The DNA of learning content is rapidly and dramatically changing. Two years ago, almost 98 percent of the learning content used within an organization was formally authored, either internally or by a third-party provider.
Today, in many organizations, 10 to 20 percent of the learning content is created by workers or subject matter experts who have no formal authoring expertise. The format for this content ranges from podcasts to YouTube video segments to text-based collaborative tools.
Here are some frequently asked questions for YouContent:
Q: What is driving YouContent?
A: Employees’ experiences outside the workplace are shaping their expectations for access to content at work. At home, they are viewing short videos from YouTube, reading online reviews from customers and downloading podcasts on health, hobby and entertainment topics. They are expecting the same type of access to work-related content in the workplace.
Q: What makes YouContent different?
A: Length, speed, style and relevance. The average piece of YouContent lasts between three and 15 minutes and can be created almost instantly in a storytelling style that is unpolished and, often, right to the point.
Q: Does YouContent compete with or replace authored content?
A: The power of YouContent often stems from the fact that it is not official content. Workers want to get a 360-degree mixture of authored and third-party content, as well as YouContent. Chief learning officers should not view YouContent as a threat, but rather as a rapid and low-cost way of adding deep context and credibility to the learning process.
Q: Is YouContent really learning content since it does not have a formal learning or performance objective?
A: Its strength is that it is not authored with an explicit objective. YouContent can be a powerful tool to achieve an objective that is either contained in a formal learning method or comes from the curiosity/need of the learner. For example, a fellow salesperson might do a podcast of how to respond to a claim that, “In these tight times, we don’t have the budget to buy any new products!” This podcast may be accessed by some workers through a link in a piece of formally authored content, while others may access it through an e-mail from someone who found it helpful.
Q: Are our learning systems (LMS/LCMS) ready for YouContent?
A: Many are not ready, and this is creating stress in the learning systems arena. When the bulk of learning content was formal e-learning, the LMS/LCMS could provide storage, dispensing and tracking functions. But in the era of YouContent, the learning systems must evolve to provide these capabilities:
• Content visibility: When a worker creates a YouContent element, how does it get visibility? Can segments of workers such as new salespeople or staff working on a key issue receive almost instant notification?
• Content reviews: How is content reviewed by legal, SMEs and other learners? Your workers want to know which items are most valuable and how they relate to the formal content already published.
• Content security: As we move into a more portable device era, how do we continue to have content security? Learning systems may have to reauthorize content on iPods each week, verifying continuing employment and accuracy of content.
• Ease of creation: Watch for online media capture and simple editing tools in LCMS and LMS editions. We have to facilitate the busy employee’s ability to rapidly create a YouContent piece independently without support.
YouContent will evolve in the next 24 months, becoming more contextual, more social and more manageable in the workplace.