Teach Our People To Fish
One of the main challenges facing organizations is how to ensure they are meeting the learning needs of their people. In order to solve this problem, organizations often look to external catalogs of content from providers such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera, etc. While these catalogs have some usefulness they are not the silver bullet.
Equally, it’s simply not possible to have all of an organization’s learning professionally created by the Learning and Development team as they usually don’t have the people or resources to develop the sheer volume of content needed to meet all the various requests from management, not to mention the job of keeping content up to date as the legislation changes, processes change, products and services change and policies change.
So, What Is The Answer Here?
If you go back in time to a world before online learning, people “learned on the job” (they still do). Typically a supervisor, and more than likely other team members, would take responsibility for showing the employee how to perform certain tasks. Anything safety-related is usually the first cab off the rank, followed by any compliance-type training and then finally, the various skills and knowledge required to perform the role. With the advent of online learning, companies are trying to get learning to the frontline at the time it is needed; this is increasingly being described as “Learning in the Flow of Work” because, well, you know how people love buzzword bingo.
The answer to me is obvious, we need to replicate the on-the-job training provided informally by managers and colleagues and supercharge this process by giving some additional easy-to-use tools that can create simple but effective learning objects on the spot, as needed.
For example, imagine if a manager were showing an employee how to do a certain procedure or operate a piece of machinery, and they could film this interaction using their phone or a tablet (or have another employee do this) and then, using a simple interface, add a quiz or some written instructions to that video and then save it in a learning library available on demand by other employees.
For me, this is the killer app for eLearning. Not only do you want people to be able to access a small bite-sized chunk of learning relevant to their needs right now in a way that is portable and on-demand, but you also want the training to be able to be created the same way.
Many of you would have heard of the 70:20:10 rule when it comes to employee learning with the 70 component being ad-hoc/informal learning on the job. If we can add some structure to this process and create simple learning objects on the fly and share them with team members, then we are heading in the right direction in terms of catering to our employees’ learning needs. This also allows the Learning and Development team to focus on the “20” and “10” components of the formula. For example, analyzing and researching content and formal training courses for suitability to employee needs.
So we know that buying a catalog(s) will not solve all of our training needs, and we are never going to be able to develop everything the organization needs as an L&D team, so we need to teach our organization to fish so that they can feed themselves. To do that, we need to put the learning creation tool in the hands of as many of our employees as we can. To do that, we need a system that allows this to happen and that allows both learning creation and learning consumption to happen in the 70% space.
If an employee is able to watch a video made by one of their more experienced colleagues showing them how to do something, this very likely going to resonate with them. If the video has some supporting fact or data overlayed on it, this increases the quality of information being acquired. If there is a short quiz that helps us ensure the person understood what they just learned, we have measured the effectiveness of the learning object and we have an audit trail of the time and date that the learning took place.
Of course, to drive all of this, we need a system that helps the employee navigate quickly and easily in order to find what they need when they need it.