Monday, October 1, 2007

Convergence of Learning and Knowledge

Joe Horvath, of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, started off by pointing out how learning and knowledge management have been historically separate disciplines. With them converging, there are challenges and opportunities.

Knowledge management is designed for providing a future need for an indeterminate task and connecting the user directly with the content source.

Learning is designed to make a change in the learner to improve performance for a specified task, adding value to knowledge, beyond the source, to optimize instruction.

Knowledge management is moving to a task specific orientation and training is moving to direct learners to the source materials.

Joe pointed out some of the factors that are driving learning to KM, including the time crunch on employees, the long lead time in creating training materials and the low value learners associate with training. On the other side, compliance -related knowledge is driving KM to learning. You need to verify that employees have been to certain types of training (sexual harassment, SOX, etc.).

One theme that emerged from the talk is the move to more granular training in smaller bites. The enterprise should be looking to leverage more user-generated content in the learning process. The strategy should be to turn the training material into a hub for post-training reference. People will often better remember the event than the specific content information. People do not want to have to go to different systems to find information. The training repositories should be tied into the knowledge repositories and tied into the working environment of the user.

One challenge is keeping training content synchronized with related content. (This is always a problem. That binder of content given out at a training session quickly becomes out of date.) You need to reconcile quality and compliance standards with the need for speed and flexibility for effective support.

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