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Why you should share learning at work

You’ve applied to attend a high-profile, expensive professional development experience at work, on a topic of importance to your organisation. That could be a conference, training session, webinar or another type of learning opportunity. You’re stoked and can’t wait.

Your experience is amazing, and you’ve built new and exciting knowledge. Just as valuable, you’ve made new connections with fellow participants.

Why not show your appreciation to your management and offer to hold a session with team members on what you’ve learned? Being proactive this way will demonstrate your appreciation for the investment your organisation has made. And it will benefit others in many ways too.

Too often, staff take a course and then hoard the knowledge. Or they just plain forget – or can’t be bothered – to share after the professional development opportunity is done and dusted. So take time to gather your thoughts and pull together what’s important to share. You’ll find it well worth the effort and rewarding.

This expert article explores how knowledge sharing maximises opportunities for all. It examines what knowledge sharing is, why it’s important and some ways to share your newfound knowledge.

What is knowledge sharing in the workplace?

Simply put, knowledge sharing is about increasing the collective understanding and learning of everyone in a workplace. It’s designed to ‘share the love’ around new information and knowledge.

Why is it important?

Organisations may not be able to afford to send everyone on expensive professional development opportunities. If they can afford to send one, however, isn’t it then smart to build in time for knowledge sharing?

The benefits are endless. Knowledge sharing can, for example, make your organisation:

  • better equipped with the latest in the marketplace
  • more competitive and leading edge
  • better positioned to problem-solve and manage risk
  • more productive and efficient
  • able to be innovative and think in new ways
  • in a position to maximise an often-limited training budget.

Knowledge sharing also builds the capacity of others in your team, which is rewarding for everyone. This, in turn, helps the collective whole.

How to achieve knowledge sharing?

Knowledge sharing is more than just saying you enjoyed your time and learned heaps at, say, a team meeting.

It’s about taking charge and offering to enlighten others through a session recapping the highlights of your learning.

It’s important to reflect on what you’ve learned and then report back. This doesn’t have to become a mega project, but it does involve considering the best way to share insights.

You can achieve this in many ways, so think laterally. Here are some ideas, remembering there are many ways to learn. You may want to focus on more than one way:

  • schedule an informal chat with your team (this can even be a ‘lunch-and-learn-session’)
  • structure a formal presentation (or presentations if you want to chunk up content for different audiences at work)
  • write a briefing with key messages and take-outs
  • share slides, handouts or links to recording
  • structure one or more training sessions (in-person or online)
  • hold a mentoring sessions
  • develop relevant case studies to illustrate how the learning can be applied in a real sense
  • implement or refine a process and show others how to leverage it for greater efficiencies
  • introduce some of your new contacts to relevant colleagues so they can collaborate.

If your organisation doesn’t have a formal policy on shared learning, be proactive and offer to create one. This shows your willingness to ensure that others benefit from the privilege you’ve received.

Being proactive is good for your reputation and your professional development. Management gives a big tick to those who want to create a positive knowledge ripple effect.

Final tips

  • Take notes during your professional development experience so you’re in the strongest position to make your knowledge-sharing beneficial to others.
  • Gather collateral from your professional development experience, such as brochures, booklets, fact sheets, and case studies. Share this material with others.
  • Be excited about sharing. If you come across like it’s a burden, your efforts won’t be motivating or inspiring.
  • Pitch your willingness to share learning when you ask your manager if you can attend a course. This will inspire your manager to seriously consider investing in you.
  • Remember that hoarding knowledge for your gain only will ultimately work against you.

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