Many companies rely on their own staffs for training their fellow employees. In the traditional sense, this typically involves a designated trainer or trainers who are tasked with formal training, or it could involve the use of internal subject matter experts (SMEs) for one-off or ad hoc training on topics that represent their specific areas of expertise. But, in an increasingly interconnected workplace, technology allows more creative and efficient avenues for training. Here we’ll look at the potential for crowdsourcing training material from the organization at large, not just from subject matter experts or designated trainers.
In order to generate sufficient input from your crowd—in this case your workforce— it’s important that your workforce is engaged. This means they are interested in their work, willing to put in some discretionary effort to help answer questions and interested in helping out their coworkers—many of whom they may have never met and may never meet—and the organization as a whole.
Some readers may feel like crowdsourcing training risks putting out a lot of “garbage” content or counterproductive or simply incorrect content. After all, not all of your employees are doing their jobs perfectly, so why should you have them collectively training others? This risk is easy to mitigate, however. As Paul Tobin writes for Logic Bay, “you can’t control the crowd, but you can control the content.” In other words, the crowd provides the raw material, and the organization molds it into coherent training material and discards less valuable content or input.
The Importance of the Platform
The final element of effective crowdsourcing in a learning environment—an effective platform. Anyone looking to crowdsource training should acquire or internally develop a platform that allows easy submission of content from the crowd as well as efficient content management and ease of access from those seeking information from the crowd.
Improved technology continues to allow greater connectedness and efficiency within organizations. The potential for various business functions is immense, and training is no different.