Why Your Learning Content Should Be More Like Uber

Not so long ago, personal transportation in any city in the world looked a little something like this: You’re standing on a corner in the rain, arm outstretched, squinting down the block for a taxi. If you are lucky enough to hail a yellow cab, you still have to deal with a lot of friction along the way from Point A to Point B, whether it’s reckless driving, smelly back seats, or a struggling credit card swiper. Yet, we all put up with this as a necessary evil, until Uber’s app came along.  

Uber, Lyft, and other on-demand, app-first businesses like it are revolutionizing the way we think about transportation, with consequences well beyond just hailing a cab. In fact, a whole new class of businesses has sprung up to deliver goods and services on-demand via slick apps on our phones, from Airbnb to Instacart and many more. By focusing on creating seamless experiences on our phones and tablets, Uber and its ilk are revolutionizing how–and how fast–we get the things we need and want. Are there lessons here for your learning content?

In fact, your learning content and strategy has a lot to gain from studying the example of massively successful on-demand companies like Uber. For example: consider the yellow cab as being like a stale eLearning course, training binder or outdated PDF. While Uber builds the on-demand world through its apps, the yellow cab remains stuck in a pre-mobile era. Uber uses data and technology to facilitate and adapt to a basic human problem: getting from point A to point B safely and efficiently. Taxi fleets are only able to collect and learn from as much data as is provided from trip logs and credit card transactions.

Learning content can take a page from this model. How can our corporate learning content become more like Uber? Here are three key lessons:

Lesson 1: Your learning content must be mobile

Mobile optimization is critical to getting your content seen and understood. Uber went to where the customers were, their phones, while taxis expected customers to find them. You want each person to access your message the easiest way she knows how – from the mobile device that’s already in-hand and being used for everything from email to Uber to fitness tracking and Instagram. Transform training materials into mobile-ready content to enable point-of-need accessibility, empowering your end users with the exact information they want, exactly when they need it, and in the format they are most comfortable with.

Lesson 2: Your learning content must be on-demand

We are living inside the pages of a choose-your-own adventure consumer economy. Whether it’s the way you hitch a ride or order beauty products, the individual is finally the master of his fate, at least on a micro level. The on-demand economy is predicated on connection and to truly succeed, your learning content must work within the rules of this paradigm.

Dynamic, connected content can pivot with the needs of the user and ensure that the enclosed information is accurate and up to date. The ability to organize content for high levels of accessibility means that your learners should be able to grab what they need when they need it, without thumbing through binders or searching an overstuffed inbox or internal wiki. By making content as on-demand as ordering an Uber, you’re providing staff with the information they need to be successful at the swipe of a finger.  

Lesson 3: Your learning content must be adaptable

Engagement changes everything. The ability for companies large and small to collect and analyze more and more data, know what works and what doesn’t, and adapt is a game-changer for every sector. Collecting and analyzing information on its drivers’ and riders’ movements is how Uber gets rides to appear in the right part of town at exactly the right time, which is precisely what many people love about the ride-hailing app.

Make your materials matter by understanding how your team is using them, thereby maximizing the effectiveness of every single piece of content you disseminate. Understand which materials are being used, which aren’t, and what levels of engagement the different aspects of your training materials are receiving. The ability to update content based on data collected on end-user behavior allows for informed adaptations and maximized effectiveness.

The bottom line

What do users love about Uber? It has streamlined and personalized the experience of short distance travel – your account, your driver, your 1-5 star rating, all from your mobile device. The Uber experience has penetrated the mainstream zeitgeist. It’s a late-night talk show punchline, it’s a pop culture reference, it’s a verb.

The ways in which we create and share learning content can take a page from the Uber handbook. By being more adaptable, accessible and personalized than ever, corporate learning content can act as a tool to arm an engaged, knowledgeable and prepared workforce. But learning content won’t get there by sticking to the yellow taxis of learning: static PDFs, eLearning slides, and paper. Today’s employees are participating members of the on-demand economy, and they expect to access information easily from anywhere. They expect personalization and accessibility. They expect it all to be on their phone. Business needs to take a page from the Uber handbook and adapt learning content to today’s on-demand workforce. Present learning content and sales enablement tools that are data-driven, personalized, malleable and mobile for a prepared, well-versed and successful fleet.