How to de-risk crowdsourcing your next elearning project

Bringing others into the elearning production process is something almost every business is having to do more of. Whether it’s sourcing knowledge from subject matter experts, or bringing in an external agency, leveraging extra people-power allows you to produce more learning, faster. 

Yet it comes with a unique set of risks. In this article, we’re looking at how some of our customers have encountered and navigated those risks – and what you can learn.

Traditionally, L&D teams are the center of production; taking needs and knowledge from around the business and producing required content. But the demand for training has increased so massively that many teams are looking for alternatives – exploring ways to open up authoring further and alleviate the pressure. 

Of course, enabling the wider organization to produce their own learning, concerns can arise:

“What if authors accidentally release an unfinished course?”

“How do I keep the departments and business areas separate?”

“Won’t onboarding these new users take too much time and effort? And be hard to track?”

There is also a pressure, when looking to open up production, to do it in a certain way. Many articles can focus on an exact model and what it “should” look like, plus best practices for implementing it.

But having worked with multiple customers to support moving towards crowdsourcing, we have a different viewpoint: the model looks different for every organization. 

To look at how different approaches can work, plus the pitfalls you can encounter and how to avoid them, we’re exploring two customer stories below that show just two of the approaches you can take to de-risk your crowdsourced learning production.

Neither one of these is prescriptive, but will hopefully show that by understanding the needs of your business, working with your tools and hybridising multiple approaches, you can and will find something that works.

 

Example 1: Slowing down to speed up

Our first example comes from an understandably risk-averse sector: highly-regulated, global enterprise. Their L&D team is experienced, works to a high standard and were already considering opening up production.  

But across the first few months of 2020, there was an increased pressure to speed up this process. The company’s training delivery needed to be almost completely reworked as staff started working from home. 

This conversion, on top of the already full schedule, presented an insurmountable challenge. To help meet it, the team wanted to quickly open up production to people within the organization who had specific and relevant knowledge, allowing them to produce elearning content.

So, the customer’s L&D team started to invite more users into Elucidat and let them create training courses. They saw a rapid organic growth in the number of creators and the amount of learning being produced. The courses were technically proficient, but lacked the elements that the L&D team used for creating engagement with the content. 

The team caught the issue early and rapidly reassessed how to meet their goals and maintain standards – while still being able to leverage the production capabilities of their experts.

They worked with their Elucidat Customer Success Team, and together they decided to scale back and start the “opening up” process again. But this time, approaching it differently.

The customer began by consulting the teams and employees who were key stakeholders in producing learning and development. What they found was crucial. While the platform was straight forward and allowed anyone to produce elearning (as shown by the volume of courses) there was a lack of knowledge in the wider organisation around good online training and best practices.

The team realized then that the L&D team could use their own expertise to ensure the business’ standards were maintained – by becoming coaches and reviewers. 

Their role within the process was to build the confidence of the newer users to meet the quality required. By guiding their colleagues in this way, when they opened up production once again the L&D team saw results that exceeded their expectations. By approaching it in this new and considered way, the customer saw not only a greater amount of training being produced but it was of a better quality than ever.

Elucidat tool tips for this model:

  • Be collaborative, use comments and reviewer roles to encourage input and feedback
  • Create confidence and capability by encouraging new authors to start with a Learning Accelerator blueprint. It helps them to understand the process, and supports them in best practices too.
  • Ensure you have a Brand Style already set up
  • Utilise roles, or create your own, to give colleagues access that supports their skill level

 

Example 2: Creating a community

With a smaller L&D team, but still within a global business, this customer had a high demand but not enough capacity. 

Around the business, areas had expressed interest in creating their own training, but the company hadn’t had a tool to support that desire. However, with their current highly technical, desktop authoring tool, the learning curve would have been too steep – plus the cost of installation would have been prohibitive. 

But with Elucidat being implemented, they could consider opening production up. 

The L&D team were the Elucidat champions, but because of the speed and simplicity it offered novice authors – plus the ability to access wherever they were – the team could start promoting the tool to the wider organization. They reached out through pre-established internal communities and set up a regular newsletter. Uptake was fast. 


But the L&D team made sure that there were resources in place to support their new authors. They made a dedicated Elucidat channel on their internal messaging network to share hits, tips and best practices. And, as their audience grew, example use cases and stories from other colleagues were also posted to this channel – showing the users from around the business what was possible and the standard achievable with Elucidat as a tool.

The promotion, examples and potential of the tool led adoption of Elucidat across the business to become self-propelling: the more people who heard about Elucidat, the more people wanted to join. And, because these people were invested in using the tool plus they had guidance accessible and visible, the standards remained high in production. 

So for this company, it was using established methods for internal communication which got “buy in” from stakeholders around the business. Which in turn meant the L&D team were not the only ones who championed Elucidat. Opening up learning production was a natural and helped meet the need to work with subject matter experts in a collaborative way.

Elucidat tool tips for this model:

  • Make sure to get set up with Brand Styles for colleagues to use when creating content
  • Create custom user roles and make the most of departments to ensure colleagues get the access they need!
  • Encourage the use of Learning Accelerator for new authors to promote best practice
  • Or consider creating template courses to copy and adapt to promote speed and consistency
  • Share online links to courses you’re proud of producing internally! 

 

Summary

No doubt reading these examples through, you’ve discovered learnings you can take from each of these stories. The important thing to remember is that you can implement as little – or as much – of any ways of working your organisation needs in the pursuit of crowdsourcing. 

But just as your model needs to be flexible, the tools you choose to support it need to be flexible too. 

Whether it’s creating custom roles for content population only, or pre-built structures to help novice authors feel like they can hit the ground running, your authoring tool should help you get buy in from the wider business and work with the approach you choose.

With features like Advanced User Management and Learning Accelerator – which, when combined, allow for the risk-free production of high-quality elearning by anyone, regardless of experience – Elucidat ensures that everyone within your authoring platform has the tools they need to produce high quality digital learning.

shares