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CEO Webinar Series (Part 2): Bringing e-learning production in-house: Nielsen’s case
Sep 14, 2021
45 minutes
Louise Puddifoot
Learning & Development Expert
Kasper Spiro
CEO of Easygenerator

Kasper 0:02 — Today, it’s part two of the CEO webinar series of Easygenerator. So, we had the first session on Employee-generated Learning a while ago. And today is the second webinar together with Louise Puddifoot. So Louise, can you bring up the next slide? Yes, thank you. So, Louise, welcome to the webinar, maybe you could do a short introduction by yourself.

 

Louise 0:31 — Thank you, Kasper. Hi, everyone. I’m Louise Puddifoot. I have worked with Employee-generated Learning (EGL) for probably six or seven years now, I used to be VP of Talent Development at Nielsen. And in my time there, I led to the introduction of Employee-generated Learning into the business. And it’s still thriving there today. But I left the business about three years ago now to set up my own L&D consultancy and have worked with many other clients on their learning strategies since that time, including some Easygenerator clients around Employee-generated Learning. So, I’m hoping to be able to share some stories around how that’s gone, and some learnings for you all today.

 

Kasper 1:20 — Thank you. So, I’m Kasper Spiro. I’m the CEO Easygenerator, and as I said, this is the CEO webinar series. So, the first one was the introduction into Employee-generated Learning. But that approach means I will give you a short recap of that. And then we will talk about how to implement that actually a company based on her experience at Nielsen. Hey Louise, can you go to the next slide? Thank you.

The problem Easygenerator solves

So, we started Easygenerator basically out of personal frustration of myself. And that is I’ve been working in e-learning for a long time. But I learned that creating e-learning through instructional designers is something that takes a lot of time. And with that it takes a lot of money. But the hardest thing is that there is a big maintenance problem.

 

I once did a project for a big oil company that was implementing a new Learning Management System (LMS) and I was responsible for that. And while we were almost done, we started migrating the courses from the old system to the new and we just want to do a sanity check to see how accurate of courses were. So, we took 100 courses randomly out of all the thousands of courses and looked for subject matter experts to look at the content. And I just asked one question, is that content still accurate? And the shocking answer was for all courses, they were outdated. And some of those courses were two years old, but some of them were two weeks old. So, I think that is a big problem. Can you go to the next slide, Louise?

 

So, and the problem is created by, basically, how that work is done. So, it’s an instructional designer from the Learning & Development department, interviewing people in the business to get their knowledge about how things are working. And then that instructional designer has to process that information into a course. That process, by itself, is already quite lengthy and takes a lot of time. And, with that, it’s expensive. But the key thing there is that once the course is published, it’s instructor designer who is responsible for it and not somebody in the business.

 

And the business will keep on evolving. It has new insights, it learns new things, it will implement new procedures. And that information very rarely reaches the instruction designer. So, there is no trigger for him or her to update content. And that is the reason that e-learning content is, so often, outdated. So, that’s the problem we want to solve is Easygenerator. Can you go to the next slide, please? Thank you.

 

So, the problem, basically, to put it frankly, we spend a lot of time and money to teach people outdated stuff. And that is the issue that we want to solve with the Employee-generated Learning approach. And that, by itself, is so simple, because the whole thing is that the information, the knowledge, and the development of the knowledge, and the processes, are in the business. So, what you need to do is make sure that the business is responsible for that. So, it’s not the L&D department, it’s not the instructional designer who is creating the courses. It is the people in the business who are aware of that problem and know what’s happening. So, they have to create the content and that is what Easygenerator facilitates and that’s what Employee-generated Learning is all about. They are responsible for that.

 

The instruction designer is still there. They can be they can be a coach; they can help them do it in a good way, they can guide them. But the key thing, their responsibility for both the creation, and maybe even more important, the maintenance of the content should lie in the business. And that is the core thing of Employee-generated Learning.

