Teach People to Find Things

When I started my career in learning and development, the biggest problem we had was content. We spent a great deal of time, money, and resources on defining and building content. I'm not sure when the change occurred (something in the last 10 years or so), the battle changed. Between what is available on the internet and many others sources mean that content is plentiful. Just having LinkedIn Learning alone gets you access to over 10,000 courses.

The issue that I see more and more organizations facing is helping people FIND content that exists. There is so much content that people don't know where to find it or where to start. When faced with so much content and so much confusion, most people just stop.

One solution is to create paths - if you want to build your skills in X, then complete these 5 learning elements. This can be effective, but it tends to be too much. We try to include everything for every situation and then the path gets bloated and less than helpful. I may not need all 5 elements, but only 3 of them apply to me.

The better solution is to make things easy to find, then teach people how to find them. This is much harder than it sounds simply because of the sheer volume of content. Add in the different ways people think and talk about skills, and it makes finding them very difficult. I often go to websites looking for something specific and can't find it - because people are trying to be too general and appeal to everyone.

Here are my suggestions for any content you create:

  1. Be clear on who it is for (not necessarily a job title, but people who complete a certain task).

  2. Make the content focus on 1 key thing. The more direct the focus, the better.

  3. Describe exactly what the focus is.

  4. Try to describe what the person can do or will know when they complete the content.