Are you giving your employee’s information overload or useful knowledge?
It’s a fact that there is just too much information in the world today
According to IBM, every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. This means 90 percent of data in the world has been created in the last two years. But this is just the beginning. With new technologies emerging, the amount of data is going to get even larger. It’s no wonder that our attention spans are decreasing. As we try to process the huge amount of information that is thrown at us every day we just physically can’t process it all! It leaves us feeling overwhelmed, inundated and confused.
Information stats that you should know
According to Learning Solutions, within one hour people will forget 50% of the new information that you give them. Within 24 hours, 70% of new information will be forgotten, and within a week you can expect 90% of it to have disappeared! These are some worrying figures for learning and development professionals.
So what is the difference between information and knowledge?
- Information is processed data; knowledge is useful information.
- Information gives you comprehension; knowledge gives you understanding.
- Information is easily transferable; knowledge needs to be learnt.
- Information is raw data that you simply read; knowledge is what you get when you combine information with analysis and experience.
From this, it is clear to see that timing is essential for employee training. Training needs to be available at the right time, when employees need it the most, allowing them to find it relevant and useful and turn it into actual knowledge.
How can you tell if you are giving your employee’s information overload or knowledge?
Ask yourself the questions below to find out:
- Do your employees have information available to them and easily accessible when they are at work trying to solve problems, or do they have to take time out to go and look for it?
- Does your learning solution give your staff frequent feedback or does it give them one big chunk of feedback at the very end?
- Is your employee training done every day or is it done weekly or even monthly?
- Do you combine activities with your learning or does it simply consist of reading tasks?
If you answered mostly yes to the first part of the questions then you are most likely encouraging your employees to gain knowledge. However, if you mostly answered yes to the second part of the question then you are probably just overloading your employees with information that they find hard to process and keep on top of.
What’s the solution?
- Easy access to information – Think of all the possible problems or questions that your staff could have, then make it incredibly easy for them to find the answers to those problems. For example, if you think your retail staff may have questions about your new products, you should put the information on a poster in the back of your store or put post-it notes on the back of your tills. Use an employee engagement app which hosts a knowledge base. You can upload all product information to the app, which employees can easily search and access on their phone or iPad.
- Feedback – It is essential that you always give your staff feedback so that they can gauge their understanding and comprehend the material better. You should ensure that you are constantly giving verbal feedback every day. You should have a learning platform that gives frequent feedback throughout, which helps users learn better and retain the information, rather than all of the feedback at the end, as users will find it hard to process the information and put it into context.
- Make learning easy – As we have mentioned above, for information to turn into knowledge it obviously needs to be learnt. Employees learn information if they are familiarised with it regularly. To make this happen you should introduce microlearning, as it allows your employees to easily fit the learning into their routine every day. Microlearning apps such as Oplift Engage produce short 1-5 minute learning modules which employees can complete when they have time. The flexible playlists allow staff to jump back into their learning at any time of the day. Gamification is another great way to ensure learning happens every day, you could hold short quizzes at the beginning of every shift, or use a gamification learning platform like Albert which Virgin Media currently use to train their staff. He gives staff three daily challenges, where they receive experience points (XP) every time they play and boost their score by answering correctly. All of these features boost user’s motivation to play and learn every day.
- Incorporate activities into your learning – As you need to combine experience with information for it to become knowledge, it is essential that you incorporate activities into your training methods. When you do training sessions, ensure you give them to small groups so that staff can ask questions and you can get them to carry out related activities. In your learning content make sure you incorporate things for learners to DO. Oplift Engage has assignments within its microlearning playlists, which are articles with one or more tasks to be completed. Staff are presented with a checklist of learning activities related to the article and they can mark these tasks off as they complete them. This means employees don’t just regurgitate knowledge, they go and put their learning into action.
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