Resources from the episode:

Transcript of the interview:

Kerri Moore 0:06
Welcome back to the Learning Elevated podcast, brought to you by Docebo. The show where we help you elevate your learning efforts and move up in the world of enterprise learning and development. Guiding you on your journey up the tower, we’ll be your elevator operators, as always, including myself, Rob Ayre, and my co host Kerri Moore.

Now you guys know this by now: each week, we stop off at a new floor, and today we’re getting off on the ninth floor – the kitchen – where we’ll be serving up the best content for your teams. I’m really excited about this one, Rob.

Kerri, me too. You know, it’s funny. One of the things that I enjoy most about doing this podcast is coming up with creative names for the episodes.


Rob Ayre 0:40
Right? And I thought the kitchen was kind of a nice thing because like, there’s always something new cooking up in the kitchen. And I feel like with most L&D professionals, there’s always something new being cooked up in the content department.

Kerri Moore 0:50
So true. So true. We have to get creative. We have to start mixing some things up. It really is a science.

It is, I mean, especially when you’re dealing with multi-generational employees, you really have to be thinking about: okay, what’s going to resonate with them? How do they want to learn? Should it be short? Should it be long? Should it be video? Should it be slides? Should it be SCORM? Should it be actually, like, there’s just so many different things that go into content considerations. And so, you know, the interview we have today is with a gentleman who’s just really well versed in the world of content, given that his company – that that is what they do. But as always, let’s let’s kick it off a little article.

Absolutely. So we’ve picked one out today from eLearning Industry – our friends – we could always rely on them over there

Rob Ayre 1:33

Kerri Moore 1:33
And that’s written by Christopher Pappas. And basically, this one just goes into how you can easily create eLearning courses. And I really like the breakdown of this one. And so some one of the first points I wanted to raise with you, Rob, is that I liked how he was really, really firm on making sure that you know your audience before you start creating your courses, and have a good understanding of the subject matter as well so that you know exactly what format is going to be best suited to your teams, and also how it’s going to then translate with topic that you have as well.

Yeah. And like, you know, think about the person that’s going to actually be presenting the information. If you’re, if you’re starting to make that transition, maybe over to V-ILT, make sure that that person is sort of being… that they’re recognized as that subject matter expert, because then by them talking about it, I feel like people are going to be that much more engaged and want to be able to learn from them. But you know, it’s funny, it’s one of those things that I feel like we consistently hear both in the articles that we review for the show, and in the interviews, it’s, I don’t think there’s anything more important than knowing your audience before you do anything.

I completely agree with you. I think sometimes we’re all so busy and I understand we have to get things out but you really are gonna see better results if you focus in on the people that you’re actually teaching. So yeah, definitely a critical part for sure.

Yeah. And you know, the next thing to, right, that I kind of liked in this article is – and this is just sort of goes back reminds me of my, I think was my grade 10 Drama teacher who used first first taught me KISS which is the “keep it simple, stupid” – I don’t know if she referred to me as stupid, but she very well might have and uhh – but but you know, one of the things one of the things that this article talks about, and it really follows that KISS mentality, it’s just use templates wherever it’s possible. You don’t have to recreate the wheel every time that you’re making content. If you have templates, one, you as the administrator can create your content in that much easier way. You can also distribute it to your subject matter experts. And you’re going to be able to create way more user generated content if you have easy to use templates.

Exactly. You’re going to speed up the process so much as well. And yeah, things don’t have to be insanely different every single time you create a course. If something has worked, stick with it, you know? If that’s going to be what your audience is going to be responding to, then there’s no reason for you to change that, for sure.

Rob Ayre 3:42
No. Yeah.

Kerri Moore 3:43
Another thing on there as well that I really liked – I know we talk about this a lot – but it just kind of reiterated that for me. Just making sure that you keep your audio, your video, and your graphics super simple, super approachable, and straightforward. Just so that people are able to really concentrate on the actual topic that they’re learning. It’s good to have those things in there, but if you overwhelm people, then they’ll get distracted.

