The Next Level for Learning and Knowledge Management Solutions in 2018
The missing ingredient with many new systems is a failure to measure and manage the cultural adoption of a new solution. Our aim is to fix that.
Posted by Dean Pianta, Solutions Manager
Following up from my last blog on the challenges of learning management today, we now discuss the challenges of the current solution we’re all used to: the traditional learning management system (LMS).
I believe many people are trying to stuff complex, operational problems into processes that really need to be revamped in the traditional LMS.
It boils down to realizing the differences in hard problems vs. easy problems. For example, rolling out a new, innovative system is a hard problem—especially if it requires a cultural shift in thinking.
There is no known answer, yet; knowledge is a “process.”
Hard problems are generally high-stakes and involve a team, not just individuals. Sharing and measuring knowledge transfer; scaffold-based learning theory; and social, informal learning theory are paramount because no single person ever has the answer.
These types of learning experiences are difficult to fit into a traditional LMS. Many times, the hard problems come across as a series of episodic training events. It requires a solution where teams solve and socialize problems together—in a learning continuum. For this, they need more sophisticated ways to learn, share their insights, and institutionalize knowledge—all at pace and scale.
Examples: Cyber Security, Disaster Recovery / Relief, Counter-Terrorism, Regional Stability Operations
The domain is well understood; knowledge is an “answer.”
Not that the domain is “easy,” but it is bounded and very well understood. In fact, the formal learning content is often developed by a single subject matter expert or small team.
Training can be delivered in a one-shot tutorial or a more complex progression of blended modes. Prescriptive, directed learning to a fairly novice learning community is ideal here.
Examples: Compliance Training, HR Training
For people to learn and use a system, they need to realize its true end value.
The value should be so clear that they cannot imagine life without it.
If the value is clear for the learner, instructor, and the community, everyone would take the time to learn the technology and maximize usage.
This example applies to almost every major solution I’ve worked on over the past 25 years.
Across the board, innovation has led to stellar solutions with less-than-stellar KM supporting the community. For every solution we deploy, we need to spend more time considering how the community could reject, accept, and ultimately drive value.
Capture Knowledge Better, and Use it to Benefit the Masses
At Adobe, we ask: how can we help leaders and subject matter experts share work on a regular basis, using the latest technology, so that they can be empowered to teach our next generation even better?
The same question applies on a larger scale. For our government to serve citizens in the best way, how are we organizing the people, processes, and technologies? What’s the collaboration model that maximizes the experience, to maximize collective knowledge transfer and measurement, and ultimately understand “mission readiness”?
Our goal is to help others capture and share knowledge at all levels. We want teammates to learn better from each other. If done properly, we maximize knowledge transfer at scale. We become efficient at answering the hard questions—we become proactive and even predictive.
Some believe the answer is with the latest collaboration tools—like Slack, Quip, Basecamp, Trello, etc. These are wonderful applications that work well with small groups—and should be used. But without this larger system that I speak of, they scatter information and prevent us from mining, measuring, institutionalizing and ultimately supporting decision making.
The Solution: Build a More Knowledgeable World with One Empowering Platform
Create one collaborative solution—or a set of tools under one roof.
All features need to provide APIs for the measurement of the respective experience and measured action that is personalized to your team’s needs.
There isn’t a platform that does all of this today but many groups, like the federal government’s Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) team, are leading the way with standards. The experience API (xAPI) and the Total Learning Architecture should guide our collective approach.
Here is why each word in the vision statement is so critical:
- “One”: One place for all communication (to replace email, Dropbox, Skype, etc.) that is tied to all of your projects, timelines and goals.
- “Collaborative”: It’s essential for team members to share their lessons, best practices, and help each other. This platform allows them to do that in a simple format.
- “Measured”: Analytics are woven into this platform so that it is easy to track KPIs and overall performance of content, processes, assessments, etc. This is perhaps the most important element—integrating a way for insights to be shared with the team on a regular basis, and an arena that is open for discussion.
- “Action”: The entire team is aligned in knowing what action to take based on the analytics. They can discuss right on the platform, in the same area as where the project first started and take swifter actions in their business.
- “Personalized”: This space takes personalization best practices found with digital marketing and applies them to improve the “signal to noise” problem of learners and employees. No more mass emails that do not impact you. No more notifications that don’t affect your team. This way, your team is focused with as minimal distractions and noise as possible.
Think of this new platform as the Amazon for knowledge where users belong to communities of interest. No more toggling back and forth between different tools. The platform is largely modular, so it can be personalized to ensure you can choose to hide features you don’t need, surface those you do need, and provide a light and fast experience for everyone.
And when best practices change—which they frequently do—parts of the platform can be updated for all team members in the same clear and visible place. That’s the value of a Platform as a Service. This is not a rigid, end user experience defined by a vendor. Rather, it is a set of KM services within an ecosystem. Therefore, as your community evolves, you can rebrand the solution, expose more advanced features, and tailor it appropriately. Do this annually or as needed.
Our goal is to create a true knowledge-sharing culture and environment. In this environment, power is given to those who have the most responsibilities. This knowledge-management tool can replace dozens of different applications in a way that streamlines the decision-making process. It makes it easier to work as teams and to get things done for customers.
Our responsibility as learning advocates is to empower those who have something to teach. We help them share knowledge better, faster, and more efficiently. Hopefully by bringing eLearning and KM experiences up to the innovation level of Amazon and Netflix, we will be able to fully exploit technology—and ultimately realize the ROI that senior leaders look for after big software purchases are made.
The “Corporate Guy” making a difference
Are you looking for one place where your team can more effectively work together? Our collaborative platform is modular so you can pick and choose what is most important to your team. These solutions are compliant with Federal, public cloud standards, such as FedRAMPSM. Contact us to start customizing your own solution. Learn more about Adobe’s vision for next-level knowledge management.