Informal learning is discussed a lot and is becoming a hot topic at more and more workplaces. This is in large part due to YouTube, Google and various Internet forums providing vast amounts of information by the touch of a few buttons. For school students it is more important to be able to find information fast than to memorize facts. But, this requires that information within organizations is easy to access, relevant and in a format that users can understand and absorb.
Material understood by the user is of course interesting from a knowledge-perspective. Organizations often strive to create multimedia-based and interactive material, but fail due to high costs and long delivery times and end up with a simple Word- or PDF-document nonetheless. Is this really something the end user deserves and accepts in the media-heavy society of today? Isn’t it time for change?
Many organizations work separately with education, documentation and support, keeping these areas isolated from each other - Despite the massive gains and benefits to be had by cooperatively producing and maintaining material for these functions. The material often has the same content, but is being produced in separate versions based on which department the user is stationed at, rather than their actual needs. This is usually due to a lack of internal routines and a system capable of supporting a more unified approach. How can one choose not to consolidate these functions? Common ways of working and a unified method of user communication should be strong keywords!
Constant demands for more efficient organizations with trimmed-down staff structures also put increased demands on self-service with high accessibility and relevance. Mobile accessibility should also be a given, but many organizations struggle there as well. Invest in competent coworkers and extract the existing knowledge. Create your own educational material to be shared with and understood by others in many different situations. By creating this material in smaller parts that can be combined into bigger contexts depending on your needs, unique financial advantages are achieved from both a production and an education perspective. Working together to create unified source material to be used by different part of the organization should be obvious.
The borders between education, documentation and support are being erased, but many keep high walls between different parts of their organizations. Is it really an option to refrain from this possibility to develop your business?
This is an article I published on https://cio.idg.se back in 2014. Even now, four years later, the subject still feels relevant. There is still a lot of room for improvement of knowledge sharing within our organizations.