In my research on how to use short, on-the-spot videos to enrich corporate training, I came across a group called Digital Green. Digital Green has adopted social media to help farmers in remote areas to share technology, methods, and practices to improve farming. They use low budget, homemade videos to spread the knowledge and serve a community.
An interesting blog, by DotEarth, explains Digital Green’s adoption of similar methods to spread the word.
This got me thinking about a recent project. A large, global engineering company needed employee training on the range of products that they offer. They didn’t have an existing database of knowledge about the products that was easily accessible, and what information that was available was highly technical.
The knowledge base for the company also rested in the head’s of top employees. Faced with imminent retirement and an increasingly global workforce, the challenge was to find a way to institutionalize the existing knowledge while at the same time allowing easy access to this knowledge.
Seeing the effectiveness of the use of short, homegrown videos, such as used by Digital Green, suggested a simple solution: have the experienced technologists and sales personnel produce short videos explaining product knowledge training segments and upload them to a corporate training social website. Employees could go out into the field, shoot video of equipment in action, explain how products functions or have malfunctioned, come back to the office, edit the video and post it on the video site.
Instantly the entire global force could access this information, comment on it, and produce additional videos or add links to other resources. The company builds a database of technical and sales knowledge without having to invest in a large endeavor to organize and publish existing databases. At the same time, the experience in the company doesn’t get lost when an employee leaves or retires. A bonus, those employees who have retired can continue to contribute to the corporate training by commenting, producing and editing videos.
The technological investment is minimal, and consists mostly in providing the infrastructure for posting videos. The technologists and sales force all have smart phones, so they could shoot videos from handheld technology. Editing software is widely available. The expense of on-the-spot videos is low but the impact is high. A wise investment in social media that helps institutionalize corporate knowledge.