Where does the Knowledge Gap exist?

This question comes in from Andy Houghton

In one of the videos, it’s stated that “The Knowledge Gap is a gap in the skills, concepts, or facts that measurably affect behaviour/performance. By finding and filling those gaps, we can measurably influence behaviour and eliminate adverse performance.” But you can’t have a gap in concepts or facts. I think it would have to be knowledge. I know people talk about ‘knowledge/skills gaps’ etc, but I’m not sure it’s always a gap — i.e. something that can be filled. I think often it’s more about extending or developing.

It’s also stated that “we can measurably influence behaviour and eliminate adverse performance” I’m not sure you can always measure the influence you have on someone’s behaviour… Personally, I think only the ‘performing person’ can eliminate the adverse performance. Here’s an example. A language student says, ‘he go’ instead of ‘he goes’. The teacher/trainer can do all sorts of things to try and correct/influence the ‘adverse performance’, but the student is the only one that can make the change. I hope this is helpful. Cheers!

Thanks Andy! It’s important to point out that The Knowledge Gap does not merely exist in an individual, it exists in a target group and therefore in an organizational process. The measurement of behavior/performance being addressed is at an aggregate level in scalable workplace learning, not at an individual level such as in personal academic learning. Hope that helps.

So to stay with your ‘he go’ language class example, we wouldn’t make an asset for one student in the class. We’d make an asset when “the class” is having trouble with the concept (in this case I’d say it’s not a skill or a fact). Different organizations will measure and define that “trouble” percentage differently. But hopefully we are not in the situation of manually creating Digital Learning Assets to the scale of one single individual.

We would further say that if the gap in skills, concepts, or facts is not measurable within the business, then there is not a business need. No training project ever appears spontaneously, something is measured somewhere first. While that measurement is rarely shared as part of the project definition, it is critical to project success. Our challenge in L&D is first to find that needle, then to move it in the desired direction, and this while ensuring that our efforts don’t cost more than is gained by that movement. Otherwise, we objectively fail. Principle #5 speaks to this.

Part of what we are trying to do with this Digital Learning Asset Framework effort is to make such things unavoidably explicit. We chose to start with the smallest indivisible units of the training we make, in hopes that we can build up in a way that makes more sense than talking about “courses” or “completions” or “minutes” or other purely vanity metrics. Others, such as Cathy Moore most recently, have been bringing this to greater awareness in our industry. But as near as we can tell, no one had tried this approach to the same goal yet.

Thanks again, Andy. We welcome your additional questions and support in making this Framework stronger!

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