How can L&D teams find the right solution while also keeping up with their companies’ fast-paced, business-driven learning needs? The answer is informal learning, using a broad range of new, tech-driven tools.
Instead of waiting for one universal tool that fixes everything, edTech should be about getting the most out of a wide range of tools.
A recent survey by Deloitte found that a limited budget is the top challenge Learning and Development (L&D) teams face when planning new learning programs (CGS report). To make matters even more difficult, spending on new learning tools and technologies has dropped.
According to the survey, more companies are now eager to replace traditional learning infrastructures with affordable tools that tap into the power of innovative technologies. This forces L&D teams to rethink their current approaches and look for cheaper, lower-maintenance solutions.
The survey found that 85% of L&D managers were interested in creating so-called collaborative learning environments. That means empowering “Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the workplace community to share their expertise directly with their peers”.
This approach clearly reduces spending on high-end learning tools, but how can L&D managers enable Subject Matter Experts to share their expertise quickly so that they keep up with the fast pace of business?
A strong teacher can share knowledge successfully using only their voice and a chalkboard. In L&D terms, it takes knowledge and a platform. Going forward, knowledge-sharing platforms must be accessible, connected, and easy to use. Thanks to new technological innovations, the buying process has become easier than ever for L&D professionals in search of the right tools. The internet is loaded with free/cheap visual, audio, video, and media tools.
We are witnessing a boom in new, free, or cost-effective tools with zero learning curve. Take photo editing, for example. Instead of tweaking hundreds of settings in Photoshop to improve a picture, we can now simply apply a preset, which is as easy to use as an Instagram filter. All we need are image templates, which are now readily available online. The same goes for creating learning content: SMEs need a tool that a) offers many templates, b) has zero learning curve for modifying the templates, and c) allows SMEs to integrate media from other zero learning curve tools.
In almost every aspect of their work, SMEs can now replace previous steep-learning-curve tools with easy-to-use web-based options. Here’s a list of some of the tools empowering SMEs to create and share learning content:
|Heavyweight tool||Low learning curve solution|
|Visuals||Photoshop||Canva, Pixlr, PixTeller|
|Data||Excel, Tableau||Google Sheets|
|Design prototypes||Paper prototyping, Adobe Illustrator||InVision, POP or Sketch|
|Podcasting, audio broadcasting||Recording Studios, project studios||Anchor|
|Iconsets, Graphic Design||Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop||Canva|
|Infographics||Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop||Venngage|
|Project management||Excel, Gannt||Trello|
|Video editing||Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro||Animoto|
|Photography||DSLR Cameras||iPhones, Samsung Phones|
|Real-life simulations||Video productions||Easygenerator + BranchTrack|
|Sharing knowledge/Courses||Learning Management Systems||Slack|
|Creating training, courses||Adobe Captivate, Rise||Easygenerator|
If you want the agility to keep on top of dynamic business changes, you cannot waste time getting used to slow, hard-to-use tools. The new generation of tools enhances knowledge-sharing and helps SMEs communicate more effectively. The focus is on converging these tools and disciplines to collaboratively create and curate content.
Save yourself the hassle and expense of giant learning systems. Now is the time to go lean – in terms of costs, labor, and time.
The idea is to kickstart learning, using the knowledge that exists in the minds of SMEs and tools that exist online. There’s no need to become entangled in meticulous planning or excessive design.