There are many advantages of user generated content in online learning. It’s hard work being responsible for the development of so many learners. It sometimes feels like you spend all of your time creating learning material and by the time you’ve rolled out something new, you discover that you’ve got a bunch of existing content to update.
Constantly battling against such a relentless tide can get a bit discouraging at times. In fact, it’s almost enough to make you give up altogether and join a band of travelling minstrels – but WAIT…
…there’s another way, an easier way – a better way.
Why do all of the work by yourself when you’ve got an inexhaustible font of knowledge at your disposal? Your learners are your most valuable asset, especially when you have a social learning platform. We’ve already shown you a few ways to encourage learner-generated content and today, we’re going to tell you the main advantages of user generated content!
The Advantages of User Generated Content
It Improves Engagement
As we all know, engagement is the lifeblood of a successful learning programme. The more engaged your learners are, the more likely it is that your training will make a real difference. The dull training of bygone days didn’t give learners much opportunity to interact with the content. This meant that although the learners completed the content (and made the reports seem encouraging), it was soon forgotten, resulting in no behavioural change whatsoever.
Your training can go a lot further if you give your learners the chance to contribute to the content. Not only will this create a sense of ownership, but it’ll get them to look at their own experiences and learn from them.
Sometimes all you need to do to get people thinking is to ask them a question; for example, you could ask customer service reps to describe a challenging customer experience. If you have a social LMS, give it a try – you might be surprised at the reaction!
User generated content lets you capture informal learning
Asking your learners to examine their own experience is a powerful instructional approach, but the benefits don’t stop with the learner – it can also save you a lot of effort. As we’ve seen before, only 10% of what we learn comes from formal learning – the rest we pick up from our peers and from good, old-fashioned experience.
By letting your learners contribute, you can actually capture this informal learning and use it for future training. Because this training came from their colleagues, and not just a dusty manual, it’ll carry an extra relevance that formal training can’t compete with.
User generated content improves organisational knowledge
Once you’ve let your learners generate their own content on your platform, how are you going to know if it’s accurate? Maintaining accuracy is among the key advantages of user generated content. On a social LMS, every piece of content your learners share with each other can be commented on and rated. This means that only the most relevant content will gain popularity, and the more popular the content, the more visible it will be.
This peer-review process isn’t just limited to the content your learners share with each other. Your learners will also be able to vote and have their say about the formal training. For example, if some of your processes change, it can be easy to miss that piece of training content that needs to be updated. With your eagle-eyed learners on the case, there’s a much smaller chance of obsolete content slipping through the net. This is of enormous benefit, especially in companies that have a lot of formal training content.
If you’re struggling to provide enough accurate content for your learners, learner-generated content might just be your knight in shining armour. It’ll give your learners more ways to learn from the content and from each other, but that’s not all – by giving the learners a voice, it’ll help you, the learning manager, understand who they are, which can only be a good thing!
If you want to find even more ways to fix your online learning, click the button below and turn your learning platform into an Engagement Engine!