Growing Your Company’s Intellectual Capital With an Education Partner
An Executive White Paper
February 5, 2004
Melissa Fraser, Director of Training
net Fusion Corporation
Technical education businesses are struggling to maintain the level of success realized five years ago. Rapidtechnology changes, tighter budgets and project deadlines are forcing corporations to be highly selectiveabout technical training for their adult learners. A growing demand for training that supports companies intheir quest to build upon their employee’s intellectual capital is fueling change in the market place. The adultlearner measurement for a “good training course” was formerly “I learned a lot”; the new mantra requiredis “I now know exactly how to go about solving our problem”. Because of their heavy focus on“certification” and “academic” based curriculum, Technical educational centers are struggling to createand deliver a focused, custom “real world” educational experience to adult learners that builds valuableknowledge.
Executive SummaryWhat is Intellectual Capital?Intellectual capital is knowledge that can be leveraged for corporate efficiency, revenue generation or otheruseful purposes. The term is a combination of employee intellect and economic principals of capital, theutilization of existing knowledge and resource that can be reinvested to produce more goods and services.Intellectual capital can include the experience, knowledge, and skill employees have developed on a varietyof subjects; manufacturing goods or services, building and implementing processes or methodologies,strategies for managing or growing revenues. Such knowledge is critical to a company’s ongoing success andis typically uncommon knowledge.
As corporate America continues to be built on intellectual capital and knowledge rather than bricks andmortar, the focus on building a knowledgeable, skilled workforce becomes increasingly significant. Anincreasing amount of organizations are looking for ways to build internal employee knowledge while drivingefficiencies and profits. To accomplish this, these companies will need to partner with subject matter andeducation experts to discover multiple strategies and resources for building intellectual capital and expertisewithin its personnel.
Bringing New Knowledge and Technology into the Workplace
The fact that corporations are looking to build intellectual capital is good news for business and technicalsubject matter experts and education companies. The bad news is that “Knowledge for knowledge’s sake” hashistorically been the offering from these organizations, and the market demand for such generic education hasreduced dramatically.In order to drive efficiencies, create strategic advantage and above all, grow revenue, corporate America ismore critical than ever about what technologies to adopt and implement and how they leverage existingpersonnel to accomplish the tasks. With new, highly collaborative technologies being announced into themarket every year, the underlying question is what education and information is needed by my existingpersonnel to help them grow their knowledge enough to accomplish current business objectives andimplement technologies.
With new technologies, whether you are conducting evaluations and due diligence or trying to get up to speedquickly for a specific project, basic academic – offered training courses are often off target in terms ofproviding the much needed insight and true real world knowledge. This reduces the training’s over all valueand impact to the organization and existing personnel limiting the growth of intellectual capital. Often, thistype of training becomes a time and cost drain. Hearing lectures or simply reading a book does not effectivelyimpact 1/3 of adult learners. Microsoft Certified Professional’s 2003 publication of the annual salary reviewcited that only 26% of those studying for certification used instructor-led training as a study tool; a blend ofeducational content delivery mediums is required for today’s adult learner.An often-disregarded or overlooked issue with training today is not the lack of information, but ofinformation overload on topics that are taught which fail to address the time-critical nature to training;learning a skill that is not utilized until years later is wasted time and money.
Companies are looking fortechnical employees to obtain certain skills to help them adapt to new technologies and perform better -NOW. Additionally, it is often mandated that these skills be acquired without compromising projectdeadlines. Educational partners that help companies grow and leverage their existing intellectual capital willcreate and bring to market focused and custom learning experiences.The requirements surrounding Technical Education have evolved since the mid 90’s, yet most trainingproviders are failing to evolve and address the needs of the students and the market. The notion of individualcertification training as being “strategic” is outdated as this idea focused on individual certification tracks forcareer changers—a market that doesn’t exist any more.
If you look at Microsoft Certified Solution Developers as an example, the numbers support this notion:MCSD — 44,499MCSD .NET — 5,170Microsoft Corporation, December 2003
Leveraging Real World Experience to Build Intellectual CapitalTraining companies that are successful today are those that can build upon existing employee knowledgewhile providing exceptional value for the training dollar and time invested in learning.1. Emphasis on corporate clients means taking the time to truly discover the educational needs in terms oftechnologies being used and estimated timeframe of applying knowledge. What is important today?What is important in the future? Organizations are looking for an education partner to develop anddeliver curriculum that address these important topics.2. The notion of “Those who cannot do—teach” cannot be tolerated by today’s more sophisticated adultstudents. Educators must be skilled technical professionals. Educators who are continuously involved inimplementing technology projects possess real-world experience that makes critical and sometimesstrategic impacts in the classroom; students benefit from the sharing of not only book knowledge, butalso production project experience.3. The impending demise of instructor-led training been has often talked about. While online educationcan offer convenience and cost savings, a majority of technology learners enjoy coming to class andbeing with their peers. There is a social element that will keep instructor-led training at the forefront ofindustry as instructor-led, internet, media and CBT learning blend into a comprehensive educationalexperience.
The Difference between “Cheap” and “Value Based” Education
Every company with a technology staff has most likely hired a training company based on the lowest pricedbid and then regretted it. Training that provides “Value” enables your employees with the knowledge of howto choose the right tools and provides them with a solid understanding of how to best leverage the tools toaddress the projects at hand. It is important that the training not only cover technical implementation details,but provides such information in the context of a scenario that is important to your business; this growsintellectual capital.
Choosing the right education partner is arguably the most important decision you will make in terms ofmoving your existing personnel forward into the next technological generation and this decision canpositively or negatively impact your bus iness growth. You have made the investment in people and realizethat it is important to add value to that investment through training that adds “Value” rather than a tacticaleducational experience simply to placate technology employees and executives.