This blog is part of our “Foundations of Knowledge Management” and “The Evolving Role of Education” series.
Knowledge Management (KM) professionals can play a vital, and often varied, role when it comes to delivering formal learning. KM lawyers create and deliver training on legal topics, law librarians provide legal research or database training, and innovation and KM managers provide training on technology or processes. How this is shaped and delivered is always evolving, particularly with the move toward remote working. This blog outlines some of those trends and ideas for delivering engaging education.
Spending time planning and structuring learning from the outset is important. Engage with your lawyers or business services professionals about what they want to learn about and how. You could send a survey, speak to key individuals, or set up a ‘training ideas’ portal. For legal training you could create a series based on legal procedures or stages in a transaction (although think about the levels of experience as the needs of a junior and senior lawyer will often be different). At Reed Smith our innovation training series focuses on themes (such as data and design thinking). Consider, however, if formal learning is the most appropriate method as a lot of learning is best gained through hands on experience.
KM crosses paths with many teams, such as IT, Marketing and Learning & Development (L&D) so collaborate if a topic lends itself (electronic signatures is a good example as it’s a blend of law, technology and process). If you have an L&D department it is particularly worth engaging with them as they can offer advice on strategy, planning, presenting, technology platforms, and potentially share administrative duties.
People at all levels can deliver training, however, you do need someone who has the right experience and skills to engage with an audience (be that virtual or in-person). If there are people outside of KM that know a lot about a particular piece of technology or area of law then you could ask them to lead a session (for example, a senior lawyer talking about one of their high-profile or complex matters).
Sometimes you may not have the in-house experience or people with the right skills to deliver training. Therefore, think about how external speakers could play a role (often at no cost). Ask barristers (if you are in the UK) or experts to present about a topic, or ask vendors to demonstrate how best to use their technology. If budget allows, then paying for external speakers can be more effective and cost-efficient.
It is time-consuming to deliver consistent and good quality training even if you have a large and well-supported KM team. You should be upfront about the time commitment and clear about what you would like your speaker to deliver.
Time is a critical factor at play in law firms so striking the right balance is important. Legal training in particular can take a long time if the topic is complex or new, therefore, think about breaking it down. Committing to a thirty or fifteen minute session rather than an hour may be more realistic or appealing for attendees. Try a few different approaches and analyse feedback or metrics.
There are many ways to make your training interactive or engaging, you could include a quiz or gaming element, or if the session is over a video platform think about using the functionality on offer such as break-out rooms, polls, or live annotation. Recording sessions allows for more flexibility as do podcasts, which are becoming an increasingly popular way of learning. Workshops or boot camps can also be an impactful way for people to learn and network but don’t underestimate the time and effort it can take to create and deliver them.
If you are organising or delivering a live session give plenty of notice and send reminders. Think carefully about the time or day (take into account time zones or national holidays if it is cross-border). If training virtually, ensure that you and/or the speakers are familiar with the technology platform and offer support, guidance or a demo in advance. That said, at some stage everyone experiences technical issues or last minute changes (such as a speaker cancellation) so be prepared for anything!
While this blog focuses on delivering in-person or virtual training, KM professionals play a role in creating precedents, best practice guides, databases etc., which are another essential component of educating people. See our previous blogs for further details.*
With the increase in remote working everyone has been forced to quickly adapt their approach to learning. Now is a great time to assess what worked well and what the future might look like.
Additional Resources to Review: