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In today's fast-paced business environment, organisations in the mining industry are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and stay competitive. As we know and have come to be even more aware of in recent years, a significant amount of knowledge is gained through years of hands-on experience.
So, with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) leaving the industry faster than they can be replaced, upskilling and training of new and existing staff is becoming a common challenge faced by management.
One of the key ways to address this is by managing and sharing knowledge among employees. While there are various options available, such as Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Knowledge Management Systems (KMS), many businesses in the mining industry are finding that a KMS is a more effective solution for their needs.
In this blog post, we will delve into the benefits of using a KMS over, or in addition to an LMS, by looking at the mining industry in particular.
A KMS is a system for capturing, storing, and distributing knowledge within an organisation. The goal of a KMS is to make it easy for employees to find and use the information they need to do their jobs effectively. This can include documentation, best practices, procedures, and other types of information that are useful for employees in performing their tasks.
An LMS, on the other hand, is a system for managing and delivering educational courses, training programs, and career development learning content. The goal of an LMS is to make it easy for employees to access and complete training and development programs, as well as track their macro progress and achievements.
Mining operations are frequently based in remote locations, and so effective communication and teamwork are essential.
A KMS enables real-time sharing of knowledge and expertise among employees, contractors, and other stakeholders, resulting in improved efficiency and productivity.
For instance, a KMS can be utilised to rapidly upskill employees on the job for a specific task, allowing them to complete the task independently with the assistance of a quick 30-second to 2-minute video of someone performing the task.
Unlike LMS, which generally adopts a top-down approach and focuses on creating and distributing content for employees as part of their induction, rather than on-the-job learning, videos shared in a KMS tend to be shorter, more informal and focus on real-world scenarios, making it more relatable and suitable for actual working conditions.
When certification is the requirement, a LMS is a great tool to use. When microskills access is required, this is where a KMS shines.
In the mining and METS sector, the turnover rate of technicians is relatively high, which can make it challenging to train new hires quickly and effectively.
With a KMS, new employees can access all the necessary information to get up to speed quickly, without needing to rely on more experienced employees for training.
This helps to ensure that new employees are productive as soon as possible, which can improve the overall performance of the organisation.
In contrast, while an LMS is often used to great effect for employee induction, the sheer volume of information provided can lead to information overload and can cause much to be quickly forgotten.
When a general overview is needed and compliance information is required before beginning a role, a traditional LMS is great. When finer details such as experiential knowledge is needed, a KMS is recommended.
A KMS can improve the safety of the workforce by providing easy access to location-specific safety procedures and protocols.
For instance, mine operators and METS providers can utilise a KMS to create and share safety checklists and procedures, as well as track completion and compliance.
While an LMS can provide information on hazards and risk mitigation, it is often generic and not location-specific which limits its effectiveness in certain situations.
For general procedural safety information, an LMS is great. Site, tool and asset-specific safety information is more easily digested using a KMS.
A KMS enables the creation and distribution of content at a significantly lower cost and time compared to content created for an LMS.
Subject matter experts can create content by filming and narrating their on-the-job tasks using a wearable device or phone camera, without the need for a professional camera crew.
Unlike LMS content which is often professionally produced, the KMS process allows for content to be easier maintained and kept up-to-date and more relatable.
A KMS offers on-demand access to specific knowledge and information, enabling employees to quickly find and access the information they need to do their jobs, without having to rely on an available subject matter expert or department.
This knowledge and information is often accessible via computer, mobile application, and wearable devices (like RealWear), enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of teams.
In contrast, most LMSs are criticised for their lack of contextual flexibility, which makes it difficult for users to find (let alone recall) the information they need for a particular task.
A KMS can aid in enhancing decision-making within an organisation by providing access to relevant data, information, and expertise. For instance, a KMS can assist mine operators in easily accessing and analysing data on production, safety, and compliance, allowing them to make informed decisions about how to improve their operations.
In contrast, learning management systems often contain out-of-date information that is required for company internal compliance, but does not pertain to current operations, which can lead to confusion and poor decision-making.
A KMS supports continuous learning by making it easy for employees to access relevant information and resources.
For instance, a KMS can be utilised to create a centralised repository of best practices, use cases, and other information that employees can access and learn from as needed.
In contrast, LMSs are often accessed only during the initial stages of employment or at juncture points of professional development. Or, they are only used when a new update is released or compliance audits require it, thus limiting the opportunities for continuous learning.
In conclusion, Knowledge Management Systems and Learning Management Systems can be valuable assets for mining and METS companies.
A KMS enables effective collaboration, efficient knowledge transfer, enhanced safety, cost and time-efficiency, on-demand access to information, improved decision-making, and opportunities for continuous learning to all staff.
LMS are a great tool for compliance requirements and providing generalised information to new employees. However, they lack contextual learning opportunities and the ability to be flexible with learning embedded into work instructions.
It is important to note that a KMS is not meant to replace an LMS, as both have their unique use cases and benefits. Investigate what your business requires to improve efficiency, productivity, and safety.
Reach out to myself or one of the team from HINDSITE to see how implementing a knowledge management system within your business could benefit your bottom line.
HINDSITE gives your frontline Guided Work Instructions to standardise a high level of service. This allows OEMs to scale operations and compete based on service delivery without additional resources.
Let us know how we can reach you and we'll give you a ring to explore whether HINDSITE is the right fit for your team.