E-learning by Employees for Employees – User Generated Content
Find out how you can create a good online course by harnessing the expertise of your employees through user-generated content.
All of us are familiar with treasure hunts and other games where we need to uncover hidden treasures, rescue princesses from dragons breathing fire or outrun the thief, without taking a single false step. One step in the wrong place and there is a minefield to blow up the unwary. But do you know your organization is also a potential minefield?
Don’t worry; your organization is not a minefield of potential threats or disasters waiting to happen. Rather, every organization is a minefield of knowledge. Thinking how this is so? Well every employee is a potential source of knowledge waiting to be tapped.
The Present Scenario
In today’s corporate scenario, e-learning is ruling the roost as the most preferred medium of training due to its myriad advantages and flexibility. But where does the content for these online courses come from? More often than not, organizations draw heavily on the expertise of Subject Matter Experts to provide content and validate the final courses. This comes with its own set of drawbacks such as the availability of Subject Matter Experts and the cost of investing their time in e-learning related activities.
What is the Alternative?
Have you ever prepared for a presentation on your pet topic for your teammates or immediate supervisors? Well, if you are like me, I bet you might have had butterflies in your tummy at the prospect of delivering the presentation, yet pretty confident about the content. This is because it is your area of expertise – you know it inside out and can answer any queries, clarify any issues.
Contrast this with another scenario where your colleague suddenly falls ill or has a family emergency and you have to take up his presentation. Though you are in the same team, your skill sets and job profiles differ. You have an idea of what your team i.e does, but are not an expert in his domain. Imagine yourself delivering that presentation. You will refer to your colleague’s notes and prepare till the last possible minute, but it’s difficult to be confident. This is not your failing, it is because it is not your strength.
What do these scenarios tell us? We are very confident of presenting content we own. This assurance stems from our familiarity and command over the subject.
This leads us to these questions:
- Can this approach be utilized to develop e-learning courses?
- Can this method be implemented in training programs?
The answer is Yes! In fact, it is being adopted by many organizations across the globe. This is one trend that can only gain more momentum – more power to User Generated Content.
User Generated Content
User Generated Content is content generated by employeesproficient in their work. They create content in their areas of expertise which gets developed into online courses.
Implementing trainings based on User Generated Content needs a shift in perspective. As people responsible for delivering flawless training programs, you should be able to identify employees who are masters in their domain and give them the flexibility to share their knowledge throughout the organization.
Now, what are the advantages of courses with User Generated Content?
- Learners get to learn directly from the people with hands-on experience
- Learning will be more to the point and cover practical aspects
- Authors of the courses, the employees, will be available more readily
- Learners will not hesitate to approach their friends for clarifications
More importantly, User Generated Content is the best tool to promote cross-functional training.
User Generated Content and E-learning
1. Effective Knowledge Transfer Through Creative Freedom
Since the content is generated by employees who do the actual work and who are exposed to e-learning, they will be able to determine the most effective way of presenting it. This will ensure the courses are effective, engaging, learner-friendly, and aid knowledge retention. The opportunity toshowcase their work also gives employees a deep sense of satisfaction and drives them to give their best.
2. Anywhere, Anytime Learning
User Generated Content is best delivered in short byte-sized modules that can be taken by learners at the place and time of their convenience, on the device of their choice.
3. Team Spirit
These modules can be structured to encompass the experiences or duties of entire teams and rolled out to other teams. This will provide teams a comprehensive, bird’s eye view of other teams. This approach is particularly beneficial to new employees and the top management.It helps them know what is happening at a single click.
The modules can be hosted on the company’s Learning Management System(LMS) and assigned to the applicable employees. As the modules are of short duration, they will not encroach the learners’ working hours.
4. Cross-functional Training
One of the essential purposes of User Generated Content is cross-functional training. Individuals being prepped for roles in other teams or departments can be assigned e-learning courses developed by the respective experts. This ensures first-hand knowledge transfer. The courses can be developed once and rolled out as and when needed, saving the time and costs associated with instructor-led trainings.
5. On-the-job Training
The same holds good even for on-the-job trainings. Supervisors guide employees on the work floor in practical implementation. E-learning courses serve as reference materials and job-aids.
Lastly, since these e-learning courses are generated by the learners themselves, they will always be available to talk to their colleagues anddiscuss issues, if any.
So, select your employees who can act as authors and try out e-learning courses with User Generated Content in your organization. See the benefits and smiles all around!