Retaining Pieces of Knowledge Through Informal Learning
Workforces are changing at a rapid pace; this can be detrimental to knowledge retention and affect operations for organizations that lack the training procedures and materials to keep up. According to a study from Maastricht University, workers spend an average of 505 hours a year learning, of which 96% is done informally and only 4 percent formally. Essentially, most learning occurs in the flow of work, as individual pieces of knowledge rather than a structured instructor-led curriculum.
Without a methodology for retaining those pieces of knowledge, much of an organization’s daily operational understanding of how equipment or a process functions runs the risk of walking out the door each day. And that is just one example, there are other knowledge challenges beyond retiring workforces affecting organizations necessitating the need for greater training investment:
- Maintaining written paper-based training documentation is slow and labor intensive
- Existing training materials are often inaccessible during daily work
- Digital transformation projects are regularly establishing new processes and procedures
- Frequent updates to corporate pandemic response policies
- Inconsistent skillsets and performance between shifts and plants
This realization is leading many organizations to seek ways of capturing knowledge to repurpose it as informal learning. In an Industry 4.0 Report by Deloitte, 74% of manufacturers surveyed indicated that training is now a top investment priority because they recognize that doing so increases the resiliency of the business and re-invests in its most valuable
Regardless of the situation, it is essential to deploy a tool that not only standardizes and digitizes knowledge but facilitates continuous improvement of it driving sustainability and long-term value. The goal should be to take advantage of the full 96% of a worker’s informal learning to maximize absorption while their mind is focused on their daily tasks that can benefit most. And while there is no shortage of need for a mechanism to do that – it is important to note that informal learning comes in many forms, including viewing videos, reading documents or articles, and participating in forums and chat rooms. The key is providing an easy to use system that solves both capturing knowledge and presenting it for consumption.
Informal Learning with AVEVA Teamwork
AVEVA Teamwork is performance support software that brings together operations management and learning in the cloud to connect workers on the plant floor with collective knowledge through collaboration. A social media-like communication feed facilitates conversations remotely, and a digital repository of videos, images and documents provides in-the-flow learning and skills development. The application also keeps management informed with greater clarity into personnel interactions across equipment and processes that occur outside of control system applications.
AVEVA Teamwork focuses on four functional areas to empower users:
- Communication – connects workers and teams using the cloud across shifts, departments. and plants, leading to better visibility and faster problem solving.
- Digital Knowledge – gives workers access to the information they need, when they need it, while contiguously capturing new improved ways of working.
- Skills Management – defines a standardized way for workers and management to oversee and accelerate skills development.
- Issue Management – surfaces issues centrally for comprehensive review and management of problems, leading to permanent solutions.
Digitally connecting workers with a tool that promotes collaboration and knowledge retention using informal learning transforms tribal knowledge into collective knowledge, reducing the risk of critical insights being lost and reinforces operational efficiencies.