Forbes recently published a great article about how Adidas is embracing a new pattern of learning among its employees by re-imagining their learning and development program to speak to, what I like to call, "the next generation of employees". These are learners who have grown up and embraced social media and the ubiquitous access to the Internet across multiple devices and media sources. After reading the article I was struck with just how much has changed in the ways we consume media. Even as I’m writing this, I just paused a video in my Facebook feed knowing I can come back to it later at my convenience.
The point being that the way we learn has evolved and is really no different than any other example of media consumption. While there will always be the need for controlled, mandatory company training, as learners, we expect more from the investments our employers make in learning ecosystems. We want tools that will allow us unfettered access to content sources, the ability to expound upon a training concept with supplementary material, and ultimately build a culture of more self-directed learning where each employee has a vested interest in continuous career enrichment.
At Pathgather, a considerable amount of time and effort goes into mapping this new learning style and learning the challenges our customers face. Just the other day I had a great conversation with a potential client who was frustrated because her colleagues manage an internal eLibrary and, as dedicated Learning professionals, this team is constantly adding in the articles, news feeds, white papers and a whole host of other resources that are complementary to their business. Unfortunately, engagement with this content library hasn’t been what they expected. After a few minutes of further conversation, two things became clear: first, this library has tons of content but no mechanism for promoting how great it is. Second, this company had several different learning repositories where employees had to go to find content.
When looking at these two problems you can see the inherent conflict between the company’s learning infrastructure and how their employees want to learn. Content promotion is central to the massive growth of social media over the last decade. You want to do, read, eat, and experience what your friends have done, read, ate, and experienced. The same is true for learning. By not having the ability for peers to promote content that appeals to them, organizations see a significant underutilization of their learning resources. And to the second challenge, I think everyone will agree that as consumers we tend to lean toward ultimate convenience. There is a reason why Amazon has found the success it has. The ability to aggregate what we want into a central hub drastically increases user adoption of an application. Luckily Pathgather has a solution for both challenges this client faces. We recognize how important curated content is to adoption and have designed our entire platform around this idea. Additionally, through our ability to integrate with disparate content repositories and the use of federated search, we are able to provide your users with a one-stop-shop for discovering learning content.
Where do you see content consumption going? Have your learners asked for new types of learning content (blogs, YouTube videos, etc.)? Ultimately, I see this challenge only increasing over time. Learners will continue to evolve the way they consume learning content in step with how they approach media as a whole. It is up to organizations to find a way to craft their learning strategy to this new reality and Pathgather can be a big part of how they achieve success.