With the advent of globalization, the world is becoming a smaller place and this phenomenon heralds with itself a tremendous shift in the Workplace. Along with a number of other ramifications, this shift brings with itself the need for ‘lifetime learning’. In this scenario, Technology-aided learning builds a successful organization.
Organization Knowledge: What is it?
Knowledge resides within the organization at every level. Traditionally, this knowledge was considered to be data-centric. In other words, organizational knowledge was extracted out of the data presented by revenue collections through ‘cost price-selling price-profit’ model. An analysis of these numbers was conducted to predict future strategies.
However, this model does not take into account the many developments of the modern corporate world. Organizational Knowledge, for modern organization, embraces more than simple data or theories. It is a holistic look into context, history and most importantly, personal experiences.
Many organizations make success stories out of knowledge sharing and continuous workplace learning and can be termed as Learning Organizations. They can be defined through a series of characteristics:
• Learning organizations endeavor to create and sustain learning processes, which have a definite alignment towards improvement and innovation.
• They also identify systems within the organization which pave the way for Learning – including infrastructure to support learning, medium of learning and the process of evaluation.
• A learning organization also identifies, within its structure, three levels of learning.
• Individual Learning
• Team or Group Learning
• Organizational Learning
The success of such an organization lies in the fact that more and more people aspire to be associated with it. When an organization is committed to creating an array of learning opportunities, employees look at it as a workplace that will enhance their skills on a continuous basis.
Technology-aided learning: delivering customized learning solutions effectively
The natural progress from ‘creating a learning environment for the adult learner’ is to the aspect of delivery. Reaching out to large audience in an organization is a challenge for all Learning Organizations. Traditional ways of classroom learning fail to embrace the length and breadth of corporate world.
• Computers and networks within the organization (like intranets) were first used to deliver learning within organizations. This heralded the age of ‘technology aided learning’ – the era of Computer Based Trainings (sometimes distributed through a CD).
• While CBTs enjoyed popularity within the corporate world (and still do, within some circles), it was only with the widespread reach of the Internet that truly accelerated the growth of Technology-aided learning. Online training presents various ways of learning – from a simple content-based approach to experiential learning through simulations. The advent of mobile enabled learning has made learning content available as per the requirement and schedule of the learner. This has made learning truly learner-centric and proven to be the true success story of Learning in the new millennium.
Learning Management Systems: A very good place to start
A Learning Management System (LMS) acts like the backbone of a learning structure of an organization. In the pursuit of being successful Learning Organizations, an LMS is a rudimentary necessity. LMS acts as an ‘electronic teachers assistant, registrar and administrator’. Working on the model of the three Rs, an LMS has three main functionalities- Registration, Routing and Reporting.
Registration allows enrolling learners into one or multiple training courses. Modern LMSs allow importing learner data from other sources – like Employee Database which resides with the HR function. Routing takes a note of log-ins and leads the learner to the available course material. Special privileges are given to the systems administrator to maintain an optimum flow of learners as per training needs of the organization. Reporting or Analytics gives a summary of progress and results in the form of scores or points. Advanced analysis on scores can be conducted to adjudge learner satisfaction or how effective the training is. Intelligent LMSs are also equipped to prepare comparative studies to understand different learning styles or learner groups.
In conclusion, knowledge sharing in an organization is more of a necessity than simply ‘good practice’. It is also the most effective mode of Learning in an organization.