Digital Transformation in L&D: Digitizing Knowledge Capture from SMEs

New technology, consumer expectations, and a rapidly changing business landscape have been driving digital transformation for some years now. But for one reason or another, the adoption rate of digital transformation in certain sectors and companies has been slower than expected. 

However, shifts in market forces and the macro environment have become so unpredictable (the recent COVID19 outbreak is a prime example) that a sense of urgency is building to achieve digital transformation or risk being left behind to the point of company extinction. In fact, 70% of companies are either implementing a digital transformation strategy or are working on one.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation can be defined as the integration of digital technology and solutions into all aspects of a business’s processes. This will look different in every organization, but at its core, digital transformation requires a shift in culture and in the way products and services are produced and delivered.

Source: The Texas Record

Digital Transformation in Learning and Development

In learning and development, the urgency for digital transformation is being driven by increased demand for performance-based training and a shift in learner expectations. Today’s employees expect on-demand training experiences that help them achieve their goals, both within their day-to-day roles and as part of their professional development.

While the digitization of how learning experiences are deployed and created has largely been accomplished now that elearning has all but taken over, digital transformation of the front end of the training development process still lags behind.

Primarily, the capture and storing of knowledge from subject matter experts all across the organization still largely relies on in-person meetings and manual processes. This means training projects drag out and a large chunk of time is spent capturing knowledge before course design can even begin.

Learning Technology and Digital Transformation

L&D needs to find a way to quickly and easily capture and store vital information from SMEs to speed up the training development process. But to do this, the right technology needs to be in place.

Technology is both the driver and the end goal of digital transformation. While it started with computers and email being integrated into the workforce and our daily lives throughout the 80s and 90s, now companies are experiencing a second evolution of digital transformation as artificial intelligence, big data, and cultural factors such as work-from-home become the norm.

The technology you use to transform your processes should do more than simply moving a previously offline process online. It should enhance your team’s productivity and add value to the process itself by saving time or helping to uncover new insights and opportunities. 

But navigating these technology choices is a huge part of what is holding organizations back from effective digital transformation. In fact, 45% of executives don’t think their company has the right technology to implement a digital transformation and fewer than 30% of a company’s technology vendors are actively involved in their digital transformations.

Digital Knowledge Capture from SMEs

Selecting an authoring tool, hiring more instructional designers, or switching to a new LMS in order to deliver digital learning experiences is one thing. But transforming the processes your training team uses to manage training projects, collaborate together, and capture knowledge from subject matter experts (SMEs), is another.

Transformation doesn’t just refer to the user-facing end product. To truly achieve digital transformation that helps you keep up with today’s fast-paced business world, it’s imperative that your processes undergo a digital transformation, too.

When it comes to knowledge capture and collaborating with SMEs, steps towards digital knowledge capture could include the creation of knowledge repositories, recorded lectures, or using collaborative tools to direct them in course creation.

Quick Tips for Digital Knowledge Capture from SMEs

  • If you need to start small, begin with digitizing SME interviews through meeting software such as Zoom where conversations can be recorded and the video transcript quickly edited to condense important information
  • Interviews and extensive meetings are time-consuming. Create templates where SMEs can “data dump” their knowledge in a way that allows quick and easy sorting for instructional designers.
  • Index the knowledge to make it easily searchable for course designers.
  • Categorize the information by knowledge level – what is suitable material for beginners and what is more advanced.

Going Beyond Knowledge Capture

While knowledge capture is a necessary part of the training development process, digital transformation also offers the opportunity to get SMEs more involved in the creation of training. Many teams are creating training for themselves with or without the L&D department’s knowledge. This makes for poor learning experiences created by those without instructional design expertise.

By digitizing the process of knowledge capture and course development, the learning department can create processes, workflows, and templates that enable SMEs to quickly understand concepts such as learning objectives and best practices for which content to include for effective learning and knowledge retention.

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Digital Transformation in L&D: Digitizing Knowledge Capture from SMEs