User generated content: Empowering learners to create and share

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What if you had a legion of loyal learners and employees creating content? This is what user generated content is all about! There’s a wealth of internal information that can be overseen but it is a great source of inspiration for L&D teams, subject matter experts, and instructional designers. Some great examples within the corporate training area are videos, articles, and internal documents which are created voluntarily.  

Increasingly, this type of content is becoming more popular because it is a great way to scale internal knowledge and enhance the credibility of the company internally, as well as promote a positive sharing culture that will surely increase employee retention rates and engagement.  

In this article, we will explore the difference between traditional content and user generated content, its advantages within e-learning and the workplace. Plus get some great tips on how to implement it. Let’s start empowering your employees and learners!  

Discovering the power of user generated content  

In the digital age, there has been a shift in the way we learn and work, now there are endless possibilities of digital platforms where content can be created and shared. Think for example how tools such as Google docs or Loom videos and sites like Medium or Quora have demonstrated that human beings inherently want to interact and share knowledge with each other.  

In the e-learning and corporate training sectors, numerous software solutions and apps like isEazy Engage offer collaborative features, enabling employees to actively share their knowledge and comments.  

User generated content is valuable because it is created with the intent to help others in a more authentic way. But where does that leave the traditional in-house content generated by L&D and HR departments?  

User generated content vs in-house training content 

One of the key differences between the two types of content is that they serve different objectives. Using one does not disqualify the other, in fact there should be a healthy blend between training content and user generated content.  

On the one hand, training content allows for more control of the messaging of training assets produced by subject matter experts and instructional designers. Furthermore, it is normally more aligned with the company’s overall objectives.  

On the other hand, internal user generated content is ideal to create synergies and communities within and build support frameworks that enhance learning. Moreover, it increases trust, according to the global report Edelman’s Trust Barometer, people trust their coworkers even more than CEOs.  

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Eye-opening UGC statistics you need to know 

In many ways UGC has proven to be beneficial and highly effective, numbers show that inserting user generated content increases engagement by 50% and user-generated videos have six times higher engagement than those made by the company. Furthermore, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family far beyond advertising.  

These numbers come to show the social nature of human beings and how user generated content is a powerful way to connect and establish credibility. Which is why there are many advantages of having UGC in your radar and finding ways to implement it.  

UGC facts

Unveiling the advantages of user generated content in e-learning and corporate training  

In the e-learning and corporate training field, UGC drives authentic and peer-powered insights which keeps training materials dynamic and relevant, this empowers staff and learners to actively participate in the learning process, ultimately leading to higher engagement and a better-informed workforce. We will be exploring all these advantages in detail.  

  • Social learning  

Social learning involves learning by interacting and finding support through your co-workers through different communication platforms such as chats or forums.  

As Christopher Pappas, founder of the eLearning Industry points out ¨ Social learning is a useful substitute for traditional learning since not everyone likes the idea of reading or viewing instructional material. ¨  

  • Personalized experiences  

Since this type of content is made for a specific use within a role or department through collaboration with other colleagues, UGC assets can truly give insights to L&D departments and can be used to leverage training giving it a more personalized focus.  

  • Peer-to-Peer learning  

Peer-to-Peer learning is essentially colleagues teaching other co-workers at the same level or department, skills they know. As Indeed mentions ¨This strategy encourages collaboration and capitalizes on the shared experiences that colleagues have with one another. ¨ 

  • Continuous learning  

While traditional training is time-bound, UGC is constantly flowing and being created by learners all the time! It is a continuous learning cycle and if you do some research, you will find insights on possible L&D topics within chats, videos that are generated internally, and written internal knowledge that is being interchanged. 

  • Fostering a collaborative culture  

UGC nurtures a collaborative culture and creates support systems within the workplace that add value to staff members and motivates them to perform better in their roles.  

  • Enhancing employee engagement  

Adding user generated content to training material heightens engagement levels, since they feel more invested because the training material is more relevant to their needs and level of expertise.  

  • The value of promoting worker’s content 

Additionally, promoting UGC from co-workers can be gratifying since you are placing value on their acquired knowledge and skills, giving them a sense of belonging within the company culture.  

  • Building trust  

Moreover, UGC builds trust since it reinforces diverse perspectives and experiences that foster open communication within the workplace. While traditional training comes from a single source, user generated content places value on the voice of its workers which ultimately culminates in a bilateral trust between employer and employees. 

  • Economic benefits  

The best part of all is that leveraging UGC for training material does not incur any additional costs since it is content that is being generated voluntarily. Plus taking advantage of this wealth of information allows L&D departments to scale their training content and assets effortlessly.  

Considering all the benefits, you might be wondering how to best motivate learners and employees to create UGC and how to implement it effectively. 

Best practices to implement user-generated content  

While content generated by subject matter experts is mandatory and a recurring task, content generated by employees can’t be forced. So how can you motivate your teams to do so? Explore these best practices to implement UGC and foster a culture of knowledge sharing. 

1. Encourage employee participation  

Getting employees to participate voluntarily can be challenging, but by creating fun activities you can open more user-friendly spaces where they can share without feeling intimidated. Why not try out creating fun surveys or video and image creation contests in which they will be more naturally inclined to participate.  

2. Exploit the use of technology  

Using the right communication channels is essential, this means exploiting apps or software that use social dynamics and focus on features that engage and reinforce continuous learning.  

3. Establish guidelines for quality control  

As mentioned earlier, while training material created by subject matter experts and instructional designers offers more control, the opposite is true for UGC. Although you can’t fully control the content employees generate, you can establish guidelines for them to follow, ensuring content quality and consistency. 

4. Recognize and reward contributors 

Many motivational theories – from Maslow to McGregor- place high importance on self-actualization by fulfilling our full potential, as well as rewards and recognitions to reinforce positive behaviors. Recognizing and rewarding an employee’s effort to create high-value content is a motivational driver making them feel appreciated.  

There are many ways you can do this, from social recognition through special employee badges to creating leaderboards and contests where they can accumulate points and receive compensation such as company merchandising. The possibilities are endless – let your creativity guide you! 

5. Monitor and evaluate effectiveness  

Finally, try and monitor what activities have worked to promote UGC so you can track its effectiveness on employee engagement. Analyze comments and likes, listen actively to conversations, or ask them directly through surveys and polls.  

Final thoughts: Embracing the potential of user-generated content in e-learning 

If you want to improve your learning assets and enhance the learning experience, using UGC material created by peers is a great way to increase engagement, motivate, and cultivate genuine teamwork and support systems across the organization. It allows for different perspectives which enrich your training programs and build trust.  

With an increase of new forward-thinking companies that embrace collaboration and empower their workforce, UGC will become increasingly popular, as more employee voices are heard. And as new technologies arise, these companies will reap the benefit of opening the possibility for employees and learners to actively participate in the learning experience through apps and software with social tools.  

Through the isEazy Engage app, you can transform your training into a fun and collaborative activity. Increase participation through gamified challenges, levels, and rankings. Or create a corporate feed where content can be shared directly. Turn your employees into valuable content creators! Excited? Request a demo to learn more.  

Nicole Bayer

CONTENT CREATED BY:

Nicole Bayer

Content Marketing Specialist at isEazy

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