5 Reasons to integrate Knowledge Management with Learning Management
Most businesses, especially larger ones, understand the importance of standardized procedures relating to how information and knowledge is stored and transmitted within the organization. Some even invest in technology such as corporate websites and intranets, learning management systems, or knowledge management systems.
And yet, HR, training and knowledge managers still struggle in their efforts to evaluate, classify, organize and prioritize documents and other knowledge materials before they can decide what information to make available to whom and how. Managing files updates, access rights, duplicates in separate locations, etc. adds further complexity to the knowledge management challenge, and can easily contribute to the failure of these kind of initiatives and investments.
Luckily, recent technological developments have made the merging of eLearning and knowledge management systems possible, offering a powerful solution to dealing with both structuring of corporate and employee information on one side as well as with the delivery of training and staff development programs. This marriage of previously two different systems, for two different purposes makes sense because essentially both are about one thing: the effective sharing of knowledge.
Below we present 5 strong reasons for why having knowledge management and eLearning under one roof:
Centralized updates. Reuse of resource. Duplicate avoidance.
Being able to (a) easily update files, especially to meet stringent ISO quality standards, and (b) re-use resources across sections, is a huge benefit to those managing the system. For example, you should be able to upload the same educational content just once, but use it for different purposes, programs or audiences, saving your valuable time and the company’s server space. At the same time, the eLearning system should allow for customized uses or views of this content, for each audience or department, in line with the user permission rights that apply. Lack of duplicates also improves the trust of users in the system and ensures they actually find the right information and spend time with exactly the right content.
Full control on access rights. Track with activity reports.
The ability to manage user access to the system via different access rights allows managers and administrators to have real control on who can upload, view and use which content, eliminating confusion, misuse of information and time wasting. Furthermore, modern eLearning platforms provide activity reporting features that are useful for getting an overview of how users spend time and progress through the programs, how they perform tests and complete training sections. It also allows managers to identify knowledge gaps, slow learners, high performers etc…
Employees can also provide feedback, exchange information or support each other through the use of suggestion boxes, comment sections, chats or discussion boards…promoting a knowledge sharing & professional best practice culture.
Blend formal and informal learning.
Modern eLearning platforms allow you to securely offer all kinds informational or training/educational content such as videos, press releases, product manuals, sales or customer service techniques & best practice, and many others, as non-downloadable SCORM format for security and confidentiality purposes. So the system can simultaneously act as a training system as well as a resource center, and help in formal, process-driven learning, as well as in ad-hoc, informal learning. It can even serve as a wide resource for trainers and moderators to flexibly tap into and reinforce their engagement with any audience.
Quick familiarity. Access to knowledge & experts. Hit the ground running.
Integrating eLearning with knowledge management should also allow newly joined employees to quickly familiarize themselves with their new work environment, with the organizational structure, “who is who” and where to find important information, people, etc…. This system would also provide access to FAQ information, about the organization or about their new roles, best practices discussion groups, or “Ask an Expert” sections that allows them to proactively seek advice and guidance from managers, trainers or other subject experts.
Sense of community. Loyalty.
Another great idea for a shared eLearning and knowledge management platform is to create a bulletin board or ‘corporate social media’ platform for all company-related announcements, new hires, job openings and other type of corporate incentives. When done well, these reinforce a sense of belonging and workplace community, thus also increasing staff loyalty in the company.
With the possibilities modern technology, specifically the workplace tried and tested eLearning and knowledge management platforms, and the integration of the two, managers, HR professionals, administrators, subject matter experts and educators have the ability to leverage professional development and knowledge management, thus increasing competitive advantage, with a single training & communication platform.