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Learner-Driven Content: The Next Wave in Development
An excellent example of this kind of social learning platform is the industrial and commercial dealer community at Ace Hardware. Originally started as way to connect Ace’s 300 commercial dealers, the site has been so successful that Ace decided to expand the community to include its 5,000 retail stores, as well.
Part of the reason for this can be seen in stories such as Bonnie Merkling’s. Before joining Ace, Merkling had sales experience and a plumbing background, but not much hardware experience. Through the community, however, she still was able to succeed. One time, community members helped her find an adhesive for attaching mirrors to walls, resulting in $3,000 of additional business and a repeat customer. Another time, it was pricing for mini blinds. In the latter case, Merkling shared this information with five other local stores, extending the value of the original information. Nearly all of Merkling’s initial learning came from peer-to-peer support and user-generated content via her workplace community.
Workplace communities foster these sorts of information-sharing scenarios, but they are hard to classify in terms of traditional employee development. These examples clearly are a kind of employee development that is traditionally delivered through training, yet they also improve immediate performance, which would traditionally be considered an electronic performance support system (EPSS).
On the other hand, the community now has a written and documented answer to this question, which makes it a kind of knowledge management solution. The reason none of these labels really applies is because they all do, and so do labels such as “social learning” and “adaptive learning.” Workplace communities that feature user-generated content and social networking provide a unique solution that delivers many of the same benefits as more traditional approaches, but in a more flexible, open model. Unlike training, EPSS and knowledge management approaches lock up and time-stamp knowledge into neat little packages. The result for Ace has been a dramatic increase in sales, resulting in a 500 percent ROI in fewer than six months.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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