 

So, Louise, if you go to the next slide, you’ll see a quote from Lewis Platt. So, he was a former Hewlett Packard CEO, and he has a great sentence. So, “if HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more productive.” And that is exactly the challenges we try to solve. Because imagine — so, all the knowledge that is available in your company — if that knowledge would always be available to all employees, you would indeed be, at least, three times more productive. And the thing is that information, for the large part, lives in the hands of your employees — in the hands of your experts. And that is what Employee-generated Learning tries to do — to get that content into a course to get that content into a resource and make it available to the other people so they can actually be more productive. That’s what it’s all about. Louise, thank you.

 

Louise 5:52 — Thanks, Kasper. It’s a great quote. I love that quote.

 

Kasper 5:55 — Yeah, it is. Yeah. So, I wish I was the guy saying that, but I’m not that guy. So, it’s a really great quote. So, with that, I want to hand it over to you, Louis, to see how it actually works, implemented. So, take it away.

 

Louise 6:09 — Thanks, Kasper. Yeah, so I’m going to talk a little bit about the journey that we went on at Nielsen around, I think, about six years ago now. And for those of you that aren’t familiar with Nielsen, it’s a global data and measurement company. So, it measures what people watch and what they buy, and then sells that data onto clients. And it’s a big global company, headquartered in the US. It’s now split into two different companies since my time there, both of which still continue to work with Easygenerator and operate Employee-generated Learning.

 

So, I worked there for many years in various Learning & Development leadership roles. And one of the things that I was lucky enough to work on while I was there was the Employee-generated Learning initiative. And it’s something that I think I look back on and I’m particularly proud of, because of its impact on the whole breadth of the organization, because the impact of empowering people to be able to share their expertise across the organization with one another, and to build that kind of learning culture is really great to see and makes a big difference to how people work and how the business works.

Why Nielsen implemented EGL

So, I’m going to tell you a bit about the background to our decision to implement Employee-generated Learning in the first place, and some of the considerations that we had along the way, and some of the hurdles we encountered and some of the things that we learned along the way. So, I hope you find that that useful.

 

So, kind of like many big corporates, Nielsen had grown by acquisition over many years, and was made up of different business units, providing training for their own people in their own way. And we decided to go through a kind of consolidation exercise to bring those disparate training teams together to form a more centralized Learning & Development function. And that obviously comes with its benefits. There are economies of scale doing that, you don’t duplicate effort, you have cost savings, and you have much more consistency in your approach. And we really wanted to be able to also focus that key team on the big strategic initiatives that the organization was working on.

 

So as we got that team in place, and the centralized Learning & Development team were focusing on those key strategic priorities for the organization, we had the need, really, to be able to deliver training to other parts of the organization — the kind of things that were needed more in more localized areas or pockets or departments — that we were never realistically going to be able to service from the centralized team. The demand was just too big for training. And we needed to be able to do that in a cost-effective way. So as Kasper said, you know, outsourcing to e-learning specialists, or something like that, was time-consuming and costly. Being able to generate in-house was going to be much more effective at doing that in a cost-efficient way and in a timely way.

 

Louise 9:21 — So, we focused that centralized team on those key initiatives. And we identified, as a result of that, a number of things that we needed to stop doing as a centralizing team. And that was actually really tough. Because often deciding what to stop doing can be a lot harder than deciding what to do or what you need to do. And so, we did need to kind of have those difficult conversations in the business and difficult conversations amongst each other as we worked out what we would and wouldn’t be focusing on in the centralized teams. And over time, we developed key criteria for how we do that, which is really useful in terms of being able to manage that going forward, which I’ll talk a little bit more about later.

 

And so, as we then enabled the business and employees to generate their own learning, we were able to make sure that those needs continued to be met, and it really increased the amount of learning going on and the quality of learning going on. So that enabled us to build that culture of learning, which is something that I personally feel really passionate about, really excited and keen to develop a learning culture where people can build their own learning and can share their knowledge. Because there is, I think, so much knowledge that sits in the organization that goes unshared. And having the opportunity to enable that knowledge to get out there is a really good opportunity to have.

The benefits

So, there are a number of benefits that we saw of building that high performance learning culture by implementing Employee-generated Learning. First of all, people sharing their knowledge with each other really enables them to increase the productivity of their teams. People are able to work faster, they’re able to work smarter, because they can get easier access to the resources and expertise within the organization. So, they get what they need to get the job done. And therefore, operational efficiency increases.

