3 Reasons Why Knowledge Networks Raise The Bar For Social Learning Experiences

Kerry Brown

There is no doubt that digital technology has revolutionized how we communicate and live our lives. And when it comes to learning, it is a 24×7 event that’s as close as the nearest mobile device. The popularity and effectiveness of Internet search, social media, and gamification have allowed people to go beyond transferring knowledge locally – we are now sharing it worldwide.

This wave of change we are experiencing as consumers is prompting organizations and individual employees to entertain if or how these same technologies are applicable in the context of talent development. In a short amount of time, this experimentation has created a patchwork of different business areas and disciplines that have adopted their own habits and cultures around corporate learning. For many companies, this connects to the perception or reality that workers most likely do not have a complete set of skills needed to guide the business into the future.

However, do not mistake this technology as the culprit – social learning tools do provide significant advantages. The key is integrating the features we love as consumers into a single, united knowledge network. According to Forrester Consulting, this is worth the effort: companies with this mindset are onboarding and training new employees 13% faster and at a fraction of the cost.

Knowledge networks: Taking information sharing and learning to an entirely new level

Knowledge networking can be a cultural tool that not only serves the business, but also answers the learning needs of a multigenerational workforce. This is especially true for millennials who view life in a digitally connected world as the norm. In fact, one hiring manager stated in a recent Forrester report, “Millennials would not like to work at [a] company that doesn’t have a collaboration tool. It’s unimaginable — we can’t hire without it.”

Could you hire without digitizing learning? Most likely not – not even your competitors can. And it is not just millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z who are demanding it; Baby Boomers and Gen X want it, too.

Here are three reasons why knowledge networks should play a fundamental role in your learning initiatives.

  1. Learning experiences mirror how we learn in today’s digital world. By mimicking how people naturally learn, companies can help employees better retain and apply their new-found knowledge. This approach requires a combination of visual content, such as videos and infographics, and quick and easy access to subject-matter experts and peers who can supplement formal training with their experiences, ideas, and lessons learned. Most important, this information must be available anytime and anywhere employees work – even on their mobile devices.
  1.  New hires can start working as early as day one. Fostering a community empowers new hires engage with one another, collaborate on onboarding activities, and receive support from experts in other areas. In turn, training become not only highly efficient, but, more important, highly impactful. Access to topic-based communities, peer resources, and experts enables new employees to get answers to their questions and perform new responsibilities quickly.
  1. A workforce that learns together works together. Whenever learning is more social, accessible, and collaborative, an open culture of engagement begins to bloom. People are empowered to create and share information. Better yet, knowledge itself becomes the new currency in the workplace – strengthening team dynamics, improving productivity, and increasing employee retention rates. 

Find out how you can achieve a 516% ROI on your investment in a knowledge network. Watch the webinar replay “Create Your Continuous and Collaborative Learning Culture” here.


About Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown is the VP of User Adoption at SAP. She is an international speaker on change management, learning, talent and organizational development, social and collaboration, interacting with diverse global occupational cultures and industries, including many Fortune customers.