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The knowledge base in corporate training

What is a knowledge base and how does it contribute to online training?

A knowledge base is a database in which the company organizes all the useful information about products and services offered, making them available to users, in the case of an external knowledge base, and to employees, in the case of an internal knowledge base.

What are the purposes of a knowledge base and how does it interact with corporate eLearning?

External knowledge base: characteristics and purpose

The purpose of a knowledge base is to collect all useful information about company products and services in one place. The information is presented primarily through:

  • Articles
  • Guides
  • Video tutorials
  • FAQS
  • Product Documentation
  • Product Updates
  • Infographics

The purpose of an external knowledge base is twofold:

  • To train your users on how to best use your products.
  • To reduce the costs of technical support

Internal knowledge base: characteristics and purpose

An internal knowledge base is aimed at employees or partners and has more pronounced training objectives. Especially in companies that are spread across multiple locations, it is an essential tool for keeping employees and partners informed of the latest company news and improving their skills in a specific area.

In an internal knowledge base, information is presented in the same formats as in an external database, but it is organized in a more coherent way to achieve precise training objectives. In this sense, it contributes to corporate training.

Knowledge base and corporate training: what link?

With an internal knowledge base, learning by doing, i.e. learning on the job, is reinforced. Using the internal search engine, employees can access useful information when they need it, for example by following a guide to a task or activity.

In addition, an internal knowledge base stimulates social learning, as with the ability to leave comments, knowledge and skills can be transferred between different company departments. This process is strengthened if employees can also create content, becoming active in the process of self-education and peer training.

Can't all this be done with an LMS, learning management system?

eLearning: is it better to have a knowledge base or an LMS?

Actually, a knowledge base is a useful tool to collect up-to-date information about products, user-generated content, comments and feedback that stimulate collaboration. It can contribute to corporate training but cannot replace an LMS. The success of a knowledge base depends on the continuous updating of information, its correct categorization, and the effectiveness of the internal search engine. Compared to an LMS, however, it does not offer a multimedia training path that includes simulations and interactions. It also lacks an assessment system, via quizzes or surveys, and most importantly, a reporting system that helps monitor and analyze student progress.

There is a solution, however, to integrate a knowledge base within your LMS: DynDevice. Common files, such as Word or PDF, are made available to employees and partners within the company intranet. The system keeps track of who is accessing, viewing and downloading the files, as well as enabling online courses.

With an internal and external knowledge base, you certainly get to provide up-to-date information about your products, reducing customer service workloads and encouraging timely, peer-to-peer employee learning. However, a coherent and engaging training management system requires the core functionality of an LMS, ranging from design to learning tracking. That's why a complete LMS and knowledge base solution is ideal.

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