When I was a kid there used to be is a scene in the science museum at Fort Worth, Texas USA where some cavemen were performing brain surgery on a tribesman. I don’t know who performed the first surgery, but out of 120 prehistoric skulls found at one burial site in France, 40 had trepanation holes (a hole that is drilled or scraped into the skull). Surprisingly, many premodern patients had signs of their skull structure’s healing; suggesting that many of those that proceeded with the surgery survived the operation. Truly an amazing feat when you think that there was no anesthesiologist or understanding of antiseptics. It’s only been a few centuries ago that gold, silver and pearls were perscribed and ingested as a cure for some ailments and that the heart was finally determined to be a pump for the circulatory system. Certainly mankind has come a long way in the past couple of centuries. One could make the case that the average mom with a first aid kit compared to the premodern tribesman surgeon, could be thought of as Medical-School-trained. At least in the industrialized nations.
Yet today, with all the advances in medical technology, we’re told that one of the most dangerous situations to be in is to need some sort of medical care. Obviously, increased knowledge alone does not appear to have overcome the propensity for problems. Part of the solution is in the timing associated with dispensing that knowledge. It has been said that the attention span of humans has decreased in recent years to that of goldfish. Then there is the problem with retention. Although people are often referred to as a company’s greatest asset, and while we have tremendous flexibility and the capability to accept and innately reason on vast amounts of stimuli coming at the same instant, as discussed we can have a considerably short attention span particularly when under some sort of stress and tend to have limited knowledge. Even when we have received knowledge through training we can be forgetful. Some analyst say only about 10% of what is presented in a typical training session isretained. The National Training Center’s pyramid graph of Average Learning Retention Rates starts out with 5% retention for lectures and goes to 75% retention when practiced by doing. While these rates don’t appear to be backed up by any hard scientific evidence, they none the less make the point that relying on training is problematic especially in complicated procedures. A 25% lapse in memory or even just 1% can still yield disastrous results. What if attention and retention problems were eliminated?
In comparison, computer technology provides the ability to never forget once knowledge is inserted and never waiver in attention span. We rely on schooling, training and certifications to arm people for the workforce; however, in more and more cases that training is outdated almost before it is completed. Binding the human workforce with a multimedia collaborative knowledge base of expert information that is always current, always available and designed to be used at the point of activity (when it’s really needed) overcomes the only two reasons for having quality problems with the vast majority of workers; lack of knowledge and lack of attention!