On our devices, smartphones, tablets and computers get more information than we need. Despite the fact that each of the devices is becoming easier to use and is to help us – we are struggling with a flood of information every day. When more information reaches us than we are able to process, and it becomes impossible to make optimal decisions – then we are dealing with information overload. The effect is that we make these decisions based on faulty judgment or not make them at all.
This also happens with our teams. So what to do not to deepen the effect of the information overflow and at the same time effectively educate teams?
You can use solutions that reduce the load on teams, optimize the amount of information and systematize it. But let’s start by recognizing the reasons for this.
By actively using the social media and available technology we receive a large dose of daily e-mail correspondence, notifications from social media and internet portals, messages and this has a huge impact on the reduction of our performance.
Laura Shin from Forbes reports in a 2014 article that more information has been generated over the past 10 years than in all of human history before 2004.
The conscious mind can pay attention to three or four things at once. If we try to cross this border, then our choices will be flawed because we will lose concentration and control over cognitive ability – she writes.
According to Eric Mistewicz in an article also published in Forbes – he informs that we absorb more information in one month than our grandparents had the opportunity to process throughout their lives.
However, we should remember that, according to Theodor Sturgeon’s law (Sturgeon’s law), as much as 90% of messages reaching us are worthless.
Let’s analyze how it works in enterprises:
The messages sent to each employee – in the last few years – increased their volume several times – and the amount of time for their processing has not changed.
For the abundance of messages – the employer has a great technical ease in providing countless information to employees. This is often done by throwing educational materials into a “one bag” – which is a company intranet or e-mail. Unfortunately, most of the data is dispersed, and with an endless list of tasks – employees lack not only time, but also concentration – necessary to absorb any knowledge or analyze information that reaches them. This, however, means that many of the data folders never open.
Over time, in the absence of fulfillment of duties and the implementation of important tasks, there is a sense of guilt and pressure that the employee focuses on themselves and this, in turn, prevents the successful transition to subsequent tasks and the trend of “being up to date” and the myth of multitasking only „adds fuel the fire” and circle closes.
We are dealing with the effects of information overload and attention crash syndrome.
The effect is that the employees try to absorb every information they receive – however, it turns out to be physically impossible. Employees gradually cease to be effective, their ability to analyze and make decisions gradually decreases, and the queue of information to be processed does not decrease at all.
According to Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D, psychologist and author of Find Your Focus Zone, “Information overload occurs when a person is exposed to more information than the brain can process at the same time”.
According to Palladino, the more accurate term is “cognitive overload” – leading to indecision, bad decisions and stress. Indecision or paralysis of analysis occurs when you are overwhelmed by too many choices, your brain gently „freezes”,and you passively wait and see what is happening, but you do not react or make a hasty decision, because important facts are wedged between trivial, and you consider them just as credibly, and you treat unbelievable sources on an equal footing with credible ones.
So what can we do to support our teams to find a place for education and reverse the effect of information overload?
As employers or people responsible for teams, we do not have much influence on the number of messages reaching employees outside the time of performing company duties. However, during the work of our teams, we can optimize informations that reach them to only personalized, important and necessary ones.
Companies attach importance to raising qualifications and acquiring new competences by their employees.
Funds allocated to education are increasing. Educational materials are very rarely ordered and made available in a way that is easy to learn and verify. The model in which educational materials are sent to an e-mail inbox or are located in several places on the company’s intranet and are to be quickly learned, does not work.
Similarly, with the materials received after the training, as practice shows, the vast majority of employees do not even look at them at all. Verification of the knowledge and skills acquired in this way is a problem for employers.
Tests carried out by Henry Roediger and Jeffrey D. Karpicke – Test-Enhanced Learning show that thanks to the use of exams knowledge retention (the level of information stored in the long run) of employees will be at twice as high as in the case of transfer of knowledge without tools to verify it.
Education where the supervisor personally cares about raising the qualifications of his teams works. In the long run, there will be time, quantity and budget constraints.
Until recently, there were no tools to facilitate education and verification of progress. Currently, there are solutions available immediately. These are team education platforms. The solution to the whole situation is to place all educational materials in an organized way in one well-organized place. Provide easy access for everyone on our teams. Divide the material into competence groups and assign employees access to material groups that are important for each of them. In this way, we personalize access to educational materials while limiting the amount of material to the extent that is necessary. Let’s put it differently. Thanks to the platform, it is much easier to systematize knowledge and company procedures where each employee will receive only such materials as they should and will not be distracted by materials that would not be important to them.
There is no doubt that we are much more eager to learn material that has been tailored to our function and duties. Thanks to such friendly solutions, the entrepreneur or the person responsible for the team’s education can adjust the given batches of material to the employees depending on the competence and position.For example – marketing department employees should be given access to a different group of materials than logistics department employees. These types of activities make the internal education process pleasant, useful and effective – contributing to greater employee satisfaction in the long term, which is not insignificant if we look at the company’s development in the long term. And the company is people inside it!
So the first step in the form of personalization – and optimization of the amount of materials for each employee would be made in a very natural way.
The platform will allow constant access to educational materials via a computer or via convenient mobile applications. So, easy access wherever and whenever we want.
The progress of team education in the company is visible to the Employer “on the palm of your hand”. Thanks to this, it will become possible to diagnose educational needs and implement adequate actions such as providing support to people who need it.
The employee should not know the need to face the challenge of looking for educational materials in different places. They will find them in one place after logging in to his user account on computer or after opening the mobile application.
Thanks to such a solution, the will feel safe with the certainty that the knowledge that is expected from them does not contain surprises in the form of “one unread email from last Tuesday” … They will also be able to show the progress achieved or the level of knowledge acquired.
In addition, to achieve good results of company education, it is good to take advantage of the leading trend in team education, namely gamification. I’m talking about elements known from games that were used in the education process and not the game itself. Thanks to the possibility of even comparing their results and the results of the whole team, employees begin to treat education as an element of healthy competition and, while maintaining elements of good fun, show greater commitment in acquiring knowledge.
Regardless of whether we want to provide specialized information such as product knowledge or help employees acquire soft skills, personalized, systematized knowledge along with the convenience of constant access – enriched with gamification elements will support team development. Certificates of completed courses and absorbed knowledge, as well as the results of exams may also be helpful in making decisions about the promotion of an employee or supporting the development of his professional career.
Platforms also have the option of learning in personal development areas such as learning foreign languages.
It is worth using this type of solutions and help free the “information traffic” and start education of teams that gives us confidence that we provide employees with the optimum of what we can as a modern company that cares for the development of employees.
PS. The functions described above correspond to the needs defined during talks with entrepreneurs over the last few years. These functions that I described above arose from the hard work, passion and desire to achieve perfection that accompanied our team during the construction of the Coursairs team education platform (). I have been personally involved in creating this platform for years and I believe that it will bring a lot of value to every team that will use it.