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Recently at Lean Consulting we’ve developed a new suite of training up to Lean Six Sigma Black Belt level which focuses in on the Service sector application of these methods. During the process of designing this learning and then delivering it I started to think about how the value of shared experience is brought into not just the learning interactions themselves but the day to day development of individuals. I started to think about the question…

What’s the difference between sharing knowledge and experience face to face and sharing it online?

During our courses, we provide experts to bring context and share their past experiences with the groups. The delegates themselves also bring a wealth of knowledge and experience about their own situation or system that they are working within.

All this feeds into a rich knowledgeable experience. But in the age of technology where we all interact with our phones and other devices almost every hour of every day, we are gaining insight from apps such as LinkedIn and working groups within these social mechanisms.

I concluded that there are a couple of key differences between the two approaches:

  1. Not everyone on LinkedIn who offers up some insight or point of view is doing it from a point of view of ‘let me provide some learning’. Lots of people of trying to put themselves in the shop window or make themselves look clever. Text book responses are all too familiar. For every piece of advice, there is another piece of advice advocating the opposite.
  2. It is often out of context as 4 sentences describing a problem or experience don’t really give the reader enough understanding. To give you an example, I’ve spent a full week and then some with students before I’ve really grasped their view of the system and the problem they are trying to solve (this is not uncommon). So how can we offer sound advice and share the relevant experience based on little or no understanding of their personal experience?

Face to face discussions (such as a training course) provide opportunity for greater context before sharing experience and knowledge!

In an effort to better ourselves we will always gravitate towards sources of knowledge and expertise such as social media but we need to not forget that being able to sit, talk, discuss and share experience and points of view can never be replaced by forum posts or threads.

If you want to tap into the experience of our experts you can do by attending one of our courses. We share our experience and knowledge not just during the course but beyond in years to come.

That’s not to say that online training has no place – there are many instances where online training is useful. It’s great for training large volumes of people, great for distance learning and a cost effective way to deliver.

But if you want to truly learn how to improve an organisation using Lean Six Sigma at a Green Belt or Black Belt level, there is no substitute for the shared experience of a classroom-based, facilitator-led course.

Let’s keep using social media to debate and get different points of view but if we’re trying to solve a problem don’t be surprised if inaccurate context gets in the way of getting the best advice!

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