 

And by sharing knowledge, and providing training about certain decisions or procedures, there new people or people that are new to a certain task can easily acquire the skills and the knowledge that they need. Rather than previously, it may have sat with just one or a few experts, and that would have created a bottleneck or vulnerabilities. So, when the experts were sharing their expertise, everyone could learn from one another, a wider pool of expertise emerged, and we limited that skill gap.

 

It also supported our focus on employee engagement, as it helped people get access to the learning resources, they needed to do their jobs. And it helped them get more opportunities to learn and grow, which is one of the areas we’re focusing on in terms of our employee engagement. And, in fact, we hadn’t actually launched employee engagement at this time, but we did a couple of years later. And the whole culture of learning became reinforced as we did that. And this continued to be part of that strategy.

 

And then it also helps in terms of recognition, which we know is a key motivator for people at work, for retention for engagement. And when we found that when people shared their knowledge with each other, it gave them more exposure in the business. It helped others recognize them as the expert that they are and therefore helped build their reputation and give them that recognition.

 

So, I’m going to move on to talk a little bit more about how we did it. I’ve kind of talked a little bit about why. I want to move on to talk a little bit more about how. And I think there’s kind of two things to bear in mind when you think about how to navigate this in the business. And one of those things is the kind of political and cultural piece. And one of them is the tactical piece.

 

So, the political and cultural pieces the, “how do you navigate the organization? How do you get buy-in? How do you deal with pushbacks?” And then the tactical piece is, “how do you support people to actually do it, give them all the tools, etc.” that they need. And for us the political and cultural piece, I think, was by far the toughest, I think. The tactical piece, there’s work there, and you get fantastic support from Easygenerator to do that piece. But navigating the political and cultural piece is really important as well.

Convincing the stakeholders

So, we started by thinking about the audience that we needed to get on board as we moved through this journey. And what I found is typically for Employee-generated Learning, there’s three main audiences that you need to convince along the way. So, for us, firstly, the approvers. For us, they were the leaders, senior leaders, budget holders, decision makers, and the people that we needed to approve us moving forward with this initiative and continue to support it.

 

And then the conduits, really the enablers — the people that are kind of the vehicle to the end users being successful. And for us, that was really our HR community. They were people that would often hear about learning needs and can point people in the right direction and enable Employee-generated Learning to take place.

 

Louise 14:51 — And then finally, the end users are those people that are actually going to be building the learnings in Easygenerator and using the learnings in Easygenerator. So, I’m going to talk through how we went about thinking about the needs of these three groups in a moment. And I really encourage you, yourself. When you think about your own organization, think about who would the approvers be in your organization? Who would the conduits be? Who would the end users be? And how this would translate for them.

 

So, we use the personal change model: head, heart, habit. And I really like this model personally, just because it’s really simple to use, really easy to remember makes great sense. And any successful change initiative really needs to appeal to all three. So, your head is really the thinking bit. It’s the logic, the recommendation, the strategy, the plan, the business case. The heart is the feeling bit. So that’s why somebody is going to want to do this. What’s in it for them? What’s the call-to-action? It can be good, can be bad, but that emotional piece. And then the habit is the doing bit. How are you actually going to make this happen? How are you going to implement it on a daily basis? What are the detailed steps involved in doing this?

 

So, for us when we think about our approvers, the main business case is that we’re looking for better performance and all those things I’ve mentioned in terms of the benefits of bringing about Employee-generated Learning and what that means. So, there were efficiencies that we could identify, costs we could save, that kind of thing.

 

From a heart perspective, it meant that, particularly for our leaders, in the L&D team, we were focusing on the big strategic priorities, which were their priorities. So, we could help make them look good effectively by supporting their priorities and focusing our own team on those areas. And we could reassure them that the things that the centralized Learning & Development team wouldn’t be working on were covered in another way. They weren’t going to fall through the gaps; that Employee-generated Learning was going to meet the rest of those needs.

