Modern conferencing technology connects business professionals around the world, allowing for the real-time exchange of information. Whether collaborating through audio, video and web conferencing, each conversation has the potential to become part of something larger such as an informal learning library.
What if you could take these same conversations and make them available for future use? For example, if you just spent an hour in a web conference teaching a coworker how to login and use WordPress so they could contribute to the company blog, you could save yourself an hour each time you had to teach someone new this same information simply by recording and sharing a video of this learning experience.
Informal versus Formal Learning Libraries
Your company likely has formal training programs for many of its policies and initiatives, along with a learning management system for storing all of that knowledge. But what about for less formal daily tasks like formatting a document in Microsoft Word, creating inventory tags and labels, or entering data into an internal database? This information is often passed from one employee to the next as needed. Creating an informal learning library could improve productivity and ensure that individuals can learn the required steps in a consistent and timely manner.
Using an Informal Learning Library
While you could certainly use a learning management system, for informal training, a simple shared network drive should suffice. Create folders and subfolders to organize the material. For example, you could create individual folders for Microsoft Word, Excel, and WordPress training. Each folder could have sub-folders covering the different categories.
Encourage employees to share their tips, tutorials, and recordings in these folders as well as periodically peruse the folders for content that they could benefit from.
Creating Content for Your Informal Learning Library
Now that your folder structure is in place, it’s time to create content for your informal learning library. Modern conferencing tools like audio conferencing, video conferencing or web conferencing could all be used to create audio or video recordings of tips and tutorials. You may need to make an intentional plan to create content at first. The more you save and share your recordings, the more it will become a part of your routine.
Here are a few tips to help along the way:
- Make sure participants are aware that the call is being recorded and may be used for training purposes.
- Use editing software. This way, you can extract only the pertinent portions of the conference. For example, if a one-hour web conference contains ten minutes of guided training on how to format a blog post in WordPress, you’ll want to extract just those ten minutes of informal training.
- Give your recording a descriptive name. For example, instead of 06182018_webconference.mp4, you might name the recording How_to_format_a_blog_post_in_WordPress.mp4.
- Make sure nothing confidential is inadvertently revealed. Part of editing involves ensuring confidentiality is respected. View and listen to your recordings before posting them to your informal learning library to make sure that all confidential information and any inappropriate comments have been edited out.
- Periodically hold conferences specifically to create content to share to your informal learning library. This can help increase the adoption of new processes and technologies. For example, if you’ve recently ordered a web conferencing plan, you could hold a small web conference demonstrating how to use it and then post that recording to your library where everyone in the company can learn how to use it at their leisure.
- Spread the word. Let your team know this resource exists — that they’re welcome to both contribute and consume informal learning content.