When it comes to engaging your workforce, one of the best methods is to get your learners more directly involved with your training programme. And one of the best ways to get your learners more directly involved is to encourage them to create user-generated content.
Learning should never be a one-way process. While you will undoubtedly build a robust library of content as you deliver your training programme, giving your learners the opportunity to create and contribute their own content is an excellent way to help them better understand the topics.
Of course, one way to ensure that your learners produce content would be to make it a mandatory requirement of your training programme. But they’ll get much more out of the experience if they choose to do It rather than get forced into it.
That’s why we’re sharing TEN ways to encourage user-generated content from your learners!
1. Enable social learning
Enabling and encouraging social learning is a fantastic way to help develop a learning community. For example, using a social LMS will give your learners the tools they need to have discussions and share materials with one another.
As this learning community grows, you’ll find that they start to produce and share knowledge with each other organically.
With a learning community up and running, you’ll be in a great position to encourage user-generated content. Whenever you spot learners sharing things, you can step in and make an official, public recognition of it. This might be a simple comment, or if you’re using a gamified LMS, it could be an exclusive Content Contributor badge!
Getting recognition from the leaders of the training programme will clearly mark the act of sharing content as a positive one. It will encourage both that learner and anyone else who sees it to continue sharing.
3. Add it to learning syllabus
On the topic of making an official recognition of user-generated content, what greater nod could you give to it than adding it to the learning syllabus (with full credit, of course)?
Not only will this be a huge morale boost to the individual learner, who would feel that their efforts were worthwhile, but it will also prove to your full audience of learners that you value them and want to engage with their ideas.
4. Competitions and prizes
We’ve already talked about how recognition can motivate user-generated content, and even touched on how virtual badges might be used. But offering more tangible rewards will also have a huge effect on participation.
You can set a competition where your learners are challenged to create something specific, with prizes offered for the best entries. You might just find that your learners will go the extra mile when some loot is on the line!
5. Have a topic of the week/month
Though it’s great to give your learners free-reign to create content about whatever they want, sometimes this level of freedom can be daunting. Giving them a suggested topic to focus on removes the challenge of deciding what to do, letting them get on with actually creating something.
Rotating the topic regularly also encourages learners to keep checking back, and to get involved time and time again.
6. Ask questions
When you want some quick-fire user-generated content, one of the best methods is to simply ask a question. Head over to your social feed and post a question, with the promise that the best responses will be curated and published as a collection.
You’ll soon see responses flooding in! Your learners will have spent extra time thinking about the question you posed, and gathering and publishing their responses will show them that their ideas are important to you.
7. Set up discussion groups
Creating discussion groups can be a powerful way to encourage user-generated content. Here at Growth Engineering, we use the Insight Groups feature on our Academy LMS to focus discussions onto specific topics.
Learners will be more likely to start creating and sharing content as they delve further into a topic. Our Insight Groups also come equipped with leaderboards of the most active contributors, helping to add some further encouragement!
8. Make it quick and easy
We’re all busy people. Though we’d love nothing more than for every learner to be able to spend all day, every day learning to their heart’s content, that’s just not possible.
To give everyone the opportunity to get involved, try to encourage them to create something quickly and easily. This could be filming a short video, taking a photo, or just trying to sum something up in a paragraph. The easier it is to do, the more people with do it!
9. Request volunteers for bigger projects
So short bursts of content are great for giving as many learners a chance to contribute as possible. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no place for user-generated content on a larger scale!
You could occasionally come up with a bigger project which will take more time, such as building a new piece of eLearning. You might then ask for volunteers from your learners to spend some time with your L&D team designing the content, giving them an opportunity to get stuck into it and put in a substantial amount of effort.
10. Use ambassadors
Trying to engage with your entire learning audience to get them to create user-generated content can be a challenging task. But why not focus your efforts on a smaller group of learners who will take less effort to convince?
If you approach the most active and engaged learners on your training programme about creating content, they won’t take much convincing. Then, once their content starts being shared around, other learners will be inspired by these ambassadors, and create their own content so that they can be just like them!
If you’re keen to find out more about how to make the best use of social learning and the learners themselves, take a look at our free tip sheet: 23 Ways to Map an Informal Learning Strategy to Your Online Learning Solution