A couple of days ago, I was engaged in conversation with a potential client working in the Oil industry. We were talking around how the Digital Media (Video / Audio / Blogs / Podcasts / Conferences) could be used to enhance their Learning and Development processes.
Challenges arising for them included:
- Making Safety issues a key part of all training and development.
- Successfully inducting new staff into the organisation.
- Decreasing the time spent to train new staff to do the work required.
- Sharing knowledge from senior people (such as Drilling Managers) with new staff to aid the three points above.
He made a great quote in one of his articles:
It got me thinking how it might be possible to take traditional offline techniques for sharing knowledge and use them in the 'online' environment. A conference or event presentation offering up facts and figures is certainly positive where the subject matter is 'matter of fact', but inspiring people is a different matter.
If we speculate a bit on how much knowledge exists within organisations, in the form of experience and stories, then look at how it could be shared, there are many interesting possibilities.
A major issue is delivering asynchronous written material is that the reader doesn't get a chance to interact with the author on any 'personal' level. It's also open to misinterpretation. In 'oral cultures', the listener forms part of the story by interacting with the author. If we took this into a modern context, exciting things can happen.
If the rule that '80% of what we hear at conferences and training events is forgotten within two weeks' runs true, then what's the 20% that people most likely remember? My guess is that it's partly down to speaker charisma, but also down to their recollection of personal experiences.
Therefore, what about building training materials that make maximum use of staff's personal experience? Imagine this scenario. Two senior engineers in a roundtable discussion with new inductees. A moderator is in place to set the context for discussion. The idea being that the senior talk about pertinent experiences and what they learnt along their careers. Then, a recording is made, and circulated around all relevant new starters. Forget the technology or format for a minute, but this kind of discussion could have real value to both parties, and external audiences. Not only does it contextualise the issues, but it also clarifies the lessons.
This recording could be re-purposed in a number of ways:
- Edits could be included in live training sessions (such as audio embedded into powerpoints).
- 'Lessons learnt' hints'n'tips could be extracted for use in other media.
- Issues arising could form part of further conversations, perhaps even incorporated into theoretical problem solving excercises.
- Audio could be enhanced through the addition of imagery to form really contextual presenttions.
It's an exciting idea and one I plan to think about and blog on more in the future. Any thoughts would be welcome!