Learning content authoring tools to build learning content for the workplace are not new. The idea of taking all manner of video, text, images and assessments combined with a logical path for a learning audience to follow has been with us since the late 90’s. It’s not fair to compare today’s authoring approaches and tools with those of the past as they really are easy enough for most any novice to get started. But to produce a really good learning experience we would argue the vast majority assume some expertise is required. How many authoring tool vendors have user groups, elaborate help guides, templates for sale, and “experts” for hire to assist you to create learning content for your organization? How much do they cost? They are priced to be creative tools for experts. Compare this to Youtube where as a learner/ viewer the experience is effortless. But as a publisher, as you can see in the image above showing the YouTube upload page, its as close to being effortless as possible: Select the video file, pull it from dropbox, box, Google Drive then upload. An image from your video is automatically grabbed as a thumbnail…wait a few minutes..done. We’re not suggesting video can replace all the complexity, interactions of a well thought out workplace learning course, only that there are at least four good reasons that we should try to make the experience of building learning content as easy as the publishing experience in Youtube as possible. These four reasons are:
1) The popularity of micro learning is driving a lot more people in an organization to build a lot more training.
This is upon us and we can’t push back by saying good learning content takes 10x, 20x or more times the length of the learning material we're producing. As more and more managers or senior employees wish to share their expertise through images, text, how to guides, job skills and video we as learning platform vendors have to stay out of their way. We all know everyone's jobs regardless of industry are getting more and more complex and will need more materials not less to show new hires and existing team members how to succeed in the job skills required.
Arguably micro learning has always been with us, the idea of building short form courses or training in bites. The explosive growth is due to the authoring tools themselves making it easier to build them. A positive feedback loop or virtuous cycle that reinforces demand by opening up more team members to be able to participate in creating their own department or team learning.
2) We don’t have enough qualified and skilled instructional designers to meet the demand.
The growing demand for effective workplace learning content is to the point where it’s not financially viable for most companies to hire enough instructional designers and creative folk to build all the content using the standard authoring tools. The dominant vendors such as authoring platforms Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate produce tools that are fantastic and produce great results in the hands of those that learn them. But using them en mass is simply too expensive and time intensive. However that leads us to our next reason for effortless learning content publishing…
3) No one has time to learn ANY authoring tool.
If you haven’t seen the famous graphic used in so many talent management and HR articles in the last year: 1% of a typical workweek is all that employees have to focus on training and development
The main point is we as employees and team members in any thriving and competing organization typically only have about 1% of our time available for learning anything. This also applies to those working managers and team leads who are trying to create learning content for their team. They simply don’t have time with learning content authoring approaches that are anything less than intuitive. If it requires a user group or a manual or book to get the most out of it. It’s not going to be scalable or really used by them.
4) If any content could be effortlessly and instantly turned into trackable learning content, we would have more and better learning materials to choose from. Just like Youtube.
Every generation who is currently in the workforce has probably found a video in Youtube that can help them do some aspect of their job more effectively. YouTube has succeeded in enabling over 1 billion active users each month to the many billions of Youtube videos available. Imagine if your organization had 10x, 100x or even 1000x the amount of available learning content for your team to draw upon to improve their job behaviors compared to what it has now?
See our AI and the Augmented Workforce primer on how a workforce and technology can effectively work on tasks together.