 

And our approvers, from a habit perspective, there wasn’t a big time commitment. And then there wasn’t much for them to do. But the main thing that they really needed was to understand what was in scope and what was out of scope for Employee-generated Learning. And I’ll share a bit more about that with you in a moment. But we basically developed a really simple framework for what was in scope and out of scope, so that they had that tool to support them in conversations they were going to be having with leaders, and so that they could confidently have those conversations.

 

So, it’s really straightforward, but also really critical for them to be able to have those conversations. And obviously, as I’m sure you guys know, with any organizational change, you really need senior leadership support to be successful. So, getting this bit right is really key. And it’s really key to keep them informed and supportive as you progress.

 

Then, in terms of our conduit, or our HR community, they really needed to understand the overarching strategy of what we were doing, they needed to understand the fact that this was quick that this was simple, that there was no cost the way we managed it to them. We funded it centrally. And then from a heart perspective, would appeal to the majority of them that this was a way to enable people a way to make things work better, and to get their buy in that way. So, what they needed to know really is what they should be communicating and where to point people for the resources that they need. So, we gave them information and communication tools to be able to do that.

 

And then finally, the end users. So, the head piece for them was really the fact that you get to own it, it’s quick, you don’t have to go through the L&D team, you can do things as you want, but you’ll be fully supported. You’re going to get to share your knowledge and expertise — that’s the heart piece. You can easily maintain it. And you’ll get recognized, you’ll get that more formal career recognition for sharing your expertise. And then in terms of what they need is really giving them that toolkit that they need for everything they need to build an Employee-generated Learning and launch and Employee-generated Learning. And making sure that we do that as simply and easily for them as possible.

 

So, leaning on Easygenerator, there’s loads of great resources and onboardings, and all the rest of it. They support you for that. I think the extra bits for us that that we needed to really think about was the kind of beginning and the end of the process. So, the bits that were specific to our business. So, when is a Easygenerator e-learning the right solution at the beginning end, then how to build the tool. And then at the end, we needed to do some work around how people load things to the LMS and things like that, so they had a clear process for the unique way we loaded things to the LMS in our organization.

 

Kasper 20:09 — Louise, can I interrupt for a moment? Because I forgot something completely. So, I forgot to ask people, if you have any questions, please, you are muted, but please put them in the channel. And then I will ask those questions for you. So, if you have any questions, if you want something in more detail hearing from Louis and please let us know. So sorry, I forgot about that. So sorry for interrupting you.

 

Louise 20:35 — Oh no problem

 

Kasper 20:36 — So, go ahead.

 

Louise 20:37 — Please, fire away with your questions, no problem. So, I think one kind of positioning tip I found works quite well as that — or it worked for well for us anyway — is that we were talking about enabling people to share their knowledge. So, we talked about this as a way of helping make it easy for employees to share their expertise, rather than wording it as employees creating training. Because really, that the aim is that we’re finding a tool that can help people share their expertise more effectively. And then that resonated more effectively with where we were trying to go in terms of a learning culture and getting people’s buy in. We’re not asking employees to become training experts; we’re just asking them to share their knowledge.

Employees vs. L&D

So, one kind of key consideration that we had, as we went through this process, was thinking about where we need to draw the line in terms of what’s Learning-and-Development-generated, and what’s employee-generated. And we refer to something called the long tail of needs. We didn’t invent it. This is a concept that exists. But really around, we have a few needs on the left-hand side of the chart that are needed by the vast majority of people in the organization. And then we have lots of little needs as we go along the chart, which are needed by lower numbers of people in the organization. So, we need to find that point in that long tail of needs where L&D creates the training on the pale orange on the left-hand side. And then we shift into employees generating the training in the darker orange on the right-hand side.

 

I think this, visually, really helps people understand why you’re going down this journey and how you’re going to divide what works effectively. And it’s really useful to use data to describe any of your arguments. For this chart, we didn’t have actual data. So, we didn’t have a record of every single project ever to be able to make this data. But we had data on a large number of initiatives that we could use to help us support the number of projects we had in each area. So, we could estimate how much time we would save and things like that.

 

So, we would say for things like the dark orange projects that we had been working on, how much time we would be able to save if they shifted to Employee-generated Learning, and therefore, how much time would move to the more strategic projects on the left-hand side, for example.

