business change. They’ll be able to predict future training needs better, thanks to increased visibility and transparency. Also, in challenging situations and business emergencies, they have the subject matter and network to roll out complementary training much faster.

Is your L&D department struggling to keep pace with business change? These types of social learning approaches may help. To find out more, just contact us here.

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