It was interesting to hear from BP’s Nick Shackleton-Jones talking at the recent Peer Awards Conference.

He was talking through the way BP is creating learning content. A big focus is on capturing short pieces of video footage, much of which is of colleagues talking about what they do and how they do it.

Nick raised an interesting issue. That when you ask people to talk about how they work they might well describe exactly that – how they do the job. That could be quite different to how the company says the job should be done.

That creates a dilemma for the learning content you present. Or does it? We humans are inventive by design. We work out how to do things as we do them, we then work out better ways of doing them. That’s what we do.

We also do things in the way that suits who we are and our preferences for how we get things done.

So, what does this mean for user generated learning content and content generated by the enterprise? Well, some understanding of the sensitivities around this for the user would be a good place to start.

Don’t put a camera in front of someone and then come back and tell them that what they said is not the company line.

Moreover, it would be better to have an appreciation of the fact that processes around jobs and tasks are constantly being shaped, reshaped by the people doping the job. If the learning content can reflect this and remain updated then two things will happen:

  1. Learners get content that is more likely to help them as it is highly relevant – it provides the ‘real way’ of doing the job.
  2. The organisation learns from its people – it gets to see how they are doing their jobs/tasks and is then in a much better position to respond with support/guidance as and when required.

Add in some social tools to enable voting up content and adding discussion and you start to have ways of creating and sharing more relevant content that helps people do their job more effectively. It also provides good content for the organisation when people leave – working on the premise that the best person to tell you how to do a job is the person actually doing it.