Yeah, absolutely, you know, making sure you’re just able to produce things and get them out especially for those organizations that are listening that you have like a massive audience or a bunch of different segments, keeping those things simple – I think, I think it helps in a few ways: one it allows you to continuously create content on an ongoing basis, but but it also just makes your life easier and it makes it easier to to put things in ways that are digestible for people because the more convoluted that you try to make the content, the more difficult it is to consume it.

Absolutely, I completely agree with you. And now you guys as always can have a look at this article in more depth if you go to our website which umm but now we’re going to move on to the interview. So before we do just get off on that floor, please just bear with us on the audio for this episode. We were speaking with Dan Fish from Go1 in Australia, and the connection wasn’t the best thing at times, but he had some really good great points, so we think you’ll enjoy the interview.

Today we’re welcoming to the podcast, Dan Fish. Dan Fish is the Director of Strategy over at Go1. Dan, welcome to the podcast.

Dan Fish 5:14
Thank you very much indeed for having me. Great to see you.

Rob Ayre 5:17
So we’re excited to have you on, you know, this season of the show, what we’ve been doing is, you know, kind of trying to walk our listeners through what it means to bring on new learning technology, what it means to sort of plan out your learning strategy. And so a big part of that conversation, of course, is content, which is an area that I think Go1 has quite a bit expertise in. Is that right?

Dan Fish 5:38
You would be correct in saying so yes. I mean, we’ve really made the world of content our business after sort of starting off our life more so in the learning technology space. So yeah, it’s definitely been a journey for us. We sort of started off our life as a learning management system, but very early into that, during you know is that, you know, whilst technology is probably, you know, one of three or four key drivers in this space content is definitely right up there. So. And what we saw back at the beginning was that there wasn’t, there was a number of players out there, bringing large swathes of content together. But no one really looked at it, even the same way that we were, as far as sort of this real big aggregation push. So we’ve definitely made it our lives over the last four and a half years or so to really position ourselves as such as an aggregator and for us, it’s not just about land grabs, or big swathes of content sat within the marketplace, also very much around the smarts and data and insight that comes with that. So yeah, content is kind of our thing.

Kerri Moore 6:52
So you obviously have a lot of expertise. But what pieces of content have been the most successful at Go1 because obviously I know you guys have got such a big catalogue there. But there must be some formats to stand out, perhaps?

Dan Fish 7:04
Yeah. So I think, again, going back to the subjective nature of training, there’s a lot of different types of content that tend to be successful. And again, so I’m going to talk a lot today about context, just because it’s super important. And I think we can sometimes get caught up in the idea of having to invest 10s of thousands of dollars in really beautiful looking content. But if it’s not surfaced and injected at the right point in time and context in it can become really flat. But you know, what we’ve seen to be successful if we sort of go back over time and look over the last four and a half years is certainly some of that key stuff that we’ve looked at from when we started the business which is around compliance and continual professional development, which is where that piece is legislated for certain roles and jobs. Whether it’s nurses or lawyers, where they have to do a certain number of hours of training each year, and that was certainly very popular at the beginning.

I think there’s a big difference between, you know, again, sort of the other aggregated mediums and whether it’s TV or music, etc, where a lot of that stuff is a nice to have versus the sort of must haves with with education and training, that can be the case a lot of times. So we’d see a lot of this stuff around sort of bullying and all HMS. But as that’s moved on now, I think we start to see and with more skills, coming to market and thinking more specifically about the future of work piece, we’ve started to see a lot of popularity around topics like design thinking, and a lot of those areas. I mean, depending on what side of the fence you sit on at the moment, around sort of automation and AI and machine learning, etc. will depend on on whether you see as a positive or negative, but I think that’s definitely driven a lot of people’s desire to understand the world a bit better as from a future perspective. So we’ve also definitely seen some of those sort of attributable future of work skills, training pieces of content really come to the floor. Yes, I think again, it’s the data that we look at there is a, there’s a very much a high, you know, if you think about it in a graph format, there’s a lot of content out there and quite popular around sort of leadership communication. And if you think about it on an axis, it’s sort of lots of that. And then it sort of tails out to sort of nuanced and a very long tail of different types of content, whether it’s sort of future skills or whatever it is, but definitely seeing a lot more of that.

