The Smart Worker makes use of a lot of resources that are millions of people freely and willingly share on the Social Web: videos, presentations, other job aids, and so on. So why not tap into this growing phenomenon of sharing, and encourage employees in your organisation to create and share resources with one another too – so that they can support one another’s ongoing learning and performance support needs?
It is true that some organisations often have concerns about doing this – and here are some of those most common issues that are raised.
- We need to ensure that the materials are of professional quality. In fact, the research shows that in terms of video, quality is less important when you are enjoying what you are watching. Take a look at some of the videos that “have gone viral”, they have often been quite simply produced. It is therefore more important for the video to be “likeable” or useful than to be produced in a very sophisticated way.
- We need to ensure that the materials are accurate. People often cite Wikipedia as a unreliable source since it is a “collaborative” encyclopaedia. But at least one study has showed that it is “as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica”. But the difference is that with Wikipedia errors can not only be easily pointed out and quickly corrected.
- We need to ensure the privacy and security of our organisation’s content. Many of the public sites mentioned above do have private (albeit often premium) services where materials can be private; and some professionals and organisational teams are already using these. But if you want to keep the materials as close to the workflow as possible, then other tools are available for in-house, behind-the-firewall, enterprise use.
But a number of organisations have already recognised that the value of employee-generated content far outweighs any potential concerns – and are encouraging the creation and sharing of content.
Here are a number of examples of ways that organisations have been helping teams create and share content with one another
1 – Dare2Share – sharing of podcasts and other resources
“Dare2Share allows BT employees to learn from each other by rapidly capturing and spreading learning throughout the organization in the form of podcasts, discussion threads, blogs, RSS feeds and other traditional knowledge assets (documents, courses and portals).” [BT Dares to share]
Here’s a video showing Peter Butler, from BT, talking about Dare2Share (hosted on their enterprise intranet platform, MS Sharepoint), and explaining that it would have been impossible for L&D to provide all the learning materials that BT Engineers needed unless they had taken this “sharing” approach to learning.
2 – Intelpedia – collaborative resource building
Intelpedia is a project set up by an Intel engineer Josh Bancroft in November 2005, when he decided that his co-workers should have quick and easy access to a raft of company information, from internal projects to historical background. Intelpedia is hosted on the open source MediaWiki software.
When interviewed by SocialMedi.biz in 2009, and answering concerns about the use of a wiki in an organisation, Josh reported
“In the four-plus years that Intelpedia has been up and running, I have had exactly zero reported instances of an unwanted edit — of someone spamming or vandalizing or doing something inappropriate. … I’ve heard the same from other companies, which should allay the fears that some corporate executives still harbor.”
Although in the case of Dare2Share, this was an initiative implemented by the L&D Department, and in the blogging example it was an intervention by the Performance Specialist who helped identify a useful solution, in the case of Intelpedia, it was one engineer who started it at the grass roots. Projects like this are probably already underway in your organisation, initiated by individuals and teams who recognise the value of sharing for their teams. But there may be other teams who could benefit from your help and support in getting something in place for their own needs. So this is where you should start with this kind of initiative, by finding out where you can provide some real value to a team – rather than trying to force a sharing project on a group of employees who are not yet confident or competent to do so.
How can we help those who would like to share with the skills of creating videos, presentations and short documents?
- Why don’t you have an internal YouTube video sharing service, Dan Pontefract, 16 May 2011
- YouTube: Two days worth of video uploaded every minute, 26 May 2011
Traditional workplace learning thinking
- Believing the only valid solutions to performance problems are those created/delivered by L&D
- Not feeling they can let people create content, as it might include incorrect information
- Believing they need to make sure the content is of the highest quality.
- Believing that their people might abuse the system
- Believing that everything needs to be instructionally designed.
New workplace learning thinking
- Realising they can’t possibly create everything people need to do their jobs.
- Knowing that people prefer “usable” content rather than “sophisticated” content
- Trying to tap into this growing phenomenon of sharing by helping teams create and share content with one another
- Allowing the team group to moderate their own content
- Why social collaboration is important for your intranet, Joshua David, 16 December 2011