Q: What do you get when you bring 12 L&D thought-leaders together to discuss content chaos?
- Where are you going with this?
- Thanks for asking, I’d love to tell you.
I bought an enormous book of various worldly creatures to read to my daughter at bedtime a few months ago. Her obsession quickly landed on the honeybee. As you would imagine, reading the same blurb on repeat is mind numbing. I did what any other parent in my situation would do, I turned to Google to gain knowledge and add some colour commentary to storytime.
My brain was “buzzing” when Filtered decided to host a Content Intelligence Summit bringing together a healthy mix of external learning thought-leaders and members from our own team. Then as we were planning the event and crystalised the objective of the event, I started to see a connection between our summit and my newly acquired bee knowledge.
Let’s start with some bee backstory…
The honeybee pollinates three-fourths of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that we eat. One healthy hive will make and consume more than 50 kg of honey in a single year. Honey is made from nectar found deep within flowers. One single bee might have to drink from more than a thousand flowers before heading back home. Once back at the hive, the bees relay the nectar to one another and place it within the comb. Finally capping it with beeswax so the nectar can complete its transformation into honey.
Forager bees are extra special because they communicate with the other bees. They have a specific way of signalling to other bees on where to find more nectar, therefore creating efficiency in gathering.
To make one pound of honey, it takes tens of thousands of foraging bees flying more than three times around the world and visiting up to eight million flowers! It requires a lot of bee teamwork to make all that sweet golden goo.
From nectar to honey
Think of our Content Intelligence as honey. And the nectar to produce that honey would be deeply understanding the biggest challenges with learning content. I see the group we hosted being the forager bees. They are out there buzzing about the learning world gathering information from content strategists/curators, pollinating necessary relationships outside of L&D in order to make their organisations thrive, then signalling to us where there is more nectar. Our bees back in the Filtered hive take all that the foragers have brought in from the fields and make the best honey possible with it.
Content Intelligence is the product of taking learning content that is within your LXP/LMS, like nectar within a flower, and transforming it into something much more valuable.
Curious to know what the buzz was from our industry thought-leaders? Here are a few frustrations that emerged from our discussion about what is not working with learning content today.
Quantity of content doesn’t always equal quality content
“Often vendors and suppliers respond to RFPs and they fill in the gaps - often vendors aren’t being asked to demonstrate the utility of what they have. There’s something amiss in the market. We should be demanding and specific.”
- Myles Runham (MR Digital & Learning)
“Too much content, not enough time and resources to curate. Keeping content up to date and relevant.” - Jara Bardonova (CapGemini)
“You paid for it [the content library] - it’s like eating everything on the plate even though you’re full because you paid for it! People think more is better and it usually isn’t.”
- Lior Locher (NIIT Limited)
Historically speaking, L&D budgets tend to be tight and a bit expendable. We look to invest in the things that will support most of the organisation's learners and/or support the skills framework. Sometimes the sheer volume of assets in a library is impressive enough to woo us into purchasing. Other times, it is because we shy away from asking the tough questions during the discovery call with a vendor. Maybe because the likeability factor is high with the sales rep or maybe this is your first rodeo and you simply don’t know what questions you need to be asking. By not asking for the “show me” or “prove it” evidence in discovery can lead to feeling like you got sold a bill of goods once you have acquired the catalogue. The desire to maximise monies through content analysis had a lot of conversational energy for our group.
More time is spent finding learning, than actually learning
“Too much choice. How to determine value. Ease. Quality.”
- Ross Stevenson (Trainline / Steal These Thoughts!)
“Here is research that shows that circa 80% of people wouldn’t revisit a store if they couldn’t find what they were looking for. The chances are that this behaviour is the same for today’s learners-if they can’t find what they want they are highly unlikely to return.”
- Marcus Robertson (NatWest)
“Lack of clarity and awareness. [Learners] don’t know what to find, and where to find it.”
Jono Endean (Capita Digital Learning)
Being the so-called Netflix of learning is not necessarily a good thing. I recently shared the story at LPI’s Learning Live Software Showdown of a fellow mom-friend who had precisely an hour and half to watch something on Netflix. She spent that entire time looking for something to watch, frustrated she missed out on some “me time.”
A similar story may be true for numerous learners out there engaging in your LXP. How long will your learner scroll through titles, descriptions, reading user reviews before identifying the content they want to consume? How many search attempts will they make before crying ‘uncle’ and resorting to Google or YouTube to find what they are looking for? This point led to a side conversation of the missed opportunity for data and insights when learners go outside your dedicated platform.
The summit had the goal of really getting at the root of content frustrations from what our group has been hearing out in the learning world. Some of our assumptions were proven true through the course of our discussion and we also heard numerous things that got us super curious. Keeping with my bee theme, we got a lot of nectar that day for our hive!
So while we have already proven that Content Intelligence can help uncover the most relevant content, help you understand your content spend, as well as cut curation time from hours to minutes…we believe there is more opportunity to bring value. Engaging in honest, open, and lively conversations like we had during our Content Intelligence Summit will help surface those opportunities. Afterall, the hive cannot produce that golden goo without the bees that spend most of their day in the field.
We look forward to our next Content Intelligence Summit, where we focus on understanding the process of prioritising learning needs.