 

And we do encourage you, well I would encourage you to really think about what data you can use to support your argument. So, things like any cost savings that you have from not outsourcing, any times savings you have, any cost savings you have in terms of ease of use. Even if you’re estimating the exact numbers, they can really help support that business case to the senior leaders in terms of why going down this route is good for business. And obviously the data you may need, or you may have in your organization may be slightly different. But there’s definitely a benefit of using data to make decisions. And it really appeals to the head piece of that change management when you’re communicating.

 

So, this is where it talks about, we needed a kind of framework of what’s going to be L&D-created, what’s going to be Employee-generated Learning. So, we determined our own criteria for what would sit where. Again, in your organization, this might look different. But I would recommend that you think about what the criteria would be in your organization.

 

So, for us, we used target audience size. So, an L&D-generated learning would have to be bigger than a target audience of 5000. In our organization, which was one eighth of our workforce. It has to be for a global audience, it would have to be related to one of the top five strategic priorities, and it would have to have a senior level stakeholder. If it didn’t tick those boxes, then it would move to Employee-generated Learning. And that’s how we equipped leaders and other people in the business to know when something was and wasn’t Employee-generated Learning.

 

So, this kind of helps you keep on track and helps you make sure your focus is correct. And I think it just removes any vagueness, it removes any ambiguity. So, you don’t get different interpretations. Because when you do get different interpretations and vagueness, you’re much more open to different personalities influencing decisions. And this makes it much easier for our stakeholders, those approvers and those conduits — that HR community we’ve talked about — to be able to communicate and push back. If they needed to push back, they didn’t have to say it was their personal decision to accept or reject. They could refer to the criteria as the reasons why.

 

Another side, I suppose, is this also gave reassurance to the central Learning & Development team. So, bringing in Employee-generated Learning can raise questions in the Learning & Development team in terms of, you know, what does this mean for me? Why are they doing something that’s my skilled job? And I think this helped explain, you know, this is where the Learning & Development team and all the excellent skills that we all have, as instructional designers and people in Learning & Development roles will still be used to support those strategic priorities. So, there’s a few kinds of use questions for you.

 

Kasper 26:20 — Louise, I have two questions for you. Can you move back one slide? So, one question on this slide is, it doesn’t have to tick all four boxes in order to count or is it just one of the criteria?

 

Louise 26:32 — For us, we said it had to tick all four boxes. We did have one exception. So, our leadership development programs with one exception that wouldn’t go to more than 5000 people, because they will be a smaller number of select leaders. But the strategic importance of those programs would mean that that overrode the fact it didn’t tick all four boxes. And we we’ve kind of decided right out front at the beginning that that would obviously stay with the central L&D team. But other than that, we would say it had to take all four boxes.

 

Kasper 27:02 — Okay. There was also a question on the slide before this, if you can remind people what the X and Y axis are?

 

Louise 27:11 — So, the X axis, which is the horizontal axis, is the number of different L&D projects or design projects. And the Y axis or vertical axis is the audience size for each of those projects. So, we had a small number of projects that were designed for large audiences, and a large number of projects designed for smaller audiences. Hopefully, that makes sense.

 

Kasper 27:43 — Yeah, that does, thank you. Those are the questions for now.

Challenges with EGL

Louise 27:46 — Great, thank you. So I’m going to move on to talk about some of the challenges that we had, and that I hear with other clients I work with come up. These are probably the most common challenges I hear come up, I guess two of the most common challenges.

 

So firstly, one of the obvious challenges is that the quality won’t be good enough. And to an extent, it’s true, right? That the employees are never going to generate learning or e-learning to the same level of design as an instructional designer would create. And, particularly, if you look at it as moving the work of L&D or instructional design to the business, then that feels really worrying. But I think that whole kind of positioning thing is really key there that it’s not about that.

 

This is about giving people another tool to share their knowledge. So, we have people in the business, sharing their knowledge all the time, whether that’s by PowerPoint, webinar, Word or Google Doc, you know, all of those videos, whatever, all of those kinds of ways. And people will be sharing that knowledge. And what we’re doing is giving them a better tool or different tool to be able to do that more effectively. So getting that whole positioning pieces right and being able to understand that this is just another way to pay for people to share their knowledge.

