Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Big Question - Open Content in Workplace Learning

This month's Big Question is "how do we leverage open content in workplace learning?" To learn more about about some of opportunities available in open content, I visited the sites listed on the Big Question post. These were OER Commons and Open Courseware Consortium. For the first time, I perused these sites. A bit embarrassed that I have not visited these sites before, but it is never too late to find new learning opportunities. My first impression was that these are very heavy on the academic end. They certainly have many opportunities for learning and development. In fact, I found a course on e-learning accessibility, an interest of mine.

So, back to the Big Question. I am confident there are corporate trainers creating the same training content as their brethren. Wouldn't it be great to upload those software sims, leadership or sales courses, etc. somewhere that other companies' staff can access them. And in return, I don't need to create those ______ software sims because XYZ, Inc. made their sims available to my staff. Oh, how great would that be?

Sorry to piss on the parade, but here are the challenges that pop into my mind that make sharing corporate training difficult:

  • Most corporate training is designed specifically to the company's audience. For example, the training probably includes policies and procedures as they pertain to internal staff.

  • Much of the content is proprietary information not to be shared externally.

  • Often quality training is seen as one of the things that "gives us the  edge" over the competitor, why just hand it over?

  • "Do we have to talk to legal about whether we can do this?" Will they find a potential liability?

Would I like to leverage open content in the workplace? Yes. Something I will do is to keep an eye out not only for open content that will benefit my company, but also what am I producing that can be used as open content. Of course, anything shared as open content has to overcome the fore-mentioned hurdles.


  1. I'm not claiming any great insight here, but it's curious that you found some interesting content for yourself, but then you say - probably doesn't make sense to expose this to a workplace?

  2. To clarify, I did not say we should not expose open content to the workplace. In fact there is very valuable opportunities for all staff on these sites.

    What I was trying to say is there are challanges for corp. training departments to share content, which is why so much of the open content is coming from academia.



  3. I agree on the corporate side not wanting to share. Individual people are always willing to do so, but since what they create is owned by the company ... things get sticky.

    Two ways I see it working for corporate content - small chunks and independent trainers. It's easier to jump the hurdles to share things like graphics or lists or outlines than an entire course, so there could be room for objects being shared rather than courses. (Oooo, the resuable learning object lives!) And for independent trainers or even freelance content creators, a place to share courses gives them a more quality way to get exposure than, oh a white paper say. Free wares sampling is a proven winner in marketing in a crowded field.

    (Both the examples given were definitely geared toward academia in the way they've structured their collections. Can corporate and academic content exist together or does there need to be a separate space for open content for corporate settings? Hmmm.)

  4. Susan,

    I think your idea of sharing "chunks" is fantastic. I can definitely can see corporate training departments participating at that level. And easing into sharing at a more in depth level once they become comfortable with the concept.

    Thank you for the inspiring comments.



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