Learning on the go!

brainInteresting it is that when somebody nudges you to come up with a list of top tools for learning, an introspective journey starts, including many internal monologues. I am a firm believer in the fact that whatever inputs I provide my brain with, “influences” what output I can expect from it, and with lesser free time at hand, I always try to make a well-thought, conscious choice of what “feed” I provide my grey cells with! When I saw the post by Jane Hart today asking to vote for the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015, the 9th Annual Survey, I started with a good look at my own learning ways, so to speak. I realized that there are so many tools I use in my personal life, which do not necessarily find their parallel “tools” in my work life, and coming from a person who is a Learning and OD professional herself, this speaks volumes at the glaring gap that needs to be covered! So yes, my list is as follows:

  • FIRST tool: Google Search
  • SECOND tool: Wikipedia
  • THIRD tool: Twitter
  • FOURTH tool: Apps like Mckinsey Insights etc.
  • FIFTH tool: LinkedIn posts
  • SIXTH tool: Videos (youtube, TED Videos)
  • SEVENTH tool: Blogger
  • EIGHTH tool: Flip Magazines
  • NINTH tool: Quora
  • TENTH tool?: Moocs

If I had to fill in this list for the tools I use at work for learning, it would be an entirely different list! I start my day with the twitter feed, read McKinsey Insights, one article each day on my mobile during my bus commute to work, I use the “getpocket” tool to save the articles (from twitter) that I want to read later. I watch TED talks very regularly and I hardly ever go for videos longer than 18 mins. I watch documentaries (mostly on cultures in different geographies) on areas of interest to me over the weekends on Youtube (I have subscribed to a few Youtube channels!), I spend more time on LinkedIn than on Facebook (and this is new in me!), I blog and read blogs, I have my own flip magazines and I follow a few magazines as well, and I love reading community generated replies on Quora! And in spite of all this time on the internet, yes, I still do have a life! 🙂 Until next time, be good!



“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”  ― Albert Einstein

DesktopDuring the previous two weeks I roamed around to seek answers to the questions baffling me regarding the best way to communicate, collaborate and manage knowledge in corporations. And I am lucky to be in a geography where sharing the knowledge comes naturally to professionals.

Last week I met people from Accenture, Ernst & Young, and SAP, and these interactions were much intellect-stimulating ones.

And the I read a piece by Thomas Davenport (an alumnus of McKinsey NY office) in McKinsey Quaterly, Rethinking knowledge work: A strategic approach, and the bits and pieces started to fall into place. Granted, this article was written in 2011, and with the pace that things change now, quiet a few things (must) have changed now, but the basics still hold strong. This article talks about Free Access approach and Structured Provision of Knowledge, and then the approaches that EY, SAP, Accenture have towards KM and social collaboration at work made more sense.

The need of the hour is to combine these two approaches and come up with a sustainable strategy that caters to the ever-evolving social-collaboration tools/platforms and at the same time have the spine of the organisation intact with a sturdy KM system.

We cannot jump into a running train of social collaboration tools ONLY without having the backbone of KM stiff and sturdy.

Amalgamation is the key here?

Dilbert is Right, says McKinsey report!

McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)  came up with a report in 2012, The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, and it had some pretty surprising numebrs.

Here, have a look:



Were we not saying all this while we need to move on to 20% of 70-20-10, and learn from our peers?

If this huge chunk of our work-week time is gone is looking for the right people, in writing mails-waiting for replies, in just looking for the right internal information (which is very much present in the maze of huge intranets that almost all companies have!), when and how do we learn from peers? Is there no way that these email could be decreased? Is there some way that we could connect to the Subject Matter Experts in a quick and easy way? Is there a way that we could find the information right at the moment of need very quickly?

Work, for sure, would be so much more fun!

But, where does the solution lie?

What eats up our time at work?

I like Dilbert. I think he says, in very simple yet loaded way, what we all go through in our professional life.

Check this out:


 Now, two questions for you:

1. Do you relate to this, A and B?

2. What would you rather choose, A,B, or C?

I think we have clear (and universal) answers for both!

What is this 70-20-10?

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards”. Vernon Saunders Law

Well, I wholeheartedly relate to the idea that no training can replace experience. In the previous post, we spoke about how experience becomes knowledge. In very simple terms there is a cycle (David Kolb’s learning cycle) we follow:

Concrete experience – Observation of and reflection on that experience – Formation of concepts based upon the reflection – Testing the new concepts – (repeat).

This cycle develops a knowledge-base in our mind, and that is of value that we cannot decipher.

Now, remember we spoke about 70-20-10 learning model in the previous post? To get into a tiny bit more details, I share with you the knowledge from the man who actually ideated it. Please have a look at the following video: 

Do you relate to this? Do you also think you learnt a lot from your peers and on the job, much more than you learnt in the formal training you had gone through?

Now the burning question that arises is: Given the fact that: 20% we learn from peer + 70% learning is based on our experience, will any new worker not need this knowledge-sharing also to come to speed at his/her work sooner?

Are we sharing?


Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree: you cannot put your finger upon even the simplest datum and say “this we know.”  T.S. Eliot

Knowledge for sure is a matter of degree and we all might be at different degree-points at the same time, for the same topic, in spite of us being a part of the same team, and same project.

Reason? We all are unique and we all have been blessed with a very unique machinery, our brain.spiral_new

Another plausible reason? We all made our own individual “learning-journeys”, as I would call it. Remember the 70-20-10 learning model we spoke about in the last post?

o-BRAIN-THOUGHT-facebookWhen these two reasons combine, what we all have in “our minds” is the “tacit knowledge”. Very broadly, tacit  knowledge collects all those things that we know how to do but perhaps do not know how to explain (at least systematically).

This is our “intellectual capital”. This “collective knowledge” is the companies’ greatest value. This knowledge that a company’s employees have is the most strategic asset of any organisation. And this asset, knowledge, is socially constructed and moreover this knowledge has socially mediated nature. This tacit knowledge needs construction, transformation and commodification also to some extent in any organisation. knowledge_transfer

In the past people used to pass on their accumulated knowledge and commercial wisdom on to future generations by telling stories about their work and experiences. But what do we do to share this “know-how” now?

Sure, we all have been sharing this tacit knowledge we have with our peers. But do we have the tools to do it in a structured way?

What was the last thing/platform/group/technology you used to share your very-individual-tacit-knowledge to a newbie or a peer?

How do we learn?

“We can know more than we can tell” (Polanyi 1966, p. 4).

Want to take a minute and think about what Polanyi said?

Do we really know more than we can tell? And if yes, how did we learn all that?

We had a few years of formal education, and then each job we took-up came with a few instructions, but then what we learned at the battle-ground (workplace) is something we learnt on-the-go.

How about taking a minute and reflecting on how we became this knowledge body that we are?

They say a picture says a thousand words.


Source: Charles Jennings 70: 20: 10 model of organizational learning in Winston noronha’s blog

Did you also learn like this?

Do you think now we (can) know why we know more than even we can tell?

Let’s talk more soon!