A quick guide to knowledge sharing (L&D)
Employees’ knowledge and experience are valuable commodities. That’s why for L&D the capture and sharing of knowledge need to be a top priority.
Realizing your investment in knowledge
Studies suggest that as little as 10% of what we learn comes from formal training programs. The rest comes from learning on the job – learning by doing – and informal learning, from our peers. It’s a highly effective way of learning: employees ask for help and advice from others; experienced employees will mentor newcomers; bilateral consultations will lead to improvements in practices. The knowledge gained in the context in which it’s applied has more impact, improves retention of information, and makes what’s being learned more relevant and useful.
But because these exchanges are private, informal knowledge is shared unevenly. The full potential of everyday knowledge may be lost because it remains largely invisible.
The challenge then is to capture that informal and experiential learning so that it can be shared more widely, verified, standardized, and become part of the organization’s knowledge base.
8 ways to build a knowledge-sharing culture
- Recognize informal learning: Make informal learning an explicit part of your training policy. People are probably already collaborating and exchanging knowledge without recognizing they’re doing it. Peer-to-peer training and one-to-one mentoring encourage and facilitate the wider sharing of that knowledge. Recognition of the value of these practices will encourage others to adopt them.
- Facilitate social learning: Social learning means learning together. It involves creating shared learning spaces to allow collaboration and knowledge sharing in real time. Social learning transfers the practices and features of social media to learning in the workplace.
- Encourage content generation: Most informal learning isn’t captured, but it can be. It’s easy to make audio or video recordings on a mobile phone. Employees can create their own pieces of microlearning that can be shared and watched by others.
- Create a support library: You need a place to store and curate user-generated content. Learning management platforms provide a repository for informal learning and a means to distribute it. The content can be tagged for easy searching and made accessible across your ICT network.
- Open discussions: Discussion groups, whether in person or online, encourage employees to openly ask for assistance and share their own knowledge. Organize online training events that are led by learners rather than instructors so that knowledge can percolate up. LMSs come with discussion boards and social media forums that can be used to channel and capture informal knowledge.
- Incorporate into career development: Make the sharing of knowledge an explicit objective in performance targets. Reward and recognize contributions to knowledge sharing with awards, CPD accreditation, and career progression.
- Use apps: Technology can enhance knowledge sharing. Tools like SharePoint and Google Drive allow individuals to work with others on document creation. Project management and workflow apps like Trello and Slack offer with their social media features and shared project spaces combine ease of access and collaboration with the immediacy of instant messaging.
- Incorporating informal learning: As informal learning is captured using technology it can be added to more formal training. This means not only using an LMS to curate new content but aggregating the user-generated content to make it part of the formal training courses and programs.
10 benefits of knowledge sharing
Both individuals and organizations benefit from a culture of knowledge sharing in the following ways:
- Knowledge can be more effectively and efficiently shared across the organization.
- Knowledge sharing ensures better support for a more dispersed, remote, diverse workforce.
- A culture of knowledge sharing encourages behavioral change making learning more proactive and putting the learners’ needs front and center.
- Peer-to-peer learning increases learner motivation and engagement.
- The knowledge shared has real-world applications making it more relevant and trusted.
- The capture of informal knowledge helps L&D identify and fill skills gaps.
- The dissemination of learning with real-world applications of leads to better productivity and performance.
- Capturing and activating passive knowledge helps prevent a brain drain when experienced staff leaves.
- A workplace where knowledge sharing is encouraged and rewarded is a more attractive environment in which to work improving staff retention and making the organization a magnet for talent.
- Utilizing the experience and potential of employees delivers a better return on an organization’s investment.
A knowledge-sharing culture establishes a sustainable learning cycle where employees learn from their peers and in turn pass on their own knowledge and experience. The knowledge that was previously lost is now captured and available to all, raising the knowledge base and skills levels and creating a more attractive working environment and a healthier bottom line.
To find out how we can help with your organizations knowledge-sharing culture and make this more adaptable get in touch now.
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