Hurdles to Social Learning and Knowledge Management


This post was originally in response to a discussion on LinkedIn to a targeted audience. I believe my readers here will find it useful. Here is a list of a few hurdles and suggestions to overcome them.

Executive Buy-In– In my opinion, this is the most important hurdle to be crossed. However, my experience proves that asking and involving executives to sponsor the initiative will lead to great success was proven at my former employers. The CEO Dame Marjorie Scardino sent an organization wide message communicating the importance of the initiative. She emphasized the strategic direction the organization needs to head toward, and the role of the social initiative in making that happen. Organizations that have not succeeded in implementing social collaboration software for their knowledge management activities need to lack of adoption may want to explore this aspect. If there is no C-Suite buy-in and push, it is likely that any social initiative will find only low to moderate success.

Content is one King, and the other is Design– Both play an equally important role: Design of the platform/tool and design of interactions. So one needs to think about UX, UI, and content. This hurdle can be crossed by implementing some of the best practices that have made networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and everyone’s any other favorite tool user-friendly, and worthy of attention due to content. Content is heavily dependent on participation. Participation by C-suite, senior leadership, and line managers can drive adoption of the initiative and the social collaboration platform. The platform then becomes a great knowledge management platform. For greater adoption spend time on encouraging, and onboarding people on the platform. Some suggestions to drive quality content- a) Invite ‘experts’ to share content in a non-threatening manner, b) invite experiences or achievements of groups, teams, individuals as a means to increase content on the platform. This strategy should drive more engagement, and further contribution.

Community Manager– This person plays an important role in enabling engagement, and training users on the platform. Repeated webinars/ conversations demonstrating the tool, the available content, the variety of interaction types, and interactions lead to engagement. An expert communicator with demonstrated interest and knowledge of managing communities will be a great asset to the success of the initiative.

Incentives– “Give me one reason why I should be doing more than I already do, and why, and why would I do this?” These are common questions asked by already overloaded individuals. Include game mechanics to give people an incentive to continue participation until content and interaction speak for themselves. Critics might say I am suggesting gamification of learning. On the contrary. I am encouraging learning designers, and community managers to think about using gamification to their advantage.

All of the above recommendations are assuming there is one unified platform that one would like to use. But if it is related to embedding Social-Learning opportunities within other modalities such as classroom-based learning, or within elearning it is crucial for a good learning design expert to lead the design of the interactions.

Please feel free to share, comment, and help increase the creative content here.

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