 

And I also think it’s important to remember that there is a place for expertise and there is a place for ‘good enough.’ So, our aim with Employee-generated Learning is to give people the information they need to be able to do what they need to do or know what they need to know. And as long as it achieves that objective, then it’s good enough. Even if the design is basic, that doesn’t matter as long as it’s giving them what they need to be able to do their jobs effectively.

 

And think of it a bit like a YouTube video or something like that. You can have somebody on YouTube creating a video. And if you’re trying to look at how to wire a plug and it’s a really basic — I don’t even know if people still wire plugs — but it’s a really basic video about how to wire a plug. As long as it shows you what goes where, it’s good enough, you can wire plug, you’re happy with it. You don’t need it to be a Hollywood blockbuster. You don’t need fancy graphics, you don’t need avatars, or animations or whatever else. And it’s a similar kind of thinking that there is — you could do a Hollywood blockbuster but often for those learning needs in the business. You just don’t need it. You just need something useful and functional.

 

I also have a picture of a baby there. So just to mention why that’s there, the phrase ‘good enough’ is off, well, comes from — I’ve got a bit of a passion and a background in psychology. And the phrase ‘good enough’ really comes from a pediatric psychologist called Winnicott who was talking about the development of small babies and emphasizing the role that in those days, the mother, whom we would now call the primary carer, has in their development. And the point was really that the mother only needs to be good enough. So as a parent, you don’t need to be perfect, you learn best how to look after your baby, not from amazing books or even not that much from healthcare professionals, but mostly from having a baby and doing it yourself and knowing what you need to do.

 

And I think, similarly, in the business, the SMEs know best about the needs for sharing their knowledge with people They understand best what people need to be able to do to do this part of their job. So, this enables them to do that effectively. And it’s good enough for what they need to be able to do.

 

And another challenge we heard a lot is, “but we don’t have time for this.” So, one of the things that we do to address that challenge is have people think about a couple of poll questions. So, I’m just going to launch those now. You should be able to see the poll question. If you’ve joined us through Zoom, you’ll be able to see and respond to the poll question, I think. So, I’ll just give you a moment to answer this question, which is, have you ever needed to share the same knowledge over and over?

 

Great few more are still responding. Just give you another few seconds. Thank you. Just share the results. So, you should be able to see the results of that, that we have 95% of people saying yes, they’ve needed to share the same knowledge over and over. And just 5% or two of you saying no, you haven’t needed to share the same knowledge over and over.

 

So, going now to another poll question, just one moment. Again, if you’re in zoom, you’ll be able to answer the poll question now. So, this one says, have you ever felt frustrated that you can’t get the information you need to do your job properly? I’ll give you just a few seconds to answer that. Okay, I’ll just give you a couple more seconds, and then I’ll close it. Thank you.

 

So, this time, you can see 81% of people said yes, they felt frustrated they can’t get the information they need to do their job. And 19% say no. So, still, the vast majority, although not all the people sometimes experiencing that frustration. And this is really where the pushback on time comes in. So, we know that it’s kind of an instinctive reaction. If people are asked to do something else in their role, they will instinctively feel, “I’m already busy and I don’t have time for it.”

 

But when you think about potentially somebody sharing their expertise, having to share that same expertise, over and over again, repeatedly to different people, versus being able to put it in an e-learning and there it is once to share as many times as needed with everyone. And their frustration that might relieve around people not having the tools and resources they need to do their job and wasting time not being able to do their job efficiently, being able to get their hands on those tools and resources, again, is another way in the long run really of saving time.

 

So, we use those polls sometimes in the organization to help get people thinking differently about how to think about whether this is a good use of time or not. But I mean, I think it’s important to respect people’s time, obviously. The subject matter experts, the employees in the business, are going to be genuinely really busy. And being asked to take on something new may well feel like a tough ask because we know they’ve got day jobs, they’re juggling everything. And that’s not always easy.

