Measuring Knowledge is Power
I was reminded of our tag line ‘Measuring Knowledge is Power’ after reading a recent article at TrainingIndustry.com titled “Measuring Informal Learning” by Tom Kelly. In the last six months there has been at least one major article written each month on the paradigm shift that is occurring within learning. Recent research is indicating that “water cooler” learning has surpassed formalized learning processes within corporations. What is interesting in these studies is that this phenomenon has suddenly appeared. However, it has been there all along, slowly developing but well outside the scope of Learning Management Systems.
As a pioneer in the eLearning industry, Intralearn Software recognized that not all learning was course based. In 1998 we introduced the concept of using small nuggets of information that could be associated with surveys, assessments and social learning features such as chats/discussions. This learning object could then be assigned to individuals or groups and the result could be tallied and measured against corporate objectives.
Ten years later, Intralearn introduced the ability to use individual documents/files in Microsoft SharePoint Knowledge base demo, going against the trend of creating an integrated Learning Content Management System. Our strategy continued to focus on SharePoint, as LearningServer was then able to be accessed via SharePoint Web Parts. While LearningServer contained the ability to add learning structure around knowledge living in SharePoint, it also was a full LMS straddling the fence between formal and structured informal learning.
Organizations need to measure both informal and formal learning. Most organizations already have formalized learning systems in place being managed by training teams within its corporate structure. In order to best serve the broader, newly recognized requirement of structuring informal learning processes, Intralearn has released NanoLearn.
NanoLearn contains a small core of structure to identify user identified/created content and capture knowledge acquisition. This can then be measured against corporate goals.
Microsoft SharePoint offers the best scalable platform, as not only a corporate knowledge repository, but as a vehicle to define the “water cooler.” This includes SharePoint groups, connections to social networking such as Lync and Yammer, Dashboards, reporting, tasks, and workflow. There is no doubt that informal learning extends beyond SharePoint to external sources such as YouTube videos, blogs, wikis, and social media sites. These systems, including SharePoint, all have the ability to capture “seat views” as well as pass on recommendations to others.
Professionals today have the ability to quickly locate solutions to problems. However, this collection of knowledge is never retained so it can be measured.
NanoLearn provides the vehicle to identify, track, and validate knowledge of this unstructured information. For instance, consider a competitive sales process. Strong sales people not only utilize formal training, but gather additional information from sources such as competitors’ web sites, press releases, research materials, competitive training and product videos, discussions with peers, as well as customer referrals or case studies. Currently, none of this knowledge is captured/measured when (if) it’s dispersed to the rest of the sales team; this is the problem NanoLearn seeks to solve.
The NanoLearn Process:
1) Identify valuable content (from SharePoint or the Web) 2) Add a validator (to confirm viewing/understanding of content; such as an eSignature, interaction, or quiz) 3) Assign it to the appropriate group(s) of people (e.g. Sales team) 4) View metrics to correlate the value of content to job performance
NanoLearn provides a centralized location for decentralized knowledge to be tracked and measured. This provides a better view of corporate Key Performance Indicators and rewards the employees as direct contributors to the corporation’s success.
Jerry Goguen is the CEO of Intralearn Software
TrainingIndustry.com spotlights the latest news, articles, case studies and best practices within the training industry. TrainingIndustry.com brings the top industry subject matter experts together in one place to experience the “best of the best.” Our bloggers focus on providing useful information and unique insight surrounding today’s challenges and success stories. Tom Kelly has more than 25 years of experience in the education and training industry and has held executive and leadership positions at NetApp, Cisco, Oracle Corporation, Sun Microsystems, NeXT Corporation and Control Data Corporation.
View article: Measuring Informal Learning