Can Google and Wikipedia Fulfill Your Training Needs?
by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
“As of 14 November 2018, there are 5,751,939 articles in the English Wikipedia. Wikipedia continues to grow, and the number of articles in Wikipedia is increasing by over 20,000 a month.” ~ Wikipedia Entry for Size of Wikipedia
The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size. It’s like the index in the back of a book — with an entry for every word seen on every web page we index.
The advent of the internet has brought a radical change in employees’ access to information. An answer to just about any question can be attained by a few clicks on a smartphone or desktop. Busy employees may believe they can’t spare a day for training when so much information is readily available and can be accessed at the time they need to know it. There is no doubt that the benefits of Google and Wikipedia are high. They are much easier to use than most internal company repositories of information, they are quicker than tracking down a company subject matter expert in person or by e-mail, and noone needs to know that you lack knowledge about whatever it is you are seeking information.
So should we just turn training over to Google and Wikipedia? Maybe for some needs that is a fine solution, but overdependence on these sources carries risks.
“It’s easy to find information on Google guru but that’s not equal to gaining knowledge.” ~ Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
The fact remains that unless companies provide their employees with resources that are as easy to use as Google and Wikipedia, employees will continue to turn to these sources despite their limitations. Training departments need to think through what information employees are likely to need and find ways to provide options similar to Google/Wikipedia while addressing the concerns listed above. We suggest developing curated searchable repositories for key knowledge transfer. Curation by experienced employees can address many of the shortcomings noted above.
An example of such a repository is the Energy KnowledgeBase being developed by Enerdynamics for use by utilities and energy companies. It provides short well-researched nuggets of knowledge about key terms likely to be searched by employees in energy companies. Here is a sample page:
With the advance of technology, there is no doubt that learning alternatives will continue to grow. It is up to learning professionals to find or develop tools that appeal to learners and provide the knowledge needed. The addition of curated searchable repositories to company training is a perfect example of the ongoing learning evolution.
Interested in adding Energy KnowledgeBase to your company's training assets? Contact Enerdynamics at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-765-5432 ext. 700 for details and pricing.
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