 

So, it will be a knee-jerk reaction often when people push back on time, and it’s important to sympathize and, you know, empathize that we explain they’ve got a lot on. But really, when people are saying something isn’t, they haven’t got time, it often means they’re just reacting or maybe it’s just not their priority. So, then you’ve got if it’s not their priority, you’ve got to kind of go back to your head, heart and habits of why this is important, why it’s going to appeal to them, what you’re going to do to support them being successful. And the benefits that they’re going to get from the short-term pain potentially of investing the time now versus the long-term gain of the time savings in the longer run.

Support

So, I mentioned at the beginning that we made sure we gave our users support from beginning to end. And we branded it as ‘My training builder’ at the time. We were calling everything ‘my something’ at the time in the organization. So, that was a good name. And this is the bit that I talked about. So, we had a centralized internal website where we had links to all the resources that people needed to be able to build e-learning. We had a social media internal group, at the time it was Yammer, where people could ask questions and could discuss the work that they’re doing with each other. And for the majority, we leant on Easygenerator, or I’d certainly encourage you to lead on Easygenerator, because there’s a lot of that support.

 

There are so many great training resources out there. You certainly don’t need to invent it all or do it all yourself. I think for us it was thinking about the beginning. And at the end of the processes before they get as far as creating something in Easygenerator, what decision process do they need to go through to know that they should be? And how do they ask for a license, and that kind of thing. Then they build everything, and then it’s there, it’s ready to go. And how do they get it onto the LMS, and how do they communicate it out to the business?

 

Kasper 37:16 — There’s a question, Louise. So, what if your manager assigns you to create a course because L&D doesn’t have any capacity to do that, but you don’t consider yourself to be an expert, for example, because you’re new on the team. So, you have some time on your hands. So, what would be your advice there?

 

Louise 37:34 — Okay, so you don’t necessarily have the subject matter expertise yourself, I think. Okay. Yeah. So, then you have to work with other people, I think, to get that subject matter expertise. And effectively, that’s often what instructional designers do frequently — come in and build trainings where they don’t have the expertise themselves. And what it means is you have to do the research to find the content that you need to populate the e-learning. And you may need to talk to other experts in the business to find out what needs to go in there and maybe see if you can ask someone to buddy up with you to pass their eye over it as you go to check you’re capturing the expertise correctly. But it will be a good learning opportunity, I think, to do that. It would certainly teach you about that part of the business, wouldn’t it, as you went through that process?

 

I think the key thing here, it really was around making it easy. So, we just wanted to remove any blocks for people. So, you know, being able to know there’s a link, I can go and get everything I need. There’s somebody I can ask if I have a question, all of those things. We wanted to make it easy and just make the whole process from end to end, as simple for end users as possible. And I guess that’s the key really.

 

Kasper 39:00 — By the way, I have another question, which is on tracking and tracing. So, how did you balance the employee-generated content with the need for monitoring progress? So, you will get a lot of content and the organization probably wants to know who completed something or who hasn’t completed something. So, was it an issue at Nielsen? How did you handle that?

 

Louise 39:24 — Yes, our process was that every e-learning created had to be loaded onto the LMS. And by having it on the LMS we were then able to track it. So, we had a regular dashboard in place where we pulled data on a monthly basis around how many people have taken what courses, etc. And we would include Employee-generated Learnings in that dashboard. So, we would have access to that overarching data to know, you know, we’ve had X many e-learnings created and this many people have taken them. So, we could get access to that data as and when we needed to, and to monitor progress of how well this project was working.

 

We also automatically trigger feedback evaluation, mini evaluation surveys when people complete a course. So, they would be rating the courses as they went as well. So, we could keep an eye on those ratings as well at a high level. What we didn’t do is we didn’t quality control it. We didn’t dig deep. So, we took the decision, you know, if we’re going to go down this route, we can’t police it or quality control it because then it’s unmanageable. And, basically, we’re going to try and make it our own standards and it’s not going to work as this whole learning culture, Employee-generated Learning strategy. So, we just trusted the business to build what needed to be built. We’d help them if they asked us, but we didn’t monitor it. But we would want it to the metrics coming out.

