We've all got that one friend who has amazing taste in music. No matter the mood, event or genre, they can put together a playlist that wows the crowd. And thanks to digital services like Spotify and Apple Music, it's now easier than ever to peruse, consume and share playlists created by everyone from expert curators to your friends. The rise of playlists has not only revolutionized the music industry, it's changing the way we approach learning now, too.
But discovering, organizing and sharing learning content isn't necessarily as easy as it is with digital song files. Learning content can come from a variety of sources and in different formats. Electronic documents such as PDFs can be saved in folders, web pages can be bookmarked and learning management system (LMS) content can be categorized and added to learning paths. But curating this library of learning involves more than simply listing new resources as they become available.
Luckily, it's not difficult to organize and optimize your learning systems and programs. All it takes are the right tools and a little thought.
It's easy to bundle your learning content into playlists, also known as collections, if you have the right tools. Depending on your needs, you can rely on applications like Pocket or Evernote to organize and curate your learning content but, often, these systems just aren't built for ongoing learning and performance programs. Smaller apps aren't scalable so they're not as useful to the HR team within a large - and growing - organization.
But if you're lucky, your organization's talent management suite will have this functionality built right in. Those content collections can be shared with the rest of the organization in exactly the same way you might make music or video playlists available to the public or your friends on a streaming service, giving you the chance to be the one who wows the crowd - from a learning perspective.
Not quite sure what it takes to become an in-demand, learning content DJ? We've got you covered. Here's what this concept looks like in action:
Learning collections in action
Setting a development goal
Aaron is a middle manager who is somewhat new to his role and has a good rapport with his direct reports. He wants to improve his leadership skills by taking advantage of the learning tools and programs available to him. His big-picture goal is to grow within his organization so he's always looking for development opportunities. To reach his goals, Aaron knows that he'll need to keep progressing until he's the best leader he's capable of becoming. So he's motivated!
Aaron decides to make this learning effort one of his goals for the next quarter. He discusses the idea with his own manager during one of their 1:1 meetings, who makes a note to follow up on his learning efforts in their future check-ins. Aaron's manager immediately adds a note directly to the meeting agenda:
In Saba Cloud's check-in tool for facilitating 1:1 meetings, managers can add "notes" about what to discuss in upcoming check-ins.
Assembling and consuming the learning content collection
Aaron first turns to his organization's LMS. He's lucky: the Learning and Development (L&D) team has a strong library of reference materials and online courses, and he finds a few resources that will help him get closer to achieving his goal.
But Aaron doesn't stop there. He also turns to some established management publications to find articles, eBooks and other resources. He tracks down some episodes of a podcast that covers management styles, and some videos created by industry thought leaders. For example, he found an inspiring TED Talk video about how great leaders motivate, and he saved it to his learning collection using the Saba Discovery bookmarklet.
The Saba Discovery tool can mark what learning you've consumed outside the LMS, save that content for later, add it straight to a collection or even share it with a colleague.
Once he has gathered all these resources, he bundles them together in a collection in his LMS and names it, "Becoming a Better Manager."
Saba Cloud allows users to create learning collections to organize their own learning paths, as well as put these learning "playlists" into the LMS for sharing with individuals, groups or the entire organization.
Applying learning and closing the loop
It's one thing to consume all this learning content but it's also critical to put it into practice and show positive outcomes. After all, as we well know, the objective of learning is not simply accumulating knowledge. Just as you wouldn't curate a music playlist and then never turn on your speakers, the logical next step is to apply that knowledge to improve performance and business outcomes.
Aaron puts the things he's learned into action: he modifies his approach to 1:1 meetings with his direct reports by adopting a new agenda format from an eBook. He changes the way he frames the motivation behind certain tasks for his employees based on the TED Talk he watched.
His hope: some kind of measurable outcome. He may see improved Pulse 360 survey scores from the members of his team. He may also start to receive positive feedback or impressions from his direct reports or even positive observations from his leader, as seen in the example below.
Saba Cloud allows you to send bits of feedback, or "Impressions." These will automatically appear in Aaron's next check-in with his manager, helping him close the loop on his development plan.
Collections impact the whole organization
Here's where we turn up the volume and learning collections get really powerful. All of Aaron's learning materials, sourced both from the web and his organization's LMS, were recorded and curated into his own personal playlist. Now, other people in the organization can benefit, too. This once-individualized development plan, which has helped Aaron to make progress on his goals, can be shared with other employees with similar goals.
How does it reach everyone else? Well, this could happen in a few different ways.
Shared by the creator
Just like friends who develop a similar taste in music, in all likelihood, Aaron has colleagues who are also interested in improving their leadership skills. Whether it's a fellow leader looking to take things up a notch or one of Aaron's own direct reports looking to make a career move, he can share his collection with them.
Any good LMS will allow for discovery of great content. When Aaron creates his collection, he has the option to make it available to certain individuals, certain groups or the whole organization. He can tag it with keywords and/or categories to make it easily discoverable for anyone else looking to improve their leadership skills.
Learning leaders take notice
The organization's L&D team has access to analytics about learning collections. They can see which ones are most frequently consumed, are the highest-rated, which employees are contributing the most content and much more. They can even cross-reference analytics to see if any collections were part of successful development plans. They can use this information to help duplicate Aaron's success with others in the organization.
Saba Cloud offers advanced analytics capabilities to find patterns of success with various pieces of learning content or learning content collections.
Harness the power of learning collections
Learning collections are a very powerful concept with numerous applications extending far beyond the one example we've shared above. With the right content and a carefully curated "playlist," you'll be ready to rock in no time!
If you're interested in finding out how you can apply this technique in your organization, how about checking it out for yourself? Contact us to see how we can help get your learning strategy started. Soon, it'll be like music to your ears.