How to identify and fill gaps in your learning content

By BestAtDigital & Filtered

4 minute read

There is another way to address your organisation’s learning needs apart from buying or building content (and it’s not ‘do nothing’).

The best way to ensure that your content libraries are delivering value is to align your organisation’s critical skills to your content.

This step-by-step guide will outline how to find the gaps in your content so that you can address these gaps in a targeted way.

1. Decide on your priority skills

Review business needs and note down all of the resulting themes to address those needs. Then, agree on the criteria for prioritising from this longlist. 

We recommend doing this based off two areas, company strategy and bottom-up level data.

Company strategy 

What are the biggest pain points for the business? What does your organisation want to achieve in the next 5 years? It’s imperative to sit down with stakeholders and understand their vision.

Bottom-up level data

This is data generated by users. For example, in GSK's business skills framework, this included LXP and skills database, usage data, LinkedIn Learning usage data and a survey.

It's best to do this step as part of a larger Prioritise Needs session with the right people to ensure your learning content strategy aligns with business objectives.

2. Define skills with your unique definitions

Don’t rely on Google or Wikipedia to define the skills that matter to your organisation.

Jevian Fernandez, Customer Success Executive, suggests defining skills with more context and refining the definitions from the learner’s perspective.

Additionally, grouping your skills under larger competencies or themes is best for analysis, so one skill’s definition doesn’t cause bias.

3. Take stock of your content metadata

First, a refresher:

Metadata is data that describes other data. In the context of learning content, it’s additional information about your learning content like title, description, keywords, length, publication date, etc.

Metadata enables the cataloguing of your learning content for discovery. If your learning content metadata is incomplete, then the content is unfindable.

Map and coordinate overall content visibility and governance

Senior Customer Success Manager, James Martin, says that it’s vital to understand the usage and accessibility of your content:

“You first need to know what content your organisation has access to, purchased or otherwise, who within the organisation has access to each of those libraries, and how that content is implemented within your org.

Once you know that, then you can go about extracting that content and seeing what metadata is available in it.”

Export the metadata

For external content, you’ll need to get in touch with your content vendors and ask for a report.

For owned content, you may be able to export a report yourself. Otherwise, you’ll have to work with your IT team that manages the learning content storage.

What metadata do you need?

To ensure your learning content is discoverable, you would need title, description, duration/length, language, and format/modality at a minimum.

Having more metadata is beneficial for all parties involved. For your learners, it makes the learning content more accessible. For curators, it reduces their workflow by making the most relevant content available to help build playlists.

The difficulty with metadata is its inconsistency.

Metadata is provided from its source, but content vendors have different terminology.

Sometimes, a video embedded in a course is categorised as a video, and another provider might call it a course.

The three most common states you will find metadata in are:

  • Missing - the learning content is simply not tagged at all. This is often the case with proprietary or owned content.
  • Incomplete - you may find that only a small portion of the titles may have duration tags.
  • Inconsistent - even if all of your learning content’s metadata is tagged, you’ll find that the language used by vendors isn’t consistent.

Auditing metadata with Filtered

Filtered starts the tagging process from scratch instead of building on top of inconsistent metadata from various sources.

We do this to ensure that any analysis we perform produces insights that are directly relevant to an organisation’s skills taxonomy.

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4. Roll the analysis into a summary to uncover the gaps

There are two ways to do this: Manually; or with an AI-assisted Content Intelligence platform.

Rolling up the analysis manually

Get the metadata for each provider, including any internally produced content, and map the tags with your skills taxonomy.

The problem with this method is that it is convoluted and time-intensive. The less metadata available, the more time is needed to assess the relevance and quality of each learning asset.

Our experts estimate that effectively analysing seven content libraries without Content Intelligence can take upwards of nine months.

Additionally, you would have to be prepared to have a loss of fidelity.

In the end, you might be able to produce a heatmap that reveals content gaps, but it will take a lot of work and may not be as accurate as you need it to be.

Roll up your analysis with Filtered

We disregard the inconsistent tags from sources and start from our customer’s skills taxonomy. From there, we can align key skills to the content instead of the other way around. 

With this method, Ericsson were able to achieve 79% skills tagging accuracy at scale. Filtered retrieved content assets, and human experts configured the skills to iteratively retrieve more accurate results.

5. Address the gaps

So once any gaps have been found, what comes next?

It’s important not to immediately starting plugging holes with yet more content when you’ve just been through such a valuable exercise of aligning what you have to your crucial skills.

A more sensible approach is to start thinking of your organisation’s learning needs not in terms of knowledge but in terms of behaviours.  

Apply behavioural science  

Many traditional learning approaches take the approach that delivering knowledge is the answer to getting people to do things differently. But it’s not. Humans don’t work like that. Humans often look for shortcuts, find excuses, can’t be bothered or do what everyone else does.

Before designing any learning interventions, it’s important to look at the other influences on the behaviour of the audience: for example, what will motivate them, what barriers might they face, who do they usually listen to, how will they connect to the topic?

Doing this can help us ensure we design truly targeted learning interventions – and more often than not, it will save time and budget that does not end up wasted on materials you thought you might need.  

About BAD

BAD = BestAtDigital 

BAD = Behaviours and Design 

Based in Brighton UK, BAD is an independent behavioural design agency that produces large-scale, global digital programmes for clients as varied as Nissan, Virgin Atlantic, Bupa, Vodafone and HSBC, often reaching hundreds of thousands of users across the world in a variety of languages. 

Their team of experienced Designers, Writers and Developers do not only bring this expertise to the table on every project. They are also supported by the knowledge and insights of their in-house Behavioural Insights Team, made up of psychologists specialising in behavioural science. 

Get in touch if you want to hear more about how we create an effective digital experience using behavioural science.

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