Learners today are presented with a wealth of choices and opportunities for learning. They can turn to Blogs, wikis, social networks, video sites, etc. to find learning content. The problem, though, is that it can be difficult to find high quality, informative learning content among a massive sea of choices.
How much stuff is out there?
- YouTube alone experiences 100 hours of video uploaded every minute. (https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html)
- 200 billion tweets are published to Twitter each year. (http://www.internetlivestats.com/twitter-statistics/)
- There are currently 17.6 billion Blog pages on WordPress alone (http://en.wordpress.com/stats/)
- The most amazing metric, though, comes from the American Library Association which says that by 2020, information on the Internet will be doubling every 15 minutes.
Research indicates that the time, effort, and cost to create e-learning courses using authoring tools is exorbitant. This often quoted ASTD article states that it typically takes 127 to 184 hours (16 to 23 days) to create, using authoring tools, one hour of self-paced online learning containing moderate interactivity.
An effective solution to the problem of learning content overload and pressure on course developers to create courses quickly and cheaply is to leverage the workplace learning management system (LMS) as an on-ramp to the world’s best learning content.
Traditionally, instructional designers and course developers create courses using third party authoring tools and import these into the LMS to deliver to learners and track their progress. Comparatively, the course assembly tools built into some learning management systems (LMS) allow you to quickly create courses that contain:
- Instructional videos from the most popular sites including YouTube, Vimeo, TED.com, etc.
- Articles from Wikipedia and other online encyclopedia
- Blog posts from such reputable sources as Harvard Business Review
- Slideshare and Prezi presentations
- Free online courses
- External discussion forums in the form of Facebook or LinkedIn groups, Reddit discussions, etc
Although the source files for the content types listed above are located outside of the LMS, the system can still track the learner’s progress through the courses. Learner activity reports can then be generated, shared, exported, and e-mailed to instructors, administrators, managers, and others.
Based on the estimate that a traditional e-learning course takes 16 to 23 days to create, and assuming a conservative annual salary of $65,000 for an instructional/designer/course developer, and 250 work days per year, a simple one-hour page-turning type course using a traditional authoring tool would cost $4160 to $5980 to create.
Comparatively, a course of a similar duration featuring, say…
- An existing YouTube video
- A quiz
- A PDF document
- A existing Prezi presentation
- A final exam
…takes less than two days to create at a cost of $520, including the time to find and vet content, create assessments, and assemble/test the course. This translates into cost savings of $3640 to $5460 over a traditionally-authoring course. Given that most organizations provide dozens of courses to learners, the cost savings translate into tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Higher learner engagement
Also, courses leveraging existing Web content (videos, Blogs, presentations, etc.) produce learning events that are potentially more engaging to learners than boring page-turning courses. (After all, learners hang out on such sites outside of work.) This translates into significantly higher level of course completion and increased learning.
Organizations will always need to create some courses in-house. But for a multitude of topics, cost savings and increased learning can be obtained by leveraging existing Web-based content in their learning management system.
We’ve just published a new video to our Absorb LMS YouTube channel that provides an overview of the new `Mercury‘ module. The Mercury module is a special add-on to Absorb LMS that contains features specifically aimed at increasing learner engagement. These features include:
- News items
- Twitter feed
- and more
In a nutshell, the Absorb LMS Mercury Module can turn your Absorb LMS portal into a pretty effective Intranet, giving the learners access to anything they need to do their work and increase their skills. It will all make sense if you take four minutes and twenty-eight seconds to watch this:
We launched our official Absorb LMS YouTube channel this week. So far, it contains about a dozen short videos. We’ll be adding more regularly. Help us get more views than PSY’s Gangnam Style by checking out the videos, subscribing to the channel, and sharing the clips with your friends. Also, management says that if we get a million “likes” on any of these videos, we can get a puppy.
Here’s a video of the new HTML 5, iPad- and iPhone-friendly version of Absorb LMS, code named `Ninja.’
YouTube is by far the world’s most popular video site. YouTube reports that:
- Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
- YouTube is localized in 43 countries and across 60 languages
- In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views for every person on Earth
- 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
That last metric stating that 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, should generate eureka squeals of joy from learning content developers. Sure, a lot of those videos feature musical performances by rock-star wannabes and cats doing funny things, but there’s a huge number of videos on content topics relevant to workplace learning.
Don’t believe me?
- A YouTube search for “Safety Training” returns 56,000 results
- A search for “Management Skills” returns 36,600 results
- A search for “Business Writing” returns 57,000 results
- A search for “MS Excel 2010 Tutorial” returns 40,200 results
The volume of content available on YouTube frees training departments from having to reinvent the wheel. Rather than focusing on creating content, they can instead focus their efforts on finding the best existing content to provide to learners.
Because there’s so much content on YouTube, it isn’t an effective learning strategy to say to learners “why don’t you go to YouTube and watch a few videos about project management.” The learner shouldn’t be required to sort through dozens of videos before finding relevant content. A more efficient approach is to find and integrate good YouTube content into your learning management system and ultimately into learning paths.
Chances are, your learning management system will allow you to link to YouTube videos which will open in a new window. This approach will display the comments posted by people on YouTube and will allow your learners to comment as well if they wish. The ability to comment anonymously, however, doesn’t always bring out the best in people on YouTube so if you prefer, you can—thanks to Google’s generosity and “don’t be evil” philosophy—embed the source video directly into your course player like this:
YouTube content can turbocharge your learning initiatives by significantly decreasing the amount of time required to provide learners with good content. Even if you’re hard at work creating proprietary learning content, you can quickly create and make available effective and entertaining content that will help your learners acquire new skills.