Kerri Moore 9:45
So, you know, I’m curious, like, what do you think for organizations and especially as organizations right now or thinking about elevating their learning programs or even just sort of putting them in place because of everything going remote -What do you think organizations should be thinking from your perspective that maybe causes a piece of content to fall flat, you know? Is there something that kind of sticks out where it’s like, Ah, you really should be making sure you’re watching for this or for that?

Dan Fish 10:09
Yeah. Yeah, I think, look, there can be a number of things that can really help way content down. And it can be really simple things like so you could have a really, you could have some really effective and compelling content. But it could be as simple as the accent being wrong, right. So making sure that for thinking about specifics of things, like geographies can be really important. So if I’m in the UK, or in Sydney or in Toronto, and trying to deliver some training to my team, and the accent is in Australian or English or Canadian, that can instantly create a little bit of friction. And that’s not to say that people are inherently sort of racist or an accent. It’s just more so that you know, there’s some familiarity when they hear something in their own one, so I think there’s thinking about little details like that that can be really important. Right.

Dan Fish 11:08
And so, again, I think the other piece is sort of setting in framing of the content. So making sure that, you know, whether it’s HMS or you know, whatever it is, it’s, it’s, if I’m a field worker, and I spend a lot of time out in the field, yeah, I’m looking at content that is office space or more white collar, then that that instantly also sort of sets up this lack of association, so I sort of just disengage. I think the same is also true when we look at representation of people. So whether that’s down to sex, age or disability, you know, it’s amazing some of the content around access and disability that I’ve seen that almost ignore some of the key components of that and the same with sort of age and sex, I think that there’s, it’s really important to be mindful and aware of that. But I think the underlying piece to it and something that’s quite important to us as a business and me and my thinking, is just again, this idea that there isn’t this one size fits all approach to content.

Dan Fish 12:20
And I think it’s why for us, this concept of an aggregated marketplace works really well, right? So if you think about Spotify, they have, you know, what I want to listen to when I go to the gym on a Wednesday lunchtime is different to what I listened to before I go out on a Friday night is what the difference of what I listened to on a Sunday morning. So having that breadth and selection of contents, we have sort of curated your way through that is really important. So I think, you know, making sure that there’s that that that that representation is critical, whether it’s accent, you know, sex or context, but also then being able to pull on that right content to plug into some of that stuff is critical because that’s, you know, some of the feedback and criticism that we’ve heard in the past, whether it’s organizations creating their own content or content that we look to surfaces. Well, that’s great if you’re in Australia, but I’m in London and I need something with a UK accent. And we’ve been able to sort of build that out ourselves over time to be able to ensure that we’ve got this very global view of the world and understanding that someone who’s in Toronto or someone that’s in London, or someone that’s in Sydney, will naturally gravitate and associate more to content that is familiar to them.

Kerri Moore 13:34
So and on a similar note to that you kind of touched on it a little bit. But how do you think that organizations should balance you know, making their own pieces of content and the kinds of materials with outsourcing content? I know you’re a bit biased to this? What would be the kind of balance for you would you say?

Dan Fish 13:51
Look, I don’t know whether, I mean, the one thing I would say is making your own content is both time consuming and super expensive. If you want to do iit right. So and there’s so there’s, you know, I mean, if you take into account all the informal content that’s out there like podcasts like this or blog posts or articles, like there’s literally billions of pieces of content out there. So I am biased in my thinking and so much that there’s a critical difference here. There’s two words, there’s creation. And there’s curation, right? And so I tend to lean on the side of curation, a whole lot more than creation, because the chances are, the content already exists, and there’s people out there focused on creating that that are going to do a better job than you.

Now. That being said, there is a critically important piece when it comes to organizations creating their own content, which I totally agree with, right, which is around, you know, customer onboarding pathways for new staff. You don’t really want other people building that out for – well – you could have… you could engage an instructional designer to build it out with you, but that very much needs to have the soul and culture of the organization front and center and the brand. So it’s really important to be able to do that.

