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Former Member

Remember the last time you bought an electronic device or a kitchen appliance? I bet that instead of reading the user’s manual, the first thing you did was to grab your smartphone and search on Youtube for a step-by-step guide video on how to set it up. Am I right? Yeah, I do this all the time as well. And every time I do it, I can’t help to feel bad for the wasted paper and for the people who spend so much time and effort writing these manuals that absolutely no one is reading.

We just don’t have the patience anymore to go through a hundred-page manual. It has become much convenient for us to get on the Internet and find the information we want at the moment we want it. Here is why we prefer this kind of content in such situations:

  • Relevant. Manuals focus on general aspects of how things should work. User-generated content usually focuses on exceptions that are not covered anywhere else, hence their unique value.
  • Easy to find. Thanks to search engines, view counters and user-voting features we can easily browse through hundreds of videos and find out the best one for our situation.
  • Short and to the point. Experts say our attention decreases dramatically after two minutes and thirty seconds when watching online videos. That’s why the most popular ones focus on solving and explaining one issue at a time and as quickly as possible.
  • Trusted. Sociologists say we tend to trust other people more than institutions. Therefore, it is not a surprise that information received through user-generated content is trusted 50% more than information from other media sources. We prefer to learn from people like us who bought the same product and probably faced the same challenges we did.

However, not everything is perfect in the Internet’s content 'wild wild west'. Purists usually dismiss these videos because they are shaky, slightly out of focus or just flat out pixelated. Fair criticism, but so what? They might not be high quality but they are still very consumable and understandable. What matters for learners in these cases is utility, immediacy and content relevance, not quality.

Not surprisingly, we have quickly gotten used to this convenience. Instant gratification it is indeed. Now we expect the same experience everywhere, all the time, on whatever device we happen to be using. Even at work.

This change in learning habits is putting companies in an interesting situation when it comes to enabling, engaging and developing their employees. Remember the writer who writes instruction manuals? Yes, that would be the learning department. They are investing lots of time and resources to create compelling high-quality content. The problem is that employees are not that interested in formal training and they usually have limited time to leave their jobs or to attend in-classroom training.

What's a Chief Learning Officer supposed to do? The ones who are forward thinking are taking this challenge as an opportunity to expand and diversify their learning offerings so they can help the company become more agile. They know about the importance of learning and sharing knowledge when building a smart company and they know they need to play a critical role when facilitating this peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge. The learning department can’t afford to be the bottleneck that slows down an organization’s ability to learn. The cost would be too high for everyday business: productivity would be impacted, inefficiencies would increase and people would waste time rediscovering everything over and over again.

QuickGuides for SuccessFactors Mobile

Acknowledging this trend we are excited to bring enterprise peer-to-peer learning to our SuccessFactors customers. QuickGuides is the name of a new feature in SuccessFactors Mobile that allows employees to create, publish and consume quick how-to guides. With just one finger, users can take photos, annotate, and sort them right from their smartphone.

QuickGuides is also available on the desktop but it is on a mobile device where it really takes on another dimension. The immediacy and ubiquity of mobility allows users to create content with virtually no planning and no set up required. There is no better device to capture time-sensitive content on-the-fly than a smartphone: it fits in your pocket, it has a camera, it has a screen and has constant connectivity. The same happens when consuming content. Learning something on a laptop and applying it a few minutes later is a very different experience than on the spot learning where knowledge is applied back and forth.

Applications in the enterprise are multiple and would fit a wide range of learning practices: on-demand training, just-in-time training, performance support, etc. The industries that would benefit the most are the ones with workers away from desks or without computers and with a big need to teach perishable or infrequently used skills. Here are some examples:

  • A very experienced service technician capturing how to fix a pump that is new to the market and for which not a lot of service people have experience with.
  • A cashier clerk learning how to spot a fake $50 bill
  • A manufacturing line manager capturing how to operate a machine in the shop floor
  • A stock replenisher learning how to place a product correctly on the shelf, how to do merchandise displays, ensure tickets and pricing are correct and in place

Easy to find content. Once content is published anyone can use the search capabilities to enter a search term and discover multiple QuickGuides submitted by peers.

Connecting with Subject Matter Experts. Beyond the content itself, when you find a QuickGuide you can also look up and contact the author. This can give you the chance to ask further questions in case you want to expand on the knowledge and potentially build a mutually rewarding relationship around a specific topic area.

Having access to QuickGuides on mobile brings multiple benefits to employees. It provides users with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and in their space of their choice. They can expose themselves to a wide spectrum of topics, improving their skillset across disciplines. They can access learning right before applying the knowledge so there is no loss of retention because of a time gap, making completion more accurate. And learning content can be captured and published immediately prior to its use conserving its freshness and timeliness.

It also has benefits for the company. It provides higher learning completion rates. Learners complete more training when consuming the same content in mobile format. The format itself and its interactivity enhances employees’ learning. They spend less time in training on average without loss of comprehension. Overall it helps people make better decisions on the spot, avoiding wasting time.

Also part of the Q3 2014 Mobile Release

As you can tell, we are pretty excited about QuickGuides. But that’s not the only thing we have on deck for this quarter’s release. In addition, we have the following features coming to our mobile apps: new workforce analytics with more filters and more drill-down capabilities, time-off requests in which you can enter hours and minutes, new onboarding tiles for employees, more ‘Who’s in the meeting’ capabilities and a much requested internal security check so the app can’t be installed on jailbroken devices.

For more information and more details on the 1408 release please go to the SuccessFactors Mobile customer community and download the 1408 release notes.

Follow SuccessFactors on twitter: @successfactors