For global companies like MANN+HUMMEL, it is important that all employees are promptly provided with the knowledge they need for their day-to-day work, wherever they are in the world.
The communication of knowledge in today’s world
Where did we first experience the communication of knowledge? At school, of course! This long-known form of teaching is called face-to-face training. A teacher stands in front of their class and teaches their pupils. The advantage of this type of teaching is that the teacher and the pupils have a perception of each other, pick up on each other’s moods and are able to participate in active exchanges. However, premises have to be available and the class and teacher have to make a journey to meet at the same time and place. Pupils can also teach themselves things. For this, a platform must be available where specialised knowledge can be gained during self-study. One such form of learning is e-learning. Within e-learning, there are platforms for nearly all life circumstances: from massive open online courses (MOOC) to high-quality YouTube channels looking at particular topics. Even MANN+HUMMEL is involved in this – just search YouTube for ‘Filtration around the engine’.
The third building block in the communication of knowledge is the webinar: for this, you meet in a virtual classroom. This virtual classroom is reproduced by computer software. In a similar way to the concept of school, participants know when the lesson is due to start from an invitation. Let’s take a look at how a webinar like this works: The moderator – or the ‘teacher’ – first prepares the webinar – or the ‘lesson’. For this, they use images, presentation tools and video material, prepare relevant questions and maybe even set a test, which would be a kind of ‘class test’. Their webinar participants may be all over the world – all they need is internet access.
How does a webinar work?
The moderator launches the webinar platform, and then has a wide range of tools available to them in their virtual classroom which they can use to communicate the relevant knowledge to the participants in the webinar. The platform used by MANN+HUMMEL provides everything we need for a successful webinar: there is a whiteboard – this is the ‘blackboard’ – on which anyone can write from their computer, you communicate using headsets, and everyone can express their mood using emoticons; if someone would like to say something, they raise their virtual hand and everyone can see that a participant wants to share something. They can then use the chat function or write on the whiteboard, speak via a microphone or, rather unusually for a webinar, share something via a camera. We can also initiate surveys – or to use technical jargon, polling – and finally, if desired, set a test. The communication of knowledge in our webinars is highly interactive and playful, and allows knowledge to be shared in a compact form. In recent years, using our virtual classroom we have already introduced new products on a global scale, prepared overseas colleagues for exhibitions and shared information on complex specialist areas with our colleagues across the world in a way that is easy to understand.
All good things come in threes: face-to-face training, webinars and e-learning
All of these forms of teaching – face-to-face training, webinars and e-learning – complement each other, but one cannot replace another. I am glad that at MANN+HUMMEL I am able to select the right platform as required. It is still exciting for me to be able to ‘go’ into my virtual classroom in the morning and conduct a webinar for colleagues in Asia, who are already in the afternoon because of the time difference. When my afternoon comes, the working day has only just started for colleagues in the Americas, and they can participate in the webinar that is taking place again. It would be technically possible to record a webinar, but I prefer the direct interaction with my colleagues around the world.
I am so excited by ‘my’ virtual classroom that I am now also occasionally giving maths tutoring on my personal computer using: webinars!