12 Replies Latest reply on Mar 30, 2016 3:33 AM by tburak

    The Learning Organization; an Informal Learning Enabler or a Resistant Hurdle?

      Questions are bouncing around my company about allowing and encouraging User Generated Content for "training". I believe it's Clay Shirky who refers to this as the "mass amateurization of training".

      Anyone with PPT, a webcam and some time could create some "training" and publish it to JIVE. The result is that the traditional processes of the Training Organization are bypassed. No stakeholder reviews, no technical writer edits, no Marketing approvals.


      This notion of just anybody posting content and calling it Training is unsettling for many SMEs, Performance Consultants and LMS Administrators for that matter.


      How do we leverage and encourage UGC without threatening the foundation of the Learning Organization?

      Have others faced similar situations?

      Some people have even suggested formalizing informal learning, giving it a course code and tracking completion rates in the LMS. This leads to the obvious expected questions; "who owns the content at that point, and who is responsible for accuracy, maintenance, updates or archiving?"


      I am thinking about creating a  flow chart which would walk a content creator through a series of questions related to intended audience, objectives, format, file size, bandwidth issues, tracking requirements, when to engage the Learning Organization, when to move ahead with the informal UGC, etc.


      There MUST be others who've already been there - done that.  Would love to hear from you!



        • Re: The Learning Organization; an Informal Learning Enabler or a Resistant Hurdle?

          Hi Donna,


          Although I totally understand the concern (my previous role was a product manager, and I got worried about people editing my content), we really have not seen this happen. My guess is that it boils down to the following:

          1. People are reluctant to post content in the first place. Getting even the champions to post content can be a challenge, let alone getting those who aren't designated as responsible for something.
          2. In the event something does get posted, your community is likely to "out" the person in one way or another.
            1. Someone stubmles across the content and brings it to the attention of the SME
            2. The SME finds it themselves
            3. Someone watches the "bogus" content, gets the wrong idea, and that wrong idea surfaces to the SME


          The most important thing to dois to make it obvious where the "approved" training is located, and make it incredibly easy to find it. Also, respond really quickly to requests for additional training resources so that people don't feel they need to take matters into their own hands.


          Generally, people have enough to do with their current jobs - the last thing they are doing is looking for more work. But, if you find that people are going out of their way to create training, maybe that is a good place to enlist help. Ask them to work WITH you to create training. Encourage them to go to the correct team/person for guidance. Look at it as an opportunity, a resource to tap into.


          Hope this helps,


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          • Re: The Learning Organization; an Informal Learning Enabler or a Resistant Hurdle?

            I have produced Business Objects anamated power point slides that meet seemingly meet their requirements.


            Here is an example published to Slideshare.net.




            There is the option to colaboratively improve the training but all I have received is thank you's and "can I use this material in my training".

            • Re: The Learning Organization; an Informal Learning Enabler or a Resistant Hurdle?

              This is more of a 2-hour discussion than a discussion post topic. The first thing that jumps out at me on this topic is that this is a culture change issue, and I think it's a perfect opportunity for your training organization to model the shift to being a more social business for the rest of the company. The training organization needs to first realize that the vast majority of learning needed to do one's job is from informal learning. I forget the original source, but our training organization adopted a 70/20/10 stance on training a few years ago...70% is informal OTJ learning, 20% is mentoring/coaching, and 10% is formal education. To me, that means the training organization needs to continue doing the formal really well but shift time and resources to helping others develop the informal as well (more on that later). The training organization is responsible for doing the needs analysis for each role, figuring out what needs to be taught formally, make that very good, and then support the creation of or access to all informal materials and channels that role will need.


              You don't need to track the informal in a LMS; that is defeating the purpose of informal. If you did, it would be a very slippery slope. Do I now have to enter every article and blog post I read as an entry in the LMS so that I get credit for it? That devalues having required, trackable learning in the first place. I would argue that the average user doesn't care much about a learning record anyway; it's the company that cares about whether required training was completed or not.


              At the end of the day, if you have clear expectations for your roles and you employ a manager-led development style, each manager should be able to know whether an employee has the skills needed to perform in the role. That manager's job is to help the individual find people and resources to help him acquire the needed skills, or work with the training organization to define a perceived gap if no good resources exist. It's the training organization's job to determine if that gap is truly an education gap to be filled with formal education or an informal approach  (e.g. let's suggest that the SMEs create a group in Jive for people in that role).


              I completely agree with Tracy's points. People rarely create their own flavor of training material anyway, and if they do and it's poor, the community will clean it up or at least bring it to the attention of those who should know about cleaning it up. If it's good, the training org can work to help make it better or promote it. This doesn't necessarily mean making it "formal", it could just mean including it as an optional resource in formal training.


              Seemingly in contrast to my last paragraph, I think the training organization should certainly take steps to help guide the development of informal training. Our training organization has done just that by creating a community and resources that provide guidelines on the creation of material...everything from instructional design tips and tricks to recommended learning material development tools. See the widget image below from their community.



              Training organizations can't scale well with their current headcout to cover all the informal training needs of the company, so it's better to have the training org focus on what it is good at (needs analysis, assessment, creating and delivering formal ed) and enable and support others in creating the informal content and communities. If an organization wants to continue to innovate and solve problems faster, I think it has to embrace informal training and people/information-connecting platforms like Jive, and the training organization is front and center in leading that culture change.

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              • Re: The Learning Organization; an Informal Learning Enabler or a Resistant Hurdle?

                Hi Donna - to be honest - I would leave it wide open, and let people post what they think will be of use to your community.  Maybe instead of calling it a formal name, preface it as a community question space, peer to peer help, etc...


                You will quickly find that others in the organisation (official or not) will call them to task if they post something bogus, or unsuitable, or not at all useful.


                And, once someone has started a good thread, you will quickly find others jump in to help.


                And lastly, your formal learning people will start to learn themselves, what is on people's minds!