Friday, August 5, 2011

Information Overload and New Initiatives

A recent article over at CLO online talks about the problem of information overload in the workplace. The article talks about the impact of this problem on the quality of work, the morale of employees, and the amount of time information overload causes when people have to keep re-orienting to tasks they get pulled away from, or get prioritized into.

While the thrust of the article is about how to reduce and manage information overload, what I think this article partially highlights is the importance of the design and adoption of informal learning solutions for workplace learning and performance professionals. The explosion of new technologies for activities such as social networking, social media, collaboration, and the various means by which information can be made available in different content forms, means that people are going to be forced to choose, and some may adopt a new initiative for things like internal social networking or collaboration, but others may choose to stick with the tried-and-true methods that they drew success from prior to the new implementation. As is often the case in today's world, it's about change management.

I have been in situations where I've researched different options for an effective informal learning implementation, and the design that ends up taking hold (because time constraints are short and no time is given to experiment, a separate organizational concern) is the one I know most employees are going to use, rather than the one that may be more effective at connecting people with information, and put that ever-important content curation dimension in the hands of experts. The influence of existing practice and the it's-what-I-know factor can be a serious challenge when trying to change the information behaviors of an organization.

The lesson of the article above, for me, is that buy-in and a sensible implementation and marketing strategy to move an organization away from older, less efficient formal or informal information systems, is the key to an organization's success from transformational and learning perspectives.

1 comment:

  1. Tap them in to what they know, get them going on what they are passionate about and encourage them with skills on how to collaborate with others with similar or complimentary passions. Innovation. New, brand new exciting solutions to old problems keeps things alive and growing. This works, even on the simple tasks. Practice it there and the workplace becomes alive, moral boosts and the big tasks become easier, more effective and exciting to bring through to fruition.
    People will find, digest and implement the facts they need to complete tasks driven by their passion in this manner. They will find the information. Not the other way around. Information absorption never comes from injecting or inundating people with it. They have to want it first.