 

Kasper 40:57 — Yeah. But maybe to add on to that because we learned our lesson there, that that information is really important. So, what we did build into Easygenerator as a default is a feedback mechanism. So even if you don’t host it on an LMS but just share a link or share it in another way, like an LMS, Easygenerator can still track and trace results. More important, it will generate what we call data insights for the author. So, it will show you how many people have actually taken your course, how many people finished or did not finish it, how many people succeeded, how long did they take on average. So, it will give you information, as an author, on how well you’re doing and if your course actually adds value to people.

 

I have one more question, maybe that’s also related here, and that is, can you indicate how much time subject matter experts, on average, reported on creating a course?

 

Louise 41:53 — It varies so much. I don’t know that I can give a number. I don’t know if you know a number, Kasper, maybe. But for us we didn’t measure a specific number and we wouldn’t really have had access to that data because we wouldn’t know — we’d know end-to-end for when someone started and when they finished. But we wouldn’t know whether they did five minutes a week or eight hours a day in terms of working in the tool. We did know it varied on the person’s capability and the length of the e-learning. But it can range from a few hours to a few days, I guess.

 

Kasper 42:31 — Yeah, so, I think, we don’t really have hard data on that, so we don’t measure that. But, indeed, that’s also what we hear — that it’s way faster than a process with instructional design and it’s more a matter of hours or days, depending on the design and the complexity of the course. But not a matter of weeks.

Measurement and feedback

Louise 42:48 — Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. So, we’ve talked a bit about measurement. Other things I wanted to mention is the whole feedback and celebration piece. So, we wanted to keep the level of enthusiasm high. So, we were very deliberate about providing positive feedback to those people that were creating courses. We made them part of an Employee-generated Learning community. So, they felt that they were part of something. And we tried our best to do a good job of celebrating within that community.

 

I think, sometimes, we could have done better. Like, sometimes, we celebrated within small communities. We probably could have gone bigger. I think, if I had my time again, I’d go a bit bigger and celebrate a bit more broadly across the larger organization as well.

 

Kasper 43:43 — Maybe a nice moment for another question. So, a bit related to the ‘good enough’ question that you had. So, the question is, was there any measurement in place to, sort of, do a quality control or quality check before courses were published?

 

Louise 44:00 — Not really. So, we didn’t go and tape the courses, or whatever. So, to launch the course, to get it onto the LMS, you had to fulfil certain criteria and give certain information. So, they’d have to have objectives. So, they were kind of like, tick boxes, I guess, in play. But we didn’t actually review them in detail. We relied on, kind of — I suppose it’s survival of the fittest, a bit. So, because courses are rated, and because people share courses that are working well, its kind of naturally panned out that the good stuff got used and anything awful didn’t get used. So, it didn’t turn out to be a major issue for us.

 

Kasper 44:42 — Yeah, we hear that from more companies, indeed, that the usage will automatically promote the greater course, like it will do in Google. So, it will be on the first page or not, if it’s a great course, and if not, it will not be on the first page. And we even hear from L&D departments that look at the courses that do really well, and they sort of cherry-pick from that and say, wait a minute, this is a really interesting course, so maybe we can actually pick that up, work with the subject matter expert but raise the level a bit and make an official company course with everything on that. So, indeed, that is something that filters out automatically.

Area for improvement

Louise 45:16 — Yeah, brilliant. Thank you. Absolutely. So, if I sum up and I think about, to close, what we did well, what we didn’t do well, we did have strong support from the senior stakeholders. On the opposite side of that, the conduits, the HR community — we did the basics, but I think we could probably have done more and supported that community even more than we did. We did have a clear plan. We did have clear team roles. We did make it really easy for the end user. We did recognize that successes make people feel good, but we could have gone broader. And we didn’t particularly consider a broad range of users beyond what I’ve described today but I think there’s potential usage across the marketing team and other teams across the organization that we could have touched into at that time as well, if we had thought about it.

 

And, I guess, final recommendations, final bit from me, to think about how you identify and convince your audiences, how to use data to support your decisions, provide clarity for what’s L&D-generated versus user-generated, support the end-to-end needs of users, and leverage on Easygenerator because they have loads of great support out there.