One of the best parts about building Pathgather has been how much we learn everyday. As you might expect, the team here does a lot of online learning - YouTube, StackOverflow, Lynda, Quora... if you walked into our office at any moment, you'd probably find at least one of these open on our browsers! We recently released a huge update to Pathgather which was designed to make it easy for our users to share learning content like this with each other, but we were a bit surprised by what we ended up learning about ourselves.
How Content Sharing Works
This feature is deceptively simple. If I find some learning content that I want the team to see, like a video on project management, I pull up Pathgather and share it. Of course, there's already a million different ways to send someone a link: email, IM, Facebook, and Twitter are just a few examples. Those platforms are great for content that you want to use immediately (cat videos come to mind), but are all pretty ineffective ways to share something that you want others to find again later. When it comes to learning content, this is more than just a minor annoyance, it's a wasted opportunity! In Pathgather, everything we share becomes a permanent part of our company catalog, where it gets used over and over again in search results, paths, profiles, discussions, recommendations... you get the idea. We put the amateur YouTube video shared by your co-worker right next to the professional one from Lynda, and let users decide which one works best for their company.
For us, the best part about this feature was how much we learned from our customers while creating it. We thought L&D professionals would be afraid to let regular users share content like this, and would tell us that opening up the catalog would be too dangerous. We were completely wrong. When we showed them an early version of this, the overwhelming feedback was that we were the ones playing it safe! They told us to make it more open, less structured, and easier to use, all in the name of encouraging social learning. So we did.
Stories like that remind us that we're incredibly lucky to be able to learn from the best minds in the industry, which is what social learning is all about. Having a solid, established catalog of formal content is crucial, but a lot of the magic happens informally around the edges - person to person, team to team. We use Pathgather to help capture some of that magic.