I think there’s also other components right? And our two organizations would experience this as well when we’re thinking about content that we create for our customers. And there’s a big piece at the moment going on where more and more now, whether it’s something that you’d naturally think about training up your customers or not, or whether it’s your business to train up your customers. There’s obviously a very important component when you’re building content there. So I think it is a balance, I think, I’d always urge people to think about and look at what already exists because I think, and I think that this concept is becoming more and more comfortable with people in sort of L&D and HR now that I don’t need to create it, I can source it. But that’s not to say that I don’t think there is space in time where it absolutely needs to be done by the organizers.

And the one thing I would say with that is, if you have people within your organization that are instructional designers, fantastic like.. that.. then utilize them, leverage them to help you create your content. But if not, it is, it is worth investing a bit of money and bringing those types of instructional designers in for the very reasons we’ve said before, in that there’s content that it’s very easy for this content to fall flat, like what you might think as an L&D manager, when you’re in there, creating a course is really compelling, may not be for others. So I think you know, you want to engage the organization to make sure that if you are going to create this content, what is gonna be compelling, but also maybe look at engaging instructional designers to help you build that together. But what I do know about Docebo, as a platform is that it is quite easy to create that content. And so, again, you don’t want to, to my point earlier, you don’t want to become all consumed with trying to create this, you know, massive piece of content when, dependent on how what you’re trying to do, and where you’re trying to surface it, little five minute videos or pieces to camera, or even on your phone can be really compelling as long as it’s contextualized.

Kerri Moore 17:09
So this is the sort of the thought process that I have off of that too. And this kind of goes with that idea of “what is compelling content” – and this might be a bit outside your sort of, you know, the scope of delivering the content – but do you have any opinions on, you know, what do you think are some of the best ways that you can measure the success of content? You know, what, how would you recommend organizations go about, you know, demonstrating that a piece of content is sort of making that impact?

Dan Fish 17:34
Yeah, yeah, sure. So I think there’s a couple of points here and a couple of key metrics to probably look at I mean, from a Go1 perspective, you know, there’s numbers that we look at, like daily active usage, enrollment numbers, completion numbers, you know, all of these kinds of data points that we look at, that will help us have this helicopter view of what’s hot and not within our marketplace, and what is working and obviously, you know, time spent in a piece of content, like you could have two courses, and people spend 10 minutes on each one – but this course here is actually 60 minutes long, and they’re only doing 10 minutes versus this 10 minute course, which they’re actually completing. So from our perspective, and when we look at it in that way, you know, there’s a number of different matrices that we can look at and call on to help us understand what is good and compelling content.

Organizationally, it’s more talking to your sort of return on investment conversation. And, you know, how do we know that all of this money that we’re spending on training up our staff is actually working? And I’d love to tell organizations that there’s a quick one for this. But the reality is it speaks back to your overarching commitment to training up your staff because, ultimately, for me, the most compelling piece to that ROI is a long term approach of actually looking at you know, for example, taking your sales team: If we’ve taken a two to three year commitment and upskilling or 12 month commitment in upskilling and we want to see the return on that, obviously, it’s a performance related thing, right? And you go back to how that.. how is that sales team performing? Obviously taking into perspective, other factors out in the marketplace? So there’s a big sort of a bottom line component to where you can look at it and say: okay, well, if our goal and objective is to have a more functioning sales team that are firing on all cylinders, then we probably want to take a slightly longer 12 month approach, and be very considered on how we deliver that.

But I think there are also shorter term measurements and, you know, return on investment factors that you can look at. But a lot of that actually just involves engaging this stuff. And I think there’s this concept when it comes to training that it’s just putting the content out there, and we’re done. And then we move on to the next thing when actually, I would argue that content is one component of it, that that ongoing engagement and sort of almost learning pathway approach to this is far more compelling. And so, you know, looking back in making sure that you’re talking to the teams and, and the individuals that you are looking to upskill to understand how successful they’ve done it, how successful they found it, is really critical. And the great thing is there’s so much technology out there to be able to do that in a really quick and meaningful way. Whether it’s a survey, or just even chats within the platforms themselves to be able to understand this because again, I’d love to say that there is this sort of one size fits all approach to this. But if you’re going to be serious about training up people and trying to understand the success measures, it’s really important that you understand what’s appealing and going to work for the individual employees. And that can get difficult if you don’t have the ability to be able to surface different types and styles of content to different members of the team.

