Every organization will have different guidelines and ideas when it comes to adding user-generated content to their learning management system. The addition of UGC, as it is known in the industry, is a great way to get employees engaged and collaborating on the things that they are learning. However, like everything, you need to have a plan in place to regulate what kind of content people create and share. Otherwise, you could have someone posting a training on a topic that they know nothing about, sharing articles that only lead to further misinformation.
The best thing any organization can do is to come up with a strategy for curating and monitoring user-generated content. That should be a part of the overall UGC process and policies that are set forth, and that starts by creating said policies about what content is shared and created in the LMS.
Step One: Create Content Policies
The best way to curb the risk of people posting unapproved content is to have strict content policies in place from the start. Make sure that you have policies about what people can and can’t share, how information should be shared, and so forth. Then, make this a document that people have to agree to as a part of their onboarding and before they can use the LMS for any training.
Content policies can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. You can give people freer reign if it seems like they can handle it, or you can put more protocols and rules in place if you work in an industry with more regulatory oversight—it is your policy to create. Create what works.
Step Two: Launch Initiatives for Engagement
The next thing organizations must do, once they’ve given people permission to contribute, is to encourage those contributions. Some employees will contribute content just because they can. Others need to be incentivized to do so. Therefore, you might want to consider a reward program or incentive plan that gets people to engage and share content on the LMS. You can even make it a part of their training—that they’re so well-versed on a topic they can share information with the team in a different format.
Whatever the initiatives, make sure that they get people’s interest. Gamification is popular, but you don’t have to turn everything into a game if you’re tired of this trend. There are plenty of other ways to encourage people to get in on the UGC for your learning management system.
Step Three: Assign Moderators
Organizations can’t afford to micro-manage message boards, forums, and other user-generated content archives. It’s going to be a lot of work for someone, and that someone should be assigned as a moderator specifically for the LMS user-generated content. They should be trained on the best practices and taught how to handle conflicts or misinformation so that the corrections can be made promptly and the risk of poor content even getting submitted can be reduced significantly.
Find employees that are engaged and that can handle the task of managing the rest of the content. They might be managers or leaders, but they might even just be regular employees who have a personal interest in helping grow the UGC within the organization.
Step Four: Use CAPTCHA and Other Tools to Prevent Spam
In the event that you don’t trust the security of your LMS or just want to double-check that the information is coming from a value-added source, you can use CAPTCHA verification and other tools to ensure that no one can post unless they can verify that they’re a person who is capable of and permitted to share content.
Most organizations are working on secure servers and they have their LMS setup in such a way that it can only be accessed by authorized users. Still, however, that might not mean that the company just wants anyone to be posting content in the LMS. That could be reserved for certain people or positions, and in that case, CAPTCHA and other tools can come in handy to help automate moderation of who’s posting what and when.
Realize There’s a Learning Curve
For organizations that are just getting started, figuring out how to incorporate user-generated content in the LMS without creating a free-for-all can seem like an uphill battle. However, the first step comes in learning about the pros and cons of this feature, as well as how it can benefit the organization, so that the organizational leaders can make the right moves. Curating and regulating an LMS that contains both company-supplied training materials and user-generated content takes time and attention, but it’s not an impossible task.
And when it is done well, employees will benefit because they will be collaborating with and learning from (or teaching) their peers. They will gain much more knowledge and insight than they would from some formal training program because it’s easier for them to listen to someone else that’s on their level. It also takes care of the importance of making employees feel like people and not production resources.
Humanizing Brands Through UGC and More
User-generated media is becoming a big part of marketing, onboarding, and the business world in general. The Internet is making it easier for everyone to connect in a way that works for them, and for companies to take on a much more “human” persona than ever before. It’s about humanizing brands, but it’s also about humanizing the people behind those brands. That’s what makes user-generated content so successful.
When companies put UGC into their learning management system, they are putting the learning and training right into the hands of their employees. This helps give them ownership and encourages accountability, which in turn creates the likelihood of more user-generated content in the future. Plus, if users are creating content, the organization won’t have to invest money in training modules and learning resources on those topics, which can make learning and development much more affordable for all.
Take advantage of online learning and the right LMS platform to start having greater production and an overall increase in the quality of your organization.