8 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2008 3:06 PM by crossman

    What's your internal education strategy like?

      Remember when your company tried to get everyone to use that new instant messaging system? Yeah, me too. Seems like it took forever to reach critical mass.


      I figure we're doing that all over again with social software.


      So, how are you educating your colleagues? Repeated lunch-n-learns? Accosting them as they enter the company cafeteria? What?

        • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

          Wow. Crickets in this thread. What - nobody needs training in your company these days?


          C'mon. Share the goods.

          • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

            As the Training Manager in our company, and yet the person who introduced and leads the creation and growth of E2.0 solutions for internal and external use, I take all of this from a learning perspective.  So learning has been my wholistic focus from the beginning.  (Quite honestly, I believe the E2.0 initiatives in most organizations should be spearheaded from the organization in charge of learning, organizational development and human performance technology (HPT)  because this is what it is all about...)


            We have used a number of different strategies - a few of which, honestly, were covert.


            1. When I first introduce the idea of an Enterprise 2.0 environment, everyone balked at the idea.  So I took a area where they needed help: project management and started using a Basecamp by 37signals.com.  I did have an hour 'training' to show them how to use it.  Once they started using the tool they were hooked and loved it.  Sure, there were bumps in the road, but I had to help 'educate' them person by person.  Not the most efficient way, but the most effective way and the best way for our organization in that circumstance. STRATEGY #1: EDUCATE THEM WITHOUT THEM KNOWING YOU ARE EDUCATING THEM - A.K.A. EDUCATE THEM BY SERVING THEIR NEEDS.
            2. Once they were comfortable with the tools I brought up the idea again and everyone was much more willing to take a look at an Enterprise 2.0 solution (although I never called it that).  This meant A LOT of paradigm shifting.  From this point, a lot of the education came in meetings with the executives with a focus on why we should use a solution.  In this respect, who was being educated was more important than what they were being educated on.  Sure you have to have both, but if you are educating the wrong people it won't do any good.  Once you start talking to them about this, they are smart enough to pick it up and run with it.  They started thinking about things I have never thought of before, which bolstered their commitment.  STRATEGY #2: EDUCATE THE RIGHT PEOPLE - THOSE WITH THE ACCOUNTABILITY ON A BUSINESS OBJECTIVE LEVEL.
            3. Because my focus was** on training the organization and customers, people often came to me with problems or things they wish they could change.  I would often say, "Would it be nice if you could (enter some function that can be easily accomplished with an E2.0 solution)?"  They would emphatically say YES!  Then I would let them know that it is in the works.  This created the need / set the stage / opened their minds to wanting to be educated - a key piece when trying to help others learn.  STRATEGY #3: PREPARE THEM TO LEARN BY LEAVING THEM HUNGRY FOR IT.
            4. Once a few people were functionally on board and using tools, I let them, and set them up to 'evangelize' it without being too overt.  Realistically, it didn't take much on my end because the ideas and methods and tools started to spread. One would see a coworker using it, they would want to as well.  To take part in a project or meeting a new participant would be forced (in a positive way) to use the tools.  This was a natural process that I added Miracle Grow to as needed. STRATEGY #4: EDUCATE PEOPLE THROUGH PEOPLE.
            5. Only when we were about to launch our internal environment on a mass scale did I use a traditional educational organizational structure (too many 'al' words!)  And when I did there were not only real world examples, but there were real evangelists who were peers.  They even helped with the training on why/how to use.  We also created, and continue to create, on-the-fly online trainings which cover topics covered in a short amount of time.  For example, how to find information using communities, search and tags.  A few minute video gives the basics.  STRATEGY #5: EDUCATE THROUGH TRADITIONAL MEANS.
            6. Any new advancement, usage, worthwhile comment or otherwise was used to 'talk up' the new way of GTD (getting things done).  Whether it was a new feature added, new process created, new use which was discovered by an employee, a milestone in implementation or key metric in usage, or reaching business objectives (the real goals)... we shared it all. STRATEGY #6: EDUCATE THROUGH PR
            7. This next one was, by my estimation, the most effective and quickest to implement.  We would consult with departments on what troubled process they were still living with because they couldn't find a better solution.  We would then show them a new solution using the new tools.  They then would evaluate it, realize the potential, change the process and they would be the ones who got the processes rolling in their internal and crossfunctional teams.  People want to see it in action.  But, at the same time, they don't want more work.  So show them how to use it by replacing something broken with something that will work.  Don't add to their work.  STRATEGY #7: EDUCATE BY MAKING IT ENGAGING AND PERSONAL TO THEIR JOBS.
            8. After the launch to the whole company and after some time using it, I did some ethnographic research on how and why they were using the new technology.  Even though interviews are expensive and time consuming, they were very valuable.  I learned things and gained insights that could never have been obtained otherwise.  During these interviews I was able to do some 1-on-1 education and personalize it to their specific job.  Once I did that, they got excited and shared it with others and it spread.  The findings were then evaluated.  We then used the above strategies again to create other educational interactions.  STRATEGY #8: EDUCATE THROUGH EVALUATION.

            Only one of these can I say were traditional organizational education.  The rest involved unconventional, yet very powerful means of educating the employees base.  If we get stuck in the traditional model we will be missing opportunities for real effective education.

            • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

              I develop technical training. I have been posting about the idea of training educators so they understand what these tools can do to change instruction on my personal blog. I have been having meetings with my upper management, describing and explaining this new world to them. Next month I'll hold the first Knowledge Worker lunch and learn for my colleagues.  I'm starting with one of the most common objections I hear to even trying these new tools - no one has the time to introduce a steady stream of data. So I'll be discussing how to find, scan, and determine relevance for online information.

              • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

                I do an email "tips" every now and then but I am not sure if anybody actually reads them. Through RSS, I make an archive of them available through the overview page of each community.




                I think with Clearspace, as perhaps in anything technology related, there is just a divide between the people who just "figure things out" and those who think they need training for everything.  I am the one everybody comes to with questions on how to do something, and nobody trained me how to use the system.  Of course I am also still dealing with a few people who think they need to close one program on their computer in order to open another one.

                • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

                  Great points Kevin - thanks for taking time to write them up!


                  Ever thought about publishing an education best practices guide around those tips?


                  Also, I noticed that you mentioned online training in strategy #5.  We just released this week our distance learning courses for Clearspace users, administrators, and developers on http://www.jivetraining.com.  Would you be interested in taking a peak at the courses I've put together?  I'd greatly appreciate your feedback.

                  • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

                    Thanks, Rick.  I have thought about doing a guide around these - I just wouldn't know where to 'publish' them except for my blog, which I am doing in other areas as well.


                    Ya, I'd love to look at these.  Let me know how to sign up (didn't see the option).

                    • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

                      Thanks Kevin.  Enrollment key sent via PM.

                      • Re: What's your internal education strategy like?

                        We are looking at several types of training:


                        • User Training - Probably roll our own. Half of this is "how to use" and half is "spinning why we're doing this" and getting people excited to partake in the new paradigm.


                        • Space Admin Training - probably roll our own


                        • System Admin Training - Jive's pricing is reasonable so we probably will use that.


                        • Developer Training - definitely steer towards Jive training.