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I get > I give - The Sharing L&D Economy at DoceboInspire

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I get > I give - The Sharing L&D Economy at DoceboInspire

By: -
28 Sep 2017

The notion that what I get from Airbnb – a room at a steep discount to most hotels is greater than what I give – we renters are strongly encouraged to share our feedback with the Airbnb community. This simple value proposition, what I get being greater than what I give, underlies the success of many companies in the Sharing Economy. This was one of the several insights Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, shared at DoceboInspire, last week in Boston.  (This was Docebo’s first user conference and judging from reactions of the 300+ L&D professionals in attendance, certainly not the last.)

Success has been rapid at Airbnb. In four years, the company has grown to 650,000 rooms, surpassing Hilton and IHG, which have been in business for decades. Ms. Chase also mentioned BlaBlaCar, a ride-sharing firm headquartered in France. By filling empty seats, riders get between cities for about a quarter the price of a train or bus ticket, and drivers get help with their expenses, saving them cumulatively around $300 million a year. The I get > I give value prop is also viable for sharing non-physical assets – consider Wikipedia, where 30+ million users have helped create and edit nearly 5.5 million articles.  We get instant access to this vast encyclopedia, and perhaps we occasionally give an edit or a new article.

Docebo's energetic CEO Claudio Erba taking a selfie during his keynote at DoceboInspire, his company's first user conference

Earlier in the conference, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on the future of eLearning. As a learner-generated content enthusiast, I made the case that this is key aspect in the future of enterprise learning. I gave an example of subject matter expert (SME) creating a video of a process that they know well – perhaps filling out a purchase order or updating your profile in the HR system. Had our panel taken place after Ms. Chase’s talk, I would have explained the benefits in her terms: the “I get” for the workforce is that ability to get help completing the task when they are doing it. The “I give” could be simply providing some feedback on video. The “I get” for the SME is fewer interruptions and less time spent guiding colleagues through the process. The SME’s “I give” is creating and posting the video. This is just one example of how user-generated content makes the entire workforce more productive.

Several of Docebo’s customers are using its LMS, largely through its Coach and Share module, to provide a content sharing platform. I know this because my fellow analyst here at Wainhouse Research, Alan Greenberg, was one of the judges for the awards given out at the conference. He notes elsewhere that many leading L&D organizations have incorporated learner-generated content into their learning strategy and are flipping the content creation process. But none are doing this to the extent of Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecom and broadband provider. All its content comes from its employees, and they are this year’s DoceboInspire Learning Innovation Champion. Here’s Alan’s description of their strategy:

Instead of just flipping the classroom, I’d say Swisscom has flipped the entire organization.It describes its L&D Academy: a “social learning marketplace that connects employees with training content and creates learning experiences.” Let me provide another phrase here: employee-sourced edutainment.The 5,500 employees themselves designing, creating and delivering training activities. The company uses five training formats: PowerPoint, workshops, webinars, podcasts, and what it calls smovies (60-second movie shorts). Remarkably, its L&D department has no trainers and does not produce any training content, except an e-Learning module on how to create and delivery learning materials.

Before you think that it’s complete chaos and cuckoo clocks chiming all day long, the company has "Learning Stream Leads" who are placed in the line of business but who operationally report to the Head of L&D. Their role is to ensure business relevance and achieve employee acceptance.The new approach is a deliberate effort to provide a large set of curated learning paths built on contributed content from subject matter experts, while shifting away from external training content.They measure their success on content relevance and learner engagement with an added goal of reducing the external training expense by a signficiant amount this year and in coming years. This is radical, folks.Or is it?Think about this: we used to train people via apprenticeships in which they learned from the people already doing the work.

Coincidently, The Swisscom L&D group refers to its Academy as the “Airbnb of Learning and Development.” Of course, success with social learning and user generated content has its challenges.  It appears the Swisscom group has overcome some of the challenges other L&D organizations face, which we discussed on our analyst panel:

  • Time commitments – Many L&D teams are short on resources and are stretched to just keep delivering the set of training that the organization expects. Clearly a reprioritization or adding resources is necessary.
  • Alignment with business – With Learning Stream Leads placed in the business units, it appears Swisscom has solved this problem.
  • Getting employees to share – There’s no easy answer to this. We’ve seen contests, judicious and injudicious use of leaderboards and gamification, executive fiat, and other approaches.  What’s best here is to approach the problem like a significant learning challenge because you are indeed changing behavior. One key is to make sure your SMEs understand their I give > I get.
  • Overcoming fear of malicious or incorrect content – The panel agreed this was much more a perception than a real issue as no one reported seeing serious infractions.  That’s certainly been my experience in my seven years of working with social learning customers.

To the last point, Ms. Chase shared her thoughts. Yes, some drivers do damage some of the Zipcars and yes, some miscreants do deface Wikipedia pages, but you can manage these problem cases, often by eliminating their access to the shared resource. She concluded that this is right course of action because the Value of Shared Open Assets is greater than Problems with Open Assets.  This clearly is something L&D leaders should keep in mind as they implement platforms that support the sharing of expertise.

At Wainhouse Research, we are building our L&D practice and invite you to sample our research (how's that for sharing folks?). We’ve recently published a couple of research notes that discuss some of the issues in implementation of sharing or collaborative platforms for corporate learning. If you would like a complimentary copy of one of our notes,  please content Mark Gotta at [email protected]