To maximize the potential of the digital workplace, organizations need to consider how it relates to work processes and employee interactions. In an effective digital work environment, employees should conceive digital tools and services as innate to their work. Through digital learning, organizations can add important pieces to the puzzle of getting there.
Digital learning has multiple functions in the process of ensuring the effectiveness of the digital workplace. We have previously discussed the many faces of digital learning and that it encompasses activities allowing employees to learn independently. Although the conceptual core of learning remains intact, methods to bridge knowledge gaps increase when learning goes digital.
Such diverse nature of digital learning hints towards one of its great strengths: promoting new behaviors. As strategic communicators, we recall Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message”. In the organizational context, the power in the medium and message of digital learning can improve digital work-life.
To illustrate these points, let’s take a case of employees’ sense of community and its relation to knowledge sharing.
Knowledge sharing among employees as digital learning
In a well-functioning digital workplace, employees should be able to connect with each other and feel included. The question then is how to achieve this in a natural and unforced manner. Organizational cultural or behavioral changes are not sprints but extended and continuous processes. A key here is to make digital services and tools natural to processes, habits and interactions.
One approach of working towards such desired change is to implement knowledge sharing between employees in digital learning activities to improve employees’ sense of community.
The purpose of the digital learning initiative can thus become two-sided: establishing formats to improve employees’ sense of community and meeting specific learning objectives. The learning formats in question can, for instance, be webinars that employees take turns arranging, circulating blog authorship or interactive sites to the intranet, which works like a user-created forum. Regardless of format, the point is to strengthen a sense of community and familiarity through digital learning.
The case discussed here with knowledge sharing and organizational digital community serves to widen the horizons of digital learning. The main takeaway is to avoid looking at digital learning as traditional learning transferring to digital formats. Instead, consider the potential of digital learning in the specific organizational context and how it fits in the larger scheme of establishing an effective and healthy digital work environment.
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