User-generated content (UGC) is trending in eLearning because of the value it can add to an employees’ LMS training experiences. Understanding what user-generated content is, the benefits it offers,, and how to safely integrate it with your learning management system will help you improve remote training and get a better ROI for your training.
What is user-generated content?
For businesses that use an L&D platform, the term “user-generated content” refers to any content that employees can create and upload into an eLearning LMS. UGC is created by learners as opposed to the in-house L&D team or third-party vendors that supply off-the-shelf eLearning content. This type of content can easily be uploaded to most learning management systems and other L&D platforms.
“If a sales associate were to receive training on how to pitch a product, they could record themself performing a pretend pitch and then upload the video into the L&D platform. They would receive helpful feedback from their peers. A customer service representative learning how to handle troubled customers could follow the exact same protocol to create user-generated content.”
Keep in mind that UGC doesn’t always have to be this time-consuming. A question on a forum posed by a learner is also user-generated content that promotes knowledge sharing and improves the user experience.
Related Reading: How to Design Engaging eLearning Content
The benefits of user-generated content
Does your workforce use an eLearning LMS? If so, it’s time to enable users to generate content for the LMS.
- UGC is a type of informal learning that tends to promote more fulfilling learning experiences and better collaboration between peers. For many people, informal learning is more fun than structured learning. This results in an increased number of learners logging into their company’s LMS to participate in training.
- When learners create content, they are taking a much more active role in their learning process, which could increase engagement with LMS training. They are also adding value to their peers’ learning experiences.
- Remote training can be isolating and disengaging, but user-generated content can help.. By getting learners more engaged in training and interacting with their co-learners via user-generated content, L&D platform administrators may offset or eliminate some of the negative effects of remote training (i.e., disengagement and feelings of isolation).
More and more, companies are allowing employees to generate and upload content into an eLearning LMS System to realize these benefits. In late 2015, Gartner predicted that at least 80 percent of organizations would be integrating user-generated learning content into their corporate learning strategy the following year.1
It is difficult to say exactly how many companies are using UGC today. It’s likely more than 80 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic may be driving an increased usage of user-generated content in corporate learning strategies.
UGC could be trending in 2021 due to employees’ long-term use of remote training
Cooper said user-generated content will be a major eLearning trend this year. He explained,
“There is an increasing reliance on user-generated and curated content, peer review, and coaching. We will see the eLearning trend of user-generated content gain ground in 2021.”
The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4CP) indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is driving UGC in corporate learning. Last year, i4PC cited a study where various companies were questioned about their usage of user-generated content. Forty-six percent of those that were surveyed claimed their organization was either leveraging user-generated learning content more often or making plans to do so “as work has largely shifted to home offices.”2 i4PC listed some other findings from the survey:
- Twenty-nine percent of organizations said they already encourage user-generated learning content.
- Fifteen percent of organizations said they attempt to encourage UGC but have had trouble with implementing it in the past.
- Thirty percent of organizations said UGC is highly or very highly effective.
While there may be aspects of remote training that employees really enjoy, everyone needs social interaction, and most people get that from their workplace. At least 25 percent of Americans will be working remotely throughout this year, per Upwork,3 and their social needs may go unmet. Upwork also reported that the percentage of Americans working from home will fall by a mere three percent in the next four years.
A great number of the individuals that have had to work and learn from home are probably yearning for interaction of some sort with their peers. Generating learning content and using it as a collaboration point may provide them with some of the interaction they need.
Whatever the reason for the current UGG eLearning trend, companies should prepare for and accommodate it by providing employees with an online learning platform to upload content to.
How to safely apply UGC to your eLearning LMS
Some LMS administrators are hesitant to encourage user-generated content. This is understandable when you consider that the content isn’t created by professionals, but learners. This shouldn't stop organizations from allowing users to generate corporate learning content. They can use their eLearning LMS to control the content and guide the learner experience. Cooper stated,
“TOPYX customers can use the ‘communities’ function to both enable and set boundaries around user-generated content. Communities are often based on specific groups of users that have a shared job role, course, or program.”
LMS platform controls enable administrators to moderate online communities, which are an important aspect of an LMS’s social learning feature. Based on system administrators’ preferences, users may only be allowed to upload content as an assignment. In this case, the content would be seen by the instructor only.
A key aspect of fostering safe application of UGC is creating clear guidelines for this practice. Most LMS users have been creating user-generated content for years, but they have been applying it to social media platforms. They will need a list of guidelines for creating user-generated content in a professional context.
L&D team members should mold guidelines/best practices for UGC to the unique needs of the company. These guidelines could be enforced by taking the privilege of generating and sharing content away from learners who don’t observe them, for a set period of time.
Although enabling user-generated content is somewhat of a risk, it is a risk worth taking. A contributor to ATD4 wrote,
“In a corporate world where managers rightly prize a culture of learning, offering user-generated learning content is an excellent way of meeting learners where they are and encouraging active skills and knowledge sharing. Whether you’re about to launch a concerted social learning strategy or are looking to increase your level of quality user-generated content, this is one learning approach that paves the way to L&D success.”
Since administrators can prevent inappropriate or unhelpful UGC from being shared by using eLearning LMS controls, companies shouldn’t shy away from encouraging user-generated content.
TOPYX LMS can host UGC and provide the controls needed to shape the UX of learners
With an LMS, employees can generate and share learning content with one another without using social media apps. Administrators can ensure user-generated content is high-quality, inoffensive, and beneficial. Companies can also reap the benefits listed earlier, such as increased engagement with remote training, by integrating user-generated content into their eLearning LMS.
Interested in launching an L&D platform that hosts user-generated content and provides the controls your administrators need to shape the user experience and improve remote training? Request an LMS demo of TOPYX learning management system today.