Sunday, April 30, 2006

Training Via Person To Person Interaction

I have worked in the eLearning industry for over 10 years. So the advise above might sound strange. However I have seen that high quality knowledge transfer happens only when there is large scale, prolonged people to people interaction. I read a few examples recently. Toyota motor company's famous production process relies on people a lot. Toyota uses less automation compared to American auto companies. Toyota moves hundreds of experienced people to their new plants for several months to train new employees.

Many corporations that I have seen in my 10 year career in the eLearning industry do something very strange. They spend millions of dollars on software that supports training and expect their employees around the world to become effective. I believe that large companies that rely on their employees' capabilities to derive their edge over competition should rely on tecnology based training and people to people interaction.

A Harvard Business Review Article describes this very well. Codified knowledge [Knowledge that is captured in documents and eLearning courses] is effective for training people on low value repetitive tasks. In most cases, high value knowledge in a company [the kind of knowledge that sets you apart from your competition] is new, poorly defined and tacit. The most effective way to share such knowledge is through high volume people to people interaction.

I am not talking about a two day offsite by the managers to discuss strategy. I am talking about putting the people who do the job in one physical location for weeks or months together to enable high value collaboration between them.

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