Have you got the knowledge?

first_imgHave you got the knowledge?On 1 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Trainingprofessionals need to take a firm grasp of the knowledge management reinsTrainingprofessionals could be forgiven for getting a feeling of déjà vu, when theyhear the phrase “knowledge management”. Is there really any difference between whatwe now call KM and what a few years ago we described with missionary zeal as“becoming a learning organisation”?No,suggests Christine Evans, an associate at the Roffey Park Institute, whosereport, Developing a Knowledge Creating Culture, was published last summer.“The learning organisation never really took off because it was perceived as ahuman resources need, not a business need. But KM is perceived as a businessneed,” Evans says.Butdon’t despair, and don’t dismiss knowledge management as an IT project orsomething for strategists. IT folk are slowly losing their grip on KM andlearning is now an integral part – which means training managers have to gettheir oar in.Furthermore,experts advise that such projects don’t work if they are left to technicalenthusiasts alone. “The project team should include people from a range ofbackgrounds. It should include marketing, IT, learning and HR people,” Evanssays.Knowledgemanagement is essentially the creating, capturing and sharing of information.On the one hand there is all the explicit information, such as how systemswork, technical and skills knowledge, which can be contained within manuals anddirectories. But beyond that there is the push to capture an organisation’s“tacit” knowledge – the mass of its experience.Muchof the push to set up a knowledge management system has come out of thedownsizing and delayering of the past 15 years. The speed of change, the needto react swiftly to market conditions and competition for scarce skills has putfurther pressure on the need to keep hold of the knowledge base. At the sametime, the development of the Internet and intranets has provided a powerfulsolution.HumancontactButas firms develop their KM systems it is clear that it is not just about databanksand document retrieval. IBM has a fairly well-developed knowledge managementsystem based on levels of knowledge sharing. Much of it does go on via e-mail,says senior consultant in knowledge management at IBM Mark Watkinson, but ithas not, contrary to original expectations eradicated the human contact. “Itdoesn’t all go on over the Internet and there will always be an element ofintervention,” he says.Sowhat can training offer the KM project? To start with there are the basicskills needed to operate the system. This does not just mean technical skillsthat go with a particular piece of software, says head of organisationallearning at BT Marc Auckland. There are other skills implicit in the knowledgeeconomy, such as presentation, managing relationships, networking and otherinterpersonal skills that make the system come alive.Inaddition there is a massive editing job needed on the information that gets onto the KM system – which would benefit from some of the skills of the trainingmanager. Stephen Carlin is business consultant, people and knowledge, at Meta4,a software supplier that is linking its KM systems in with personnel. Carlinhighlights two levels of editing.Thefirst level is basically translating some of the explicit, technical knowledgeinto a document that non-techies will read and understand. InformationoverloadOna more strategic level there is the issue of deciding what an organisationneeds to know and so what goes into the knowledge depository. “There is aserious danger of information overload if there is no editorial control in theKM system,” Carlin says. He argues that an organisation will have more successif it e-mails staff several well-edited documents with the essentialinformation.Linkedto this is the issue of how information or knowledge is delivered. This isabsolutely in the training arena. Training specialists have spent yearsanalysing how people learn and how they retain information in a way that theycan use it. Now is the time to make the most of that experience. As Evanspoints out, trainers “are the experts in enabling learning”.Thisprocess is also about harnessing KM to meet your ends as a trainer. At IBM, forexample, Mark Watkinson says e-learning is very much part of the knowledgemanagement system – an important mechanism for delivering information andskills to the workforce.Buttake care, warns Paul English, head of marketing at e-learning supplierFuturemedia. There are plenty of products on the market, but no one has reallycreated the interface between e-learning and knowledge management systems.  “People won’t genuinely be doing this until2002-3,” English estimates.SharingcultureFinally,training has a crucial role to play in terms of the cultural change that isimplicit in knowledge management. As Stephen Carlin points out, knowledge ispower and if you are asking people to share it, you need to create a sharingculture. This has huge implications for your management and communications aswell as reward systems. Training has to be in there with a strategy using alltheir own explicit and tacit knowledge about management and team development.Butbefore you go knocking on the chief knowledge officer’s door, make sure youknow that whatever you are offering is linked to a cultural change strategy.Whyyou need the know-how–Training professionals are driving the dialogue around capabilities,competencies and performance. KM represents an extended dimension to this. –As we shift from classroom-based training towards broader models of learning,the knowledge transfer aspects of KM must be integral to learning delivery, anddeveloped within the extended frameworks of eLearning and e-HR.–Technology approaches to support KM and those to support learning are closelyrelated. –In a market where companies are differentiated by their knowledge workers, HRand training must embrace a larger role. Competency-based assessments and staffdevelopment are part of a broader move towards performance-centric working. KMprovides a set of tools to accelerate this shift and manage its outcomes.Compiledwith the help of David Wilson, managing director of eLearnity Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img

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