How KM and Training intersect
KM and Training are different but complementary. Here’s how.
Knowledge management and Training both are concerned with learning, but both are different. Training is focused on learning at an individual level, and KM is focused on learning at team, project, community or organisational scale. Training is learning in preparation for work; KM is how poeple at work learn their way learn their way out of and through the work problems they face (thank to Nancy Dixon for that insight).
Yet teams and projects, organisations and communities of practice are made up of individuals, and KM involves individuals who learn and are trained – either by teachers, or by experience.
Traditional learning was classroom focused, but increasingly a wider view of L&OD is incorporating learning on the job – online learning, blended learning, the use of learning blogs and wikis, and remote learning through webcasts and other tools. KM and Training being to converge under a heading of “Learning”.
At a strategic level, KM and Training should be linked, and the strategic competencies of the organisation should be addressed by both disciplines. Consistent resources could be created, ensuring that new knowledge is provided consistently through training, through reference materials and through communities. KM can provide support and learning solutions outside the classroom, and personal development through interventions like site visits and learning visits can be linked with team learning as well. We have worked with one organisation where the Corporate University is supported by a series of communities of practice, so that Training and KM are structurally connected through the university and through the CoPs.
Training addresses the “Internalisation” box in the Nonaka and Takeuchi SECI model, which we have always found the hardest box to address through KM. This is the box where the individual or team interacts with the organisational knowledge base, and structures like simulations, role playing and games can provide a powerful way of transferring knowledge.
This message was passed on to us many years ago from Colonel Ed of the US Army, where there is a very close link between KM and training. The Training budget is 15% of the Army’s budget, which is a proportion no business will come anywhere near matching, but which enables the soldier to fully internalise, through experience, the most up-to-date war-fighting “doctrine” (the Army’s name of codified knowledge). Within the US Army, KM and Training are linked under the umbrella of TRADOC (Training and Doctrine).
In the non-military sector, a proper linkage between training and knowledge sharing, between building the capability of the individual and that of the organisation, and between L&OD and KM, is likely to be the next step forward in consolidating Knowledge Management as a fully embedded support mechanism for performance.
In order to link the two, you need the following –
- An integrated KM/L&OD strategy, focused around the critical areas of knowledge for the orgnisation
- Structural linkage of the KM and Training functions
- Structural linkage between the communities of practice and the owners of training courses
- A feed mechanism for new knowledge, case studies and lessons to enter training content
- A feed mechanism for new lessons gained through training (especially through practical exercises, case review and simulations) to be fed into business process
- Training content and Wiki content to be inseparable.