Democratize the Experience, Don’t Teach from the Top-Down

Today, more and more companies recognize the importance of engaging team learning. But a logical question often is, “what should that learning look like?”

This series of blogs spells things out pretty clearly: do this when building team learning, and don’t do that. These best (and worst) practices provide a framework for effective and engaging learning that increases employee productivity and confidence.

Do This: Democratize the learning experience

One of the fastest-growing trends in employee learning is democratizing—or crowdsourcing—company learning materials. According to eYeka’s 2016 Crowdsourcing Report, 85% of top-branded companies around the world have used crowdsourcing in the last 10 years.

Think about it: No one knows which training material is essential better than the employee in that role. Peer learning, democratized learning, and crowdsourced learning are a few of the many names for this practice, defined by professors David Boud, Ruth Cohen, and Jane Sampson in their book Peer Learning:

The term peer learning… suggests a two-way, reciprocal learning activity. Peer learning should be mutually beneficial and involve the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and experience between the participants.

At its core, democratizing learning taps into the knowledge a team already possesses, in order to build the materials it needs for training and learning. Building learning materials with the help of employees who know those processes best makes for superior learning materials that are easier for new team members to digest.

The process of democratizing learning can feel like a big task, but the right plan ensures that every employee with relevant knowledge is heard. Lessonly’s Definitive Guide to Democratized Learning takes a step-by-step approach to the planning process. Step one? Decide what you’re crowdsourcing. Are you looking for suggestions for your new hire onboarding process? Or maybe content on how to improve your sales team’s efficiency? The possibilities are endless, but you need to nail down a specific question or problem before you go any further.

With the proper planning and steps, employees get to have their say in what’s important in the company. When their voices are heard, both productivity and buy-in increase.

Not That: Don’t teach from the top-down

Avoid top-down teaching when building learning material. If new employees need to review documents or go through a training process, the outcome should be worth the effort. Employers who rely on off-the-shelf content to onboard and train their employees often cover subjects employees already know. These employers end up paying for the off-the-shelf content with the extra time it takes to get new hires up-to-speed. Studying material that they already know isn’t a good use of employee’s time either. However, if an onboarding plan includes Lessons created by existing employees and curated by managers, it will undoubtedly be more focused and worthwhile.

Democratize your team learning with Lessonly

Forward-thinking companies around the world use Lessonly to build effective learning programs that have tangible business outcomes. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of our team learning software and see how it works. Sign up today.

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