User-Generated Content Makes Learning Effective

User Generated ContentHave you ever wondered how social networking platforms produce content? Most social media rely on content created and shared by subscribers. Users may not even realize that ultimately, they are driving the experience these platforms promise to deliver. The reach and potential of such content, also called User-Generated Content, is immense.

User-Generated Content (UGC) includes the videos, podcasts, blogs, infographics, virtual communities, photographs, reviews, and other information curated by learners, for learners. It involves finding relevant content and presenting it to users in an organized and meaningful way that adds value. The information could be shared via online platforms or learning portals.

UGC can be used to expand upon a training plan and provide guidance on problem-solving, based on real and relatable information. The curated content can provide insight on diverse viewpoints to support a new initiative, help share research and reviews, or generate ideas for creating new training programs based on the latest advancements.

Benefits for Learners

UGC has become popular because it involves learners directly in the information sharing process. When learners get excited about a topic, they not only want to find out more, but also share it with their peers and team members. This knowledge-sharing platform offers an opportunity to relay experiences and earn recognition among peers.

Bridging gaps between team members and the competency levels required of them is more easily achieved when users are actively involved. Sharing information with peers builds a sense of community and engagement. By encouraging colleagues to teach each other through information sharing, the learning experience becomes more personal and familiar. Furthermore, content curation helps to identify the most relevant material in an ever-expanding overload of information, saving time, energy, and effort for the whole team.

Benefits for Businesses

Traditionally, organizations employ multiple resources for generating content, so integrating UGC for learning marks a shift in this approach. As technology advances, information becomes outdated quickly, and most trainers worry about constantly updating relevant material in the LMS or risk misinforming and disengaging users. One way of integrating current content is by attaching a link to supplementary reading materials or a playlist of short videos at the end of a course. Additionally, the L&D team can assess the user-curated content on the LMS to recognize learning gaps.

Businesses should understand that even though scheduled training may be mandatory, learners still prefer flexibility on what and how they learn. Instead of trying to push content on their learners, it’s a much better idea to let them sell it to each other, as employees assign more weight to peer endorsements. Organizations benefit from increased participation with little additional training expense. UGC elicits creativity and enthusiasm from the workforce by inviting them to contribute.

Businesses can also gain from creating forums or communication channels on which learners can discuss their findings. Employees may not open up during one-on-one communication but might feel confident providing their feedback online. Unfiltered input can help improve training programs and make the experience learner centric. It can also promote an inclusive learning culture by facilitating different perspectives.

UGC also empowers teams by capturing in-house talent. Organizations can tap into subject matter experts to create learning support materials that are accessible across the organization. They can ensure that the information is catalogued, searchable, and available on-demand. Capturing this information ensures that curated content will always be an asset to the organization.

Millennials and younger generations often create and share content on social media. With the majority of the workforce comprising millennials who are accustomed to engaging with user-generated content, it is incumbent upon L&D teams to incorporate this behavior into their organization’s learning culture. Ultimately, it is all about keeping the learner at the center of the learning process and creating a win-win situation for both employees and the organization.

To find out how you can enable your workforce with user-generated content for self-directed learning, please contact Kelly.Lake@kwglobal.com.