Brad Zomick

More posts
8 min read

5 Steps to Make Learning Content Discovery Easier


When Learning & Development teams were asked to name their biggest content challenge, virtually all — 94 percent — said the same thing: managing the expanding content library.

“Today’s business environment does not allow for the time it takes to find relevant, useful content,” the Brandon Hall Group said in reporting the results of its survey.  “There needs to be a process and/or technology in place that helps learners sift through the massive amount of information to discover content that is relevant, up-to-date, and fits their needs.”

It’s an inevitable consequence of the era we live in. Since anyone can upload a course, educational website or video, and numerous companies are competing for dominance in content creation, there’s an overwhelming amount of choices for any learner to consider. L&D efforts are meant to help pick up the speed of business, not slow it down. But employees are turning to Google instead of their own L&D resources because it’s easier to locate, quicker to respond and more current. And that means lots of time spent piecing through different offerings.

This problem is costing businesses a great deal of money in lost productivity. “Research has shown that many knowledge workers spend as much as one day per week searching for answers,” reports. And even after all that time is spent, there’s no guarantee that the answer they find is even the best one. BHG  estimates that information overload accounts for 28 billion wasted hours a year, equating to “almost $1 trillion lost in productivity in the U.S. economy alone” — and that the problem is getting worse.

To solve this, here are four steps every enterprise should take.

1. Bring all learning into one platform

For decades, learning resources have been spread out within a company. They’re in the LMS (Learning Management System), Intranet, cloud storage, and at third-party course vendors like Lynda and Pluralsight. Some are also in training sessions and classes taught onsite or offsite by instructors and specialists — which may be organized and publicized in any way at any time.

Now it’s time to unite all learning resources into a single hub. Businesses need a learning experience platform that collects and gathers the best offerings into one searchable spot, and makes them available at the moment of need. The platform provides the right content for the right person at the right time. It acts as a home for learning and tracks what people are learning, so employees and managers aren’t left doing their own independent searches, duplicating each other’s work.

2. Make it open

The single hub for learning won’t get much traction if it only contains resources that have been selected by the company. That’s why the traditional LMS doesn’t do the trick — and why business can’t simply wait for the LMS to evolve. Today’s learners want, and need, access to external resources. They discover YouTube videos, TEDTalks, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), content from learning providers, articles across the web and much more. Often, this content is free and better than the officially approved courses.

There also isn’t time to waste. Employees often spot new tools and technologies before executives do. When they can share learning resources in real time, they’re helping deliver what your business needs: an agile workforce, constantly learning to keep up with the times. Employees and executives alike can then take their newfound knowledge and show how useful it is to the company.  It’s central to innovation.

If your company waits for an officially approved course on every new tool that pops up, it will lose out to the competition. The winners, in this era, are the first to jump on these new opportunities and apply them to business.

3. Enable curation

Once an open platform is in place, make it easy for people to use that hub to find the best options for learning any skill. This is where curation comes in.

The most successful L&D environments today allow the workforce to curate for itself. As employees add content to the platform, colleagues are able to see why certain pieces are recommended, and by whom.

The platform can also recommend the most popular offerings for training in any given subject. At Visa Inc., which built Visa University using Pathgather, popularity makes a piece of content “bubble up to the top,” says Matt Peters, director of technical learning and development. HR teams no longer have to spend as much time on curation. “It makes my job so much easier,” Peters said.

An intelligent system for tagging pieces of content with the skills they relate to can also be a crucial tool for content curators.

4. Incentivize sharing

For this new ecosystem to thrive, employees need motivation to participate.

This begins with ensuring they have time during the work week to engage in learning experiences. One business leading the way on this front is AT&T, which has been undergoing dramatic changes to make sure employees are given time to learn. CEO Randall Stephenson told The New York Times that that people who do not spend five to 10 hours a week in online learning “will obsolete themselves with the technology” that’s reshaping the workforce.

By showing workers how learning can equip them for successful careers with the enterprise, L&D teams increase participation.

There’s also another incentive that inspires people to share and add their own content to the platform: the chance to be subject matter experts (SMEs). These platforms allow employees to show expertise that the company didn’t even know they had.

Given that SMEs are increasingly important to enterprises, executives do well to come up with creative incentives to get them active on the learning platform. Some add “subject matter expert” in the employee’s title or job description, give gifts and even take SMEs on getaways.

5. Model from learning behavior at the C-level

Ultimately, it boils down to culture. Organizations with strong learning cultures are much more likely to be leaders in their markets, research shows. Committed executives are taking action to build those cultures, with the C-suite participating in curating content and sharing with the whole organization.

With true buy-in from the top and the right resources in place, the best content can be at your employees’ fingertips — and they’ll be primed to hit the ground running.

Categories: Articles

See what Pathgather can do for you

Request a Demo