One of the biggest challenges with starting a project, using a new tool, or implementing a different process is learning the information and skills that are necessary for success. Although information professionals tend to have an interest in furthering their education, understanding that new piece of software or that new grant application process can be stressful and is often inefficient at an institutional level. But what if every opportunity to learn that occurred within your place of work was categorized, cataloged, and just a click away?
Shamaym is web-based collaborative learning software that can streamline the learning process for you, your team, and even your entire organization. Whether accessing it from the web platform or the mobile app, Shamaym gives users an inviting interface on which to create posts (or “debriefs”) that have a similar look and feel to posts found in other social media platforms such as LinkedIn. These debriefs discuss the problems that occurred during a project and the key takeaways to avoid those problems in the future, ultimately building a pipeline for team learning and project growth.
Planes to Natural Language Processing: The Beginnings of Shamaym
Shamaym was launched as a consulting company in 2015, when it focused on how to integrate a culture of learning within fast-paced businesses. However, the real-time learning culture began for CEO Ofir Paldi much earlier, when he was a pilot in the Israeli Air Force. When discussing the creation of Shamaym, the company states on its website that it was inspired by the Israeli Air Force, which “operates a debriefing process in which pilots share lessons learned and insights that enable all team members to constantly improve their performance.”
Shamaym began its break into the software world in 2019. There is a significant amount of competition in project management software, from free web applications such as Trello to large, in-house collaborative spaces with multiple integration points such as Microsoft Azure DevOps. One of the differences between Shamaym and these project management options is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Shamaym applies natural language processing (NLP) techniques—computer modeling that focuses on human speech in the form of written text—to the data captured within the program to create AI that supports users in their quest for efficient learning.
In an email interview, Paldi discusses how NLP was utilized as an integral feature of Shamaym: automated topic categorization. “We integrated NLP in our continuous learning platform to understand what our users are writing so that we can cluster or categorize information by subject and topics. … We do this so that when another user in the corporation is working on a similar topic, we can show them the inputted lessons learned when they need it most.”
Software Features Promote Learning Pipeline
During a recent demonstration, Shamaym’s U.S. customer success manager, Itamar Nocham, showcased the functionality of the AI-driven features within Shamaym. Users can create debriefs that include information such as the problem that occurred, the products that were affected, and if they would like anyone to collaborate on the debrief with them.
Users can also add information to the “Learning Zone,” where they can submit their lessons learned. In the Learning Zone, they can access a chatbot called the Shamaym Assistant. It uses NLP to read the lessons learned text and create feedback for the user on how to write a more comprehensive lesson. Feedback can include if the lesson is realistic, if the lesson has a specific time frame, and if there are actionable insights that must be accomplished. By incorporating the Shamaym Assistant feedback, users can create more detailed lessons that can assist team members in avoiding mistakes when working on the project in the future.
Once a debrief is posted, other users can engage with it. Engaging with the debrief includes leaving comments or clicking on icons such as Embrace or Action to signify how a user feels about the debrief. By combining this user engagement, user-supplied tags, and the automated topic categorization Paldi referred to, Shamaym can predict which debriefs would be most relevant to each specific user of the software. These predictions are summarized in an email the user receives, saving time by providing only the most useful lessons for the projects they are working on.
Other features in Shamaym include debrief forms to meet project needs, analytics on debrief information, and a presentation mode that can be used to discuss the most important debriefs for team review. These features are customizable, increasing flexible use of the software between teams within the same organization. Shamaym can also be integrated with Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce, Google Calendar, Slack, and Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, allowing users to connect Shamaym to management processes that their organization has already developed.
Learning Upgrade for Information Professionals
While online collaborative learning tools such as Shamaym are typically utilized by project managers, they could be adopted by information professionals in any position and in any field. Businesses that already have established efficiency processes still employ the AI within Shamaym. For example, Paldi mentioned that Shamaym has been used in several medical device and pharmaceutical companies, saying that “most of those companies have a process, like Six Sigma, already in place that drives performance. However, the existing processes do not typically have sophisticated tools like the Shamaym platform to reinforce the system. The Shamaym platform is used often as a complementary tool that uses AI to serve employees lessons at the moment of need.”
Organizations that are just now finding the value in online collaborative learning could use these tools to better manage diverse project planning, determine the most valuable takeaways from conferences, or even streamline a professional development program within an organization or as a service to a community. Online collaborative learning solutions like Shamaym could be another necessary tool in your technology toolbox to help improve knowledge acquisition in your organization.