Sharing knowledge is not about giving people something, or getting something from them. That is only valid for information sharing. Sharing knowledge occurs when people are genuinely interested in helping one another develop new capacities for action; it is about creating learning processes. – Peter Senge
What is Knowledge Sharing?
It is an activity where knowledge is shared between people, friends, communities, and organizations.
As per the stages of Maturity Continuum (7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a book written by Stephen Covey), one can achieve success by gaining public victory,that is, working with people by sharing their knowledge.
Knowledge sharing is not like sharing a single chocolate, where you get one half and another gets the other half. It is a synergy where you benefit with a couple of chocolates. It is all about working together, helping others, and synergy.
Role of E-learning in Knowledge Sharing:
With the many advanced innovations in social media in the last 10 years, we have seen a huge increase in knowledge sharing through various social network sites among organizations and individuals.
How is knowledge sharing related to organizational learning and competitive advantage? In order to become effective and competitive, an organization should share and enhance its knowledge base.
As social networking is a successful medium of knowledge sharing, where people tend to share knowledge with their friends and colleagues. Keeping this in mind, organizations can deliver training through E-learning to all their employees using all the features that social networks serve in knowledge sharing.
E-learning is a combination of various tools, web-based and distributed for the purpose of training. It is a flexible learning platform where users can learn anywhere and anytime. If organizations deploy all their e-learning courses through the Learning Management System (LMS), information regarding product, compliance, or any safety policies, can be shared with all employees through live chat, forums section, sharing, and comment features.
In most of the organizations, employees from one department don’t have any idea what other department employees contribute in their manufacturing or solutions or product ordevelopment offerings. So in order to remove this barrier, organizationscan conduct learning workshops (i.e., learning seminars, learning expo, and exhibitions) where all employees from different domains will participate and share knowledge with others in the form of presentations, blogs, videos, and e-learning.
Advantages of Knowledge Sharing:
- Quicken response time – Whenever there is an issue to be addressed and if the employeesknow to whom to contact in order to resolve this issue, thenthere won’t be any waste of time. By this, the flow of information can be speeded up.
- Better efficiency – If a new process is devised, then details of this information should be shared immediately within the team and among the different departments of the organization, so that it will help to avoid complete cycle upfront.
- Better decision making – A huge bulk of data (information) overwhelm managers to make high-level decisions. In such situations, knowledge management will help by providing necessary information to make decisions.
- Growth and innovation – Most of the organizations are keen on increasing their revenues along with their growth in market. If they create knowledge through knowledge sharingandcollaboration, organizations can achieve much growth and innovation.
Along with advantages, there are some barriers for knowledge sharingamong employees in an organization:
- Lack of willingness to shareinformation
- Lack of time to share knowledge
- Strong hierarchy, position-based status, and formal power
- Discrepancies in experience levels
- Disinterest incontacting and interactingwith knowledge sources
- Lack of trust in people;misuse of knowledge
- Difference in culture or ethnic background.
I would like to share a case study about our organization; CommLab India initiated a one-month Learning event on implementing knowledge sharing throughout the organizationthrough user-generated content.
The objective of this endeavor was to promote cross-functional training in the company in order to better serve the customers and to increase the company’s competency as a whole.
It is common knowledge that functional teams generally work in isolationand are unaware of the developments, challenges, and innovations happening in the other teams, especially marketing/sales and operations. By assigning a dedicated time, where teams share and learn from one another, the sum total of knowledge in the company is increased and employees leverage this “other” knowledge in their own domains to achieve holistic results.
With this rationale in mind, CommLab launched an event, “Learning Seminar”, which happened during the entire month of September, culminating in a comprehensive test on the last day of the month.
The specific goals of the event were to:
- Promote cross-learning among the different teams
- Promote synergy and make the company stronger
The entire company was divided into 9 teams with representation from all main functions – marketing, sales, project management, instructional design, visual design, production, technology, and support.
These teams were given specific tasks to generate content in the form of blogs, info-graphics, videos, and classroom presentations.
- Every day, a specific time was assigned for the learners to read and comment on the learning assets on the LMS.
- Every week, two 30-minute presentations were made to the entire company on important subjects, followed by a vigorous question-answer session.
- 1,500 learning hours were clocked and this resulted in phenomenal user-generated content.
- 252 unique pieces of content in the form of blogs, info-graphics, videos, and PowerPoint presentations were generated.
The learning bytes were presented in multiple formats and took just 2-5 minutes to complete. Employees could comment, question, or post queries after going through each learning resource on the LMS. Queries were answered by peers or SMEs, facilitating a truly collaborative learning experience.
The experiment proved that, given clear targets and freedom to learn from one another, employees will learn much more than in any conventional e-learning or classroom training and all this at a fraction of the cost!
Though CommLab has been developing e-learning courses for external organizations, this is the first time that its employees were involved in an online and collaborative learning experience of this magnitude and scale for internal training purposes.
As a training manager, if you could remove these obstacles and start implementing knowledge sharing through e-Learning, it is bound to yield better and efficient results for your organization. Have anything to say? Please do share!