Think back to your childhood – how did you learn? Odds are your parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors worked to instill the values of hard work, knowledge, and commitment. As we age and assume more responsibilities, we quickly realize the value of the life lessons taught to us as children. We carry these teachable moments with us and apply them as we grow professionally and personally. However, the need for learning never ends. In the workplace, the importance of knowledge grows exponentially. However, the way we experience and engage in teachable moments has changed.
Today, many people depend on online communities to access information and find answers. To make learning easier, many websites now offer users the opportunity to learn new skills on their own time. For example, not everyone can code a website, but with Q&A community participation, access to documented knowledge (i.e., video tutorials, articles, and more), and interaction with experts, many people are developing new skillsets every day. This level of engagement and learning have contributed to the new wave of teachable moments.
Teachable moments do not only bring value to professionals, but also to companies. Today’s organizations search for employees who possess the desire to learn and actively share knowledge. To ensure teachable moments do not stop after an employee is hired, companies should work to establish a culture of continuous learning and knowledge sharing. One way to do this is establishing an online community or knowledge base. An online community gives employees a place to participate in teachable moments. Within the community, employees can easily share their knowledge with others, learn new skills, and discuss innovative ideas. For example, with an internal knowledge community, new hires can access information as questions arise. They can also easily find important company information, such as a list of competitors or business and technical requirements for a new product feature. The community not only serves as a learning resource but also a centralized platform where employees with similar interests can connect and collaborate. Even better, the knowledge is memorialized for future teachable moments.
The way we engage in teachable moments has changed over the years, but one thing is constant: the need to continuously learn. Henry Adams, an American historian, novelist, and educator, once said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Both professionals and organizations can turn these words into action by participating in and implementing knowledge sharing communities.