90% of everything every employee in an organization learns isn’t taught in formal training. It’s gleaned through informal advice given by SEMs, serendipitous observations of colleagues’ more efficient techniques, and systematic trial and error. Often the know-how and skills acquired and shared via this “social learning” are an organization’s most essential — detailed understandings of how specific processes really work, or how specific tools can be used most efficiently.
The granular, role-specific nature of this informal skills training, however, is also why it’s historically been impractical for formal L&D teams to produce. Social technologies have sought to change that, but early text-centric solutions fizzled as employees were loath to write.
Solving that challenge, however, is a familiar technology in a new role: video.
Quick to record, easy to follow along, and inexpensive to curate and manage, video is helping organizations capture, preserve, and share more of their institutional knowledge — and in turn, speeding up employee onboarding, reducing time and expense wasted “reinventing the wheel,” and facilitating innovation through more efficient incremental advancements.
Context and Perspective
For most organizations, fostering informal learning won’t be completely new. Here’s what makes video-enabled social learning different from:
Knowledge Management — If knowledge management is the top-down process of discovering and preserving institutional knowledge, social learning is the other side of the coin, a bottom-up process that enables any employee to decide what expertise is important to share. This “wisdom of the crowd” approach often uncovers new and unexpected points of expertise that can then be leveraged across the organization.
Social Collaboration Tools — While a step in the right direction, most text-based internal social networks and wikis simply can’t replace the value of getting a face-to-face answer to a question from the in-house expert. Video’s combination of text, imagery, and humanity offer a better learning experience employees are more likely to actually use.
Visualizing the Opportunities
The value of organized social learning is in its breadth — the practice can amplify most any shared information between employees. Here are some of today’s most popular strategies:
- Introducing employees and foster connections between subject matter experts
- Demonstrating job-specific functions and role-specific techniques
- Explain new product and process developments with complete visual detail
- Sharing answers to everyday workplace questions in order to improve team efficiency
- Recording meetings both as a training resource and past reference
- Preserving employees expertise prior to retirement or departure
As with any organizational learning program, a video social learning initiative requires some level of support, investment, and oversight. Chiefly:
Cultural Support — Employees will be looking for signs that a new initiative is supported at the top, so getting executives to participate will bolster company wide adoption. And be sure to set expectations that the company values information over appearance — social videos don’t need Hollywood-level production values, just useful know-how and expertise.
Technical Support — To facilitate social learning at scale across departments, geographies, and time, organizations need technology that makes employee-level sharing simple. AV Specialist-dependent modes of video production won’t work here, but the same enterprise video platform that may already be supporting other facets of your learning and development programs can provide a desktop-level ready solution for recording, sharing, searching, and managing social learning videos.
See It In Action
In this recorded presentation, Robert Morton shares information about optimizing Tableau’s analytics query performance for his colleagues to learn from.
This article was originally published on Panopto’s blog