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The New Knowledge Worker: Enabling the Next Generation
If you search the term “knowledge worker” on the Internet, you will receive more than 900,000 references. This term elevates the common, everyday worker to an individual who has a greater responsibility in owning, processing and even maintaining the vast array of knowledge and information they face every day.
In an ongoing longitudinal study at Carnegie Mellon University, Robert Kelley analyzes how much information the average knowledge worker can retain when doing his or her job. He found the amount has decreased from 75 percent in 1986 to between 8 percent and 10 percent in 2006.
This research strongly challenges a learning program that bases a vast amount of its efforts on knowledge transfer. Taking a look at most formal learning programs, many learning departments might find that even with the best of intentions, they might not meet their audience’s needs. With that in mind, let’s look at some important areas that should be considered to better enable our learners.
1. Intended Outcomes of Formal Learning. If the knowledge and supporting process needed to do a job change frequently, learning organizations need to look at how they use formal instruction to support that change. For example, is the majority of time spent in instructor-led training memorizing steps and processes that will be out of date before the learner gets to use them, or is it spent learning techniques to find the most recent information when needed? In many learning programs, the sheer amount of information has grown to a level most learners never could internalize or apply. When do we pull back on volume and supplement with strategies and tools to navigate the content when needed?
2. Access to Relevant Knowledge. If formal instruction isn’t going to be enough, then an organization needs to make the most current and relevant knowledge accessible outside of that domain. Role-based and contextual information is critical, and it needs to be introduced through overall workflows and processes, not just by giving learners access to steps and tasks.
Many organizations I’ve worked with spend a lot of time and money making a vast array of information available without the appropriate framework for context and accessibility. Simply putting information out there isn’t enough. Steps without context can be dangerous, but likewise, offering a vast amount of background information without ease of access will be too burdensome — learners need a balance of both.
The Next Generation of HR: Whatâ€™s Wrong? Whatâ€™s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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