YouTube is not just for funny cat videos. In fact, a 2017 survey from the platform found that 56% go to YouTube to learn something new. YouTube is now taking the initiative to ensure that learning content finds its users and investing in it as a standalone channel.
L&D teams may already feel like they are competing with YouTube as their workforce turns to the video platform to learn a new skill, instead of internal resources. This can not only make an employee less engaged with the company but also increase the risk that a team member receives incorrect or out-of-date information on how to complete a task.
That said, L&D teams shouldn’t feel threatened by YouTube’s latest investment, they should be excited about how this could further corporate learning and the evolution of e-learning tools. Furthermore, the investment marks another point of proof that individuals the world are over are increasingly hungry to learn and develop as individuals, a fact that is time and again cited as a top priority for professionals.
As the video platform establishes itself as a provider of high-quality, educational content, L&D teams have the opportunity to think of YouTube as a partner, rather than competitor, in motivating the workforce to take more ownership in their professional training and advancement.
Breaking out of tradition
For too long, corporate training has been regulated to a scheduled time, in office, during regular working hours. The training has been delivered in increasingly boring formats that ignore the standards for engagement employees have come to expect thanks to the consumer tech products they’re using in everyday life. YouTube and other user-generated content aggregation platforms have helped to change this, enforcing the idea that people should be able to learn when, where, and how they want to.
L&D teams can replicate this, deploying e-learning solutions that allow employees to engage with content on their schedule. With AI-powered e-learning solutions, employees also have the ability to access training that make the most sense for their role and career trajectory.
The right technology within an organization can help to bring L&D into the future and align department tools that will meet the expectations of their employees. Newer L&D platforms like Docebo Coach & Share make it easy for employees to create little videos sharing some piece of knowledge
Take Kevin, he’s a senior antenna technician. During his daily routine, he comes across a common antenna defect. While fixing the problem, he shoots a 5-second video on his smartphone showing his easy way to fix it. He then easily and intuitively uploads the video to his company’s learning platform. The learning platform automatically tags and categorizes his video to ensure it’s now discoverable by other people in his position. Now the entire field tech team and their managers have access to it when they need it.
With 24/7 accessibility, employees are given control over how they invest in both their own learning and can help to contribute knowledge capital to further wider corporate learning initiatives. Providing this type of ownership can empower the workforce to be more engaged in development programs and even explore topics outside of their traditional career path.
YouTube’s increased investment represents a positive opportunity to act as a continued stop-gap for both HR and L&D departments as they are procuring new technology opportunities to enhance their strategies.
Take a situation that a programmer might find themselves in: their company decides to take a new initiative to adopt a new technology; the current employee might not be enabled on that new technology, but now needs to be. They can’t wait on HR for the training so they’ll go to YouTube, Stack Overflow and other popular sites to learn what they need. In that scenario, instead of fighting the existing solution, organizations can leverage platforms such as YouTube while planning a more holistic approach.
They can even utilize the content existing on those sites and integrate it into their learning programs to better fill out their libraries thereby relieving some of the time of the internal content creators.
Leveraging YouTube for shifting organizational needs can be very powerful. It can help an organization prepare itself to shift its strategy in a shorter time than might be previously have been expected or possible.
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A global classroom
Part of YouTube’s appeal is the access to resources from around the world. What could be better than learning how to watercolor from an artist who’s studying in the south of France or learning new lines of code from a developer in San Francisco?
YouTube’s ability to offer content on a global scale allows for greater mindshare and fosters a collaborative learning environment. To align, L&D teams should assess how they can scale their learning resources to ensure new ideas and methods are continually incorporated.
Providing a learning platform that allows for easy contributions of user-generated content can foster a stronger sense of ownership by employees to learning and development. That way, they’ll be empowered to not only contribute their knowledge but be more inclined to utilize the platform because they know there will be both relevant and enjoyable content to assist them in their day-to-day work. Instead of easily searching for how to watercolor, they will be able to search for how to more efficiently perform one of their daily routines while being provided with content that is interesting and engaging.
Partnering with customers or partners on learning resources introduces the workforce to new ideas or tactics that might not otherwise come across. It can also allow for global teams to work more closely, improving productivity and efficiency.
Dismantling top-down learning
At the end of the day, YouTube is a social platform, providing a voice for those who want to teach and a forum for those who want to discuss the validity of different practices.
While its new investment will help to ensure the educational videos come from a field expert, it still breaks from the traditional format of top-down learning by allowing experts with different levels of experience to offer their insight.
This is great news for L&D teams who desire to take a more social approach to their learning strategies. What are steps L&D can take today to be better prepared and ready to embrace tomorrow?
- Instead of creating a sterile teacher-student format for learning resources, businesses need to provide a space for employees to share knowledge, provide feedback and maybe even share a YouTube video to clarify how to use new tools.
- Investing in e-learning platforms that allow employees to leverage message boards or even leave comments on trainings helps to empower a more collaborative learning process.
Ensuring the right technology is in place is paramount to future success. Find a learning platform that is actively embedding artificial intelligence into the fabric of its product. Start collecting important data today so your content is even more relevant tomorrow, and provide a user experience that is as good or even better than the consumer technology your employees are already using.