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Top 5 Tips to Collect and Protect Tacit Knowledge with Video

by Polycom Employee Cara Daly (cara_daly) ‎04-24-2014 12:44 PM - edited ‎04-24-2014 12:50 PM (2,064 Views)

An organization’s most valuable asset is knowledge.  Now more than ever before, organizations are aware of the importance of training to their success, and of the impact that training has on bottom-line performance.   Charles Jennings, former Chief Learning Officer of Reuters stated that only 10% of knowledge is derived from formal learning, while 70% comes from on-the-job experience.  That’s what we call ‘tacit knowledge.’ It’s the stuff you can’t find in manuals, the things you can only learn from decades on the job.  Or is it?



 It’s true that tacit knowledge is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it.  That’s why apprenticeships, shadowing, and mentoring programs exist; they provide and effective (but time-consuming) means for passing this specialized knowledge from one employee to another.  But given the fast-pace of business today, how many organizations can afford long learning curves?


Today, more and more organizations are embracing video as a means to collect, archive and protect tacit organizational knowledge.  Here are my top 5 takeaways for how user-generated video content and video-based training creates a more effective and informed workforce:


  1. Enable recording from your entire video network.  It’s hard to predict where knowledge and expertise will come from, and many people are unaware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others.  It’s important to create a knowledge sharing culture by encouraging informal best practice sharing, user-generated content, and mobile videos that can reduce learning curves and foster innovation.  Leveraging existing video conferencing endpoints or familiar desktop tools is a cost-effective way to achieve this objective.
  2. Standardize processes (like how videos are organized) across the organization.   It’s important to allow managers to approve submitted video content, apply metadata to enable users to search for specific tutorials, and file videos in the appropriate archive section through simple push-button workflows.  Organizations need to invest in the right tools to manage a growing content library with rules and logic.
  3. Formal training and tacit learning are two-sides of the same coin.  They shouldn’t be treated as separate initiatives when it comes to video.  Having a single video repository for both formal training and informal tutorials increases the likelihood that content will be found and consumed because it eliminates silos.
  4. Mobility provides information in the right place at the right time.  If a field service rep is performing a maintenance procedure, it’s much more convenient to view the tutorial right in front of the equipment, rather than back at a desk.   In a BYOD world, organizations can now provide complete, secure mobile access to their entire video content library from iPads and other devices.
  5. Regardless of topic, keep videos short and sweet.  It’s astonishing how much can be covered in 3 minutes.  Videos may range from “field video” segments that demonstrate best practices for maintaining equipment to tutorials on how to file expense reports, to “pre-job briefs,” or primers that prepare a worker for a complex task.  It’s better to have numerous video segments, rather than one long video, because it’s easier to consume.blog3.jpg

For more information as to how Polycom’s Video Content Management Solutions help training applications, watch this video and tell me what you think!

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  • In April 2009 I started "I’m a UC Blog." A year later I was awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Communications Server (now Lync), I contribute to Microsoft TechNet articles on Next Hop, co-manage the Microsoft Unified Communications User Group London and the Silicon Valley Lync User Group, and speak at technology events. My working week is spent in engineering at Polycom, focussing on the development of the Microsoft product portfolio that encompasses voice/video products and collaboration solutions. Prior to joining Polycom, I spent 15 years+ in IT Management
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