Jun 15, 2015

Disseminating classroom knowledge: How videos from classroom sessions can unlock value for the entire organization

Organizations invest a lot of money in conducting facilitator-led training for their workforce. While several studies have tried to estimate the real effectiveness of such training, it's reasonable to conclude that learners are able to take and apply only a portion of the gained knowledge to their work. The return on this investment is constrained by the number of learners who can participate in such sessions. Training documents created before the sessions offer only limited knowledge capture.

However, video-recording training sessions is an inexpensive way of capturing knowledge and facilitating its reuse across the enterprise. The instructional content is significantly enriched by classroom interaction, scenarios and role-playing, learner contributions, and facilitator-learner dialog.

A classroom video, once uploaded in a central repository, immediately becomes an organization-wide asset available to the entire workforce at the click of a mouse. That's just by making the synthesized content available. The video still may not be in a shape that's conducive to easy consumption and instructional assimilation. However, transcribing the audio from the video, or running a closed-caption algorithm for larger sessions, immediately makes the content searchable. With advances in enterprise content management and tagging keywords to videos, this gives the workforce the ability to access bite-size knowledge content on demand.

One of our clients, an integrated energy major, was facing a unique challenge: ~50% of the core engineering workforce would be retiring in a period of less than two years. These engineers possessed unique knowledge and expertise across multiple technology areas, such as exploration, drilling, and downstream technologies. With retirement deadlines just around the corner, the management was concerned about tacit knowledge walking out the door. That's when they organized a series of interactive classroom sessions and captured the videos for enterprise-wide dissemination. During a period of a few months, the CLO office was able to showcase to management how the video-based approach helped them successfully codify a significant volume of tacit information that would otherwise have been impossible to document.
The key idea is to capture classroom videos and make them available as nuggets for bite-size consumption, get searchable text by using a closed-caption algorithm or transcription, localize the videos, and host them in a central repository. This helps capture knowledge from classroom sessions in a form that's easy to consume and less tedious to produce and, more important, that spreads the classroom cost/effort to—potentially—the entire enterprise. Classroom content is just one source. There could be many more ways to capture tacit knowledge in this way, such as expert interviews, work-outs, and brown-bag chats.

When should you adopt such a strategy?

  • Of course, when knowledge resides only in the heads of certain employees
  • To support transformational initiatives, such as:
    • Merger and acquisition
    • Relocation of workforce
    • Setting up new sites
    • Opening a new line of business
  • To address the learning needs of a globally dispersed workforce
  • To overcome the impact of disruptive technology on the business

Rapid evolution of technology is one common reality across industries. Conventional ways of training and up-skilling a workforce are unable to keep pace in this dynamic world. Learning and development organizations now have the difficult task of keeping pace with the evolving learning needs of the workforce. Using classroom videos is an inexpensive and rapidly deployable learning solution that can be made available to an organization-wide audience.

Author: Subhajit Basu - Client Solutions Architect, Research, Content and Presentation Services