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10 Reasons to Crowdsource Training as Part of Your L&D Strategy

Using crowdsourcing techniques and technology in your corporate training program can help you improve employee engagement, increase job satisfaction and lower turnover. Not only that, the reasons to crowdsource training will ensure you are delivering the results that your stakeholders are looking for.

Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a specialist and outsourcing it to a large group of people. It involves actual work and/or solutions, not just feedback. Many brands have successfully used crowdsourcing as a way to generate new ideas, particularly in marketing. Consumers are more empowered than ever in this digital age, and so are learners. 

So, why should you care about crowdsourcing as a learning professional? In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 reasons to crowdsource training as part of your corporate training solutions. 

1. The speed of business means that content is changing more rapidly than ever

Market disruptions are forcing quicker changes in strategies, which means frequently introducing new products and processes to employees. 

Corporate training for increasingly agile strategies, products and processes has to be done in house. As these changes are happening more frequently, L&D is facing huge increases in training requests. They are also expected to turnaround training development projects much quicker than before.

2. Millennials, YouTube and mobile phones have changed user expectations

Expectations have changed drastically since Millennials entered the workforce, particularly in regard to how and when they learn. 

The digital age has introduced trends such as mobile learning to the learning experience, which is a reflection of how we consume content in general. And with today’s constant influx of information, time is a more precious resource than ever before. 

Employees need better, continuous training (in fact, Millennials are demanding it) and tech is a big part of meeting these expectations. Leveraging technology to crowdsource training is a way of keeping pace with these new demands.

3. Responsibility for creating training is moving into business functions

In the market at large, there has been a decentralization of L&D departments when it comes to content development. Learning leaders are increasingly recognizing the value of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) within their organizations.

Technology is allowing L&D to leverage these individuals more efficiently than ever before and it’s quickly changing the way we create corporate training. Of all the reasons to crowdsource training, this may be one of the most urgent.

4. Limited time means there is a greater need to ensure training is effective

Studies have shown employees are so time-starved, they have less than 1% of their working week available for learning.

New trends and models must be embraced to keep learning programs effective and performance-driven in response to the time-crunch challenge.

5. The fundamental instructional design supply and demand problem

The decentralization of L&D has pushed content creation away from instructional designers and into the hands of SMEs. But how do you ensure that the content developed is still effective, high-quality training?

How can you follow best practices in instructional design without hiring instructional designers in every business function (which is not cost-effective) or without extensive training in instructional design for every content producer?

The answer lies in the adoption of the right technologies and crowdsourcing models.

using crowdsourced training

6. The shelf life of training content is decreasing

“Speed vs Quality” has become a central theme in nearly all challenges faced by L&D today. The shelf-life of training content is a prime example and one of the key reasons to move towards crowdsourcing models.

If the content is changing more frequently than ever, it can be difficult to meet the timing and resource challenges. If you don’t keep content up to date, it will affect employee performance and efficiency. Moving to a model where you can scale resources up and down is what crowdsourcing is all about.

7. Employees highly value top performers and peers

Social approval is a powerful motivator. With crowdsourcing, you have the benefit of engaging your best SMEs to help.

Employees respect top performers and Millennials in particular value performance over seniority. Learners will more readily accept and engage with content developed by top SMEs in your organization.

Crowdsourcing elearning content

8. SMEs are often an untapped goldmine of specialized knowledge 

Even in a traditional model, pairing great SMEs with instructional designers is essential to producing effective training. If you change your thinking from “the training department has to create all the content” to “let’s get as many subject matter experts to help as we can”, you can produce better training more efficiently.

Until now, this was easier said than done. Thankfully, technology has been developed that allows L&D departments to take the reins in managing the instructional designer/SME relationship.

9. Artificial Intelligence can help bridge the instructional design gap

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a trending topic in L&D, and for good reason. It’s not just about throwing the latest buzzwords around, either. 

How to crowdsource learning

The time where technology that was previously reserved for tech giants like Amazon and Google to automate their processes is over. AI and all the efficiency that comes with it is starting to transform many business functions across a multitude of industries.

In L&D, it will make instructional design easier to scale, paving the way to easily introduce crowdsourcing models for corporate training.

10. Knowledge transfer can occur efficiently through digital best practices

The fact is, our workforces are often widely distributed and dispersed. Technology can be leveraged for more efficient ways to facilitate knowledge transfer between departments and better collaborate with SMEs.

Even without AI, we can begin with digitizing best practices. This will move dependency away from modes of collaboration that are quickly becoming outdated, such as email, word docs, and spreadsheets. With new technologies available to streamline and automate your processes, the reasons to crowdsource training have never been so urgent, and the means of implementing this strategy have never been more possible.

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