I see it everywhere nowadays. Content is created by the people, for the people and is shared between everyone using mobile devices. Be it on Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and every other “sharing” platform available, we are all creating content and we are all curating that content for our own purposes and needs.
So why in the elearning world, are we still seeing content being developed by specific teams, using specific tools? Surely time is running out for that way of doing things and in fact the content that we see and need within a Learning Management System will inevitably be created by the actual users of that Learning Management System at the point of need and using a mobile device more than likely.
After all, they are the people who know what content is needed, are they not?
Perhaps it is still an issue of control, where L&D teams are sure they are the people who know what content is best and in what format. Or are organisations just stuck in a rut of “it has worked well for years so why change it”.
The problem is that the world as we know it is changing every day in terms of how we interact with technology. My 5 year old daughter does not know what an encyclopedia is and only knows that the be all and end all for information is Google. I myself am right now creating content to share and be curated by others for a specific purpose that they have. I am not relying on someone else to advise me on what that content should be and how it should be delivered or presented. This is the world we live in now.
More and more LMS platforms are now including a form of “User Generated Content” functionality. The ability for any user of the system to create some content (a document, image, video or just some text) and upload this into the system for all other users to view and digest. So Fred (the expenses guy in Accounts) can now create a short video on how to “properly” submit expense reports and add this to the system to educate his colleagues and thus making his job much more streamlined. Or Jenny (the Facilities Manager) can create a document on what to do if you forget your access pass, so that she isn’t fielding “I can’t get in” questions and can focus on her actual job instead.
Additionally, we are seeing a big push towards a “microlearning” environment, whereby the learning content added to the LMS is in small chunks of 3 to 5 minutes, which can be accessed and consumed on any device and from any location (as long as the LMS supports access from any device!).
So surely the current elearning development teams that we know and love, will start to become “content curators”, where more often they are reviewing content submitted by system users and categorising that content for easier searching. Having an army of content creators (the staff in your organisation) at your fingertips gives you great power to unlock the knowledge that is trapped inside the heads of those employees. And for the most part, that is the only content that you need to upskill your teams.
I expect there will still be a need for elearning developers for those more complex and important content projects such as legal compliance, induction and the like. So I do not expect the elearning developer role to disappear. I just think they will morph into something different than what we know right now.
What do you think? It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming months and years.