For LMS geeks like me, recent releases of SuccessFactors Learning have been like a quarterly birthday gift.
One fascinating new goodie, introduced with the August 2014 (1408) release, is QuickGuides. It is not too grand to state that QuickGuides represent a completely new direction in SF Learning functionality.
SuccessFactors markets QuickGuides as follows:
“QuickGuides are a new way for users to share their knowledge. Using the SuccessFactors Human Capital Management (HCM) mobile application, users can take pictures of task steps, write instructional text, and publish the information as a QuickGuide to their catalog for others to see. QuickGuides are not a substitute for more formal learning like documents or courses. Instead, they support more formal knowledge with “insider” knowledge from your users.”
Like all good functionality, QuickGuides are simple in execution. They entail a series of images, each corresponding to a step in a process (30 steps maximum), with instructional text for each step (180 characters maximum per step). Ability to format text is minimal. Just the facts, ma’am.
Users who have permission to author QuickGuides can create and share them with other users who have access to the same Catalog(s) they do in SF Learning – assuming those Catalog(s) are enabled for “User generated content”.
Alongside Task Checklists, and unique among SF Learning functionality, QuickGuides seem to be created with Mobile in mind. In an age where we can show our friends on Facebook what we just ate for dinner, why not harness the power of a smartphone as an educational tool?
Clearly there are both inherent opportunities and challenges with QuickGuides. The pessimistic viewpoint, first:
1) Segregating the population of users who should have permission to author QuickGuides from those who should not will require creation and ongoing assignment of a secondary user role. Not a difficult hurdle, but another layer of administration.
2) Consider the difficulty of governing standards for QuickGuide authoring in a diverse base of authors. Perhaps I am being stuffy here, and too many rules goes against the underlying philosophy of QuickGuides. Call me old-school; I like consistency and standards. The key here will be finding a workable middle-ground.
3) QuickGuides aren’t true training. User-level completions cannot be reported on, at least as of the 1411 release. There is no way to attach a survey or an exam to one. Measuring ROI will be difficult, if not impossible.
All caveats aside: in a perfect world, distributing the responsibility for training on certain types of topics could free up Instructional Designers for higher-priority initiatives, and promote a dynamic, knowledge-sharing culture.
So what type of organization would benefit most from a “QuickGuide Community”? Clearly, those which have a self-directed employee philosophy. Those where employees need the ability to share “just in time” training on key processes or to help orient their peers to fluid situations. Organizations, perhaps, who are not afraid to experiment and put some control of training into their employees’ hands.
Time will tell if this novel new functionality catches on. But consider me a fan of this unexpected gift.
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