What is crowdsourcing?
In the context of training and development, crowdsourcing is the leveraging the knowledge of a number of people outside the organization to help in the design and development of the training curriculum. Before the internet, people had to be physically in one place to be together. Now, it is possible for us to be together in the online space. Thus, the internet has created a virtual medium which allows us to be virtually connected or to be at one place even when we physically aren’t. Crowdsourcing capitalizes on this basic functionality of the internet so beautifully to tap into the knowledge and experience at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred otherwise. For example, instead of hiring dedicated photographers for images on their company websites, organizations use the skills of passionate photographers who may sell them at a price. That is how crowdsourcing works.
Why use crowdsourcing?
Organizations can benefit from crowdsourcing at two levels:
To outline the goal of a learning program
As a manager or executive of a national apparel brand (say), you may know that there are issues that need to be fixed, but don’t know how or where to start from. To use crowdsourcing in this case, you can evoke responses from the entire store personnel community throughout your country, identify the most common issues they face and recommend the necessary training program they need. You can also tap into your customers’ experience to identify any common issue that may be resulting in poor sales. Again, you can initiate a training program based on the insights you get.
To design the learning program
Instructional design is a complicated task, and not all organizations may have thesubject-matter experts, besides human resources from the fields of psychology, learning science, education, curricular design, computer science, and others. In such a case, crowdsourcing is a blessing. At a fraction of the cost, you can assemble a virtual team online that collaborates to create training content that delivers everything you need, while also taking care of cognition load as well as the various design elements like graphics, images, videos and audio.
For organizations with an established training department, adopting or integrating crowdsourcing with the existing scheme of things may be challenging, but for start-ups and new ventures looking to define their training goals, it is a win-win solution. In either of the cases, diversified content and significant cost savings will make you think about it seriously.
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