User-generated learning content – how should we approach it?
A major bottleneck with rolling out digital learning initiatives is the content production. As content is mostly done manually, L&D professionals may find themselves struggling to keep in the pace of the business change. Often, L&D professionals are managing too many roles by taking charge of the pedagogics, technical capabilities and the subject matter. In these cases, user-generated learning content can significantly reduce the workload and even improve the quality of learning materials.
Let the subject matter experts (SME) help with the Training Needs Analysis
L&D professionals like their training needs analysis. However, as we are not privy to all specific tasks and roles at different levels, the analysis often lacks relevance and actionable subject matter. Instead of L&D trying to define what training the business needs, the business should dictate what training the L&D gives. And instead of struggling with the subject matter yourself, you should let the real experts define what the tasks require. The seasoned employees know the skills and knowledge requirements of the job. You should let them play a major part in defining the training scope of the less experiences employees.
Next: source user-generated learning content from these SMEs
Once you have jointly defined the scope of training and content required, collaborate with the subject matter experts to produce it. All your employees have powerful content production capabilities with them at all times (hint: smart phones). The employees can easily produce subject matter input and the format can range from text to pictures and video.
By doing this, you are multiplying the amount of subject matter the L&D department receives and handles. With all this subject matter, the L&D professionals can focus on what they do best. Curating effective, engaging and pedagogically sound training materials. With different social platforms, you can also enable expert collaboration and peer review. This way, you can get your experts working on producing the most refined and relevant version of the content. Once the “raw” content is of very high, vetted quality, the L&D professional’s job becomes very easy.
Finally, build user-generated learning content into the everyday
To ensure continuous stream of subject matter and staying abreast of the changes on the business level, we need to change the culture. Make work or task related sharing and documentation the norm. Social sharing among the employees can be easily incentivised through different social platforms by e.g. gamification or financial rewards. Thanks to easy traceability, it’s very easy to incorporate these activities into e.g. performance assessments. Furthermore, tools for recording, screen capturing and sharing are so prevalent, that no major technological adoptions are needed.
By doing this, you ensure that the L&D professionals can keep in the pace of the business change. They’ll be able to predict future training needs better, thanks to increased visibility and transparency. Also, in challenging situations and business emergencies, they have the subject matter and network to roll out complementary training much faster.