The top 10 opportunity costs for single source content strategy

June 13, 2014 Monica Kraft

When you think about your company's digital learning content strategy, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Virtual Classrooms? eLearning Courses?

With Learning & Development rapidly evolving from a cost center focused on formal learning to a strategic function tasked with the continuous development of an employee throughout their tenure with a company, the need to be high impact has never been greater. Bersin defines High Impact Learning Organizations as those organizations that distinguish themselves by very effectively and efficiently providing learning solutions that support key business objectives. Unfortunately, creating better eLearning is little more than making marginal improvements to the status quo.

If the ultimate goal is to re-imagine learning by creating a continuous learning environment that ensures an agile, high performing workforce, keeping with the status quo can be a costly circumstance.

Measuring opportunity costs for digital learning content policies helps expose opportunities and strategies that organizations can use to identify and overcome limitations in skillsets, methodologies, content management and delivery systems, tools and technologies.

What is opportunity cost?

We experience this anytime we go shopping, especially in department or big-box stores. Think about it: We're faced with seemingly innumerable options. We compare items, adjusting for cost, value and relevance. Because we're confronting a want or a need in making the purchase, the list of variables governing our choices and ultimately the opportunity cost grows the longer we think about it.

If you buy the more expensive - and potentially higher-quality - item that you use daily for 10 years before it falls apart, the opportunity cost is low. However, if you opt for the low-quality bargain that you're certain will break within the first year of purchase, you'll likely experience the familiar dread accompanying buyer's remorse. This is one symptom of a high opportunity cost.
What happens when this concept is extrapolated to learning and development conversations? Invariably, this process becomes extremely complicated if we consider and quantify all variables, especially those related to learning content management and the impact on the people they were meant to serve.

When you act on a learning content management strategy founded on single-source authoring and publishing, these ten opportunities can be realized to their fullest potential, diminishing your opportunity costs month over month, and year over year.

  1. Employees find relevant content more quickly.
  2. Employees retain learning experienced in small bursts, applied at their moment of need.
  3. Learning and Development delivers informal content, in addition to formal content from the same source.
  4. Organizations protect their learning content investment by creating device-agnostic content, and delivering mobile learning at the same moment they deliver online learning.
  5. Dispersed Subject Matter Experts and Designers work together more creatively and efficiently.
  6. Learning content translates more cost-effectively.
  7. Content is managed around company values, skills and competencies for better business alignment.
  8. Granular content instantly updates on one or more Learning Management Systems.
  9. Printing costs of course materials are reduced through digital delivery on any device.
  10. Business leaders receive meaningful and actionable learning analytics.

Imagine a one percent improvement in each of these 10 areas. How does that translate into dollars in your organization? The opportunity cost of maintaining your existing learning content system rises higher the longer you wait. These costs are tangible in your employees' quality of work, their level of engagement, the services you provide customers and your market share. Any business development journey begins with a single step, the first of which is recognizing the power of a digital learning content management strategy built on single-source authoring. To learn more about content and high-impact learning organizations, watch this on-demand webinar

About the Author

Monica Kraft

Monica Kraft is the Director of Product Marketing for Xyleme, Inc. Xyleme is a unique market solution focused on content management that drives great learning experiences anywhere and on any device. In this role, Monica is responsible for all aspects of marketing for Xyleme and is on a mission to help organizations transform their content into an incredible business asset.

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