Kerri Moore 20:51
Um just a final question on that, actually. Have you seen any trends, the types of content that seems to work across the board or that people are using regularly or where people are seeing the most successes or is it pretty sporadic?

Dan Fish 21:07
I do think, you know, there’s there’s sort of been a lot of talk over the last few years around micro courses, short courses, you know, nano courses, these really sort of bite sized pieces of material that can be accessed really quickly. And, again, I hate to harp on about it, but it really is around contextualizing the training, right. And I think how that’s delivered in the mode is really important. So whether it is video, audio, etc, is going to be super subjective on the individual, but I do find that these bite size pieces of content are really effective. And again, if I think about that example I gave earlier with the team’s integration, if I’m, you know, part of a stand up or team meeting where we’re talking about new technology and talking maybe about data science, or artificial intelligence, or machine learning – and I don’t really have a good grasp on what that actually means, the ability for me to go and do a quick five minute introduction course into the, you know, intro to data science, just to give me some context and understanding is really, really helpful.

Obviously, if I’m trying to get a deeper understanding of what data science is about, I might engage on a 2, 3, 6 week course that takes up a lot of time. And then we’re talking about a whole different structure as far as what that content needs to look like the assessments and everything else. So I think it really, you know, I hate not giving very specific and direct answers, but I think hopefully what this is starting to do is getting people thinking about, okay, well, what are my goals and objectives for this piece of content? What am I trying to really get out of my staff and my people, and what kind of behavior and patterns do I want to set up because more often than not, that the really successful bits of content are those short pieces that then triggers some interest or engagement with with with with the employees, who then do go on to look at engaging in more, you know, maybe a 45 minute video maybe a two week interactive course and you sort of need to take that relatively iterative approach. But I think, you know, that depends on what you’re trying to do and what your goals and objectives are dependent on the subjective nature of the individuals learning will really dictate what’s effective.

Kerri Moore 23:25
So Dan, the one question we kind of have been ending off some of these interviews with given the times: have you guys been seeing any trends right now with maybe people are looking for specific types of content with COVID-19? Remote work? You know, I’ve seen some stories from our customers in particular, where it’s like, we need more, you know, high level professional development things because maybe they’re… we’ve had to furlough some employees. And so in order to keep them working, we’re actually going to offer them professional training opportunities. Have you seen any trends on some of Go1’s Go1’s customers or, just sort of in general, in terms of what organizations are doing in terms of leveraging content during this time.

Dan Fish 24:01
Yeah, I think we have Yeah. And it’s it’s, you know, obviously don’t need to tell you guys it’s unprecedented times – hundred years or so since the Spanish Flu that probably will hopefully this won’t have as big impact. But I absolutely it’s, it’s, it’s been really interesting I think there’s two components to this. And one is that we’ve worked with you guys quite closely on as well, which is this evolving learning pathway that we’ve put out around COVID-19. So when I think back six weeks or so ago now where, you know, people start to get shut down, locked down, and the world really started to change a lot of the content that we had in there and the educational components were things like travel and understanding, you know, hand washing and sanitizing, and so on. And what we started to find though, is that the world started to change so once travel got totally locked down, travel wasn’t really important anymore because you just couldn’t do it. So what else started becoming important you know, we look at things like remote working, you know how to be, you know, most efficient and effective while working from home. And so started to focus on this sort of out of office remote working component and, you know, not just very specific to remote learning, but how to make effective use of time and, you know, procrastination 101, and stuff like that. So we started to sort of see a shift in supporting people as they went through that transition.

But once they got relatively comfortable working from home, it was things like okay, well, now that we know we’ve got a slightly inflated cybersecurity risk. So maybe what we need to do is look at helping employees and organizations understand the very real risk of heightened levels of cyber security. So we want to inject some of that content in there as well. So again, it’s coming back to that contextualized piece, but working through it and changing it as the market and as much as the world needs. So I think there’s that sort of organic and evolving pathway as far as the types of content that we can deliver and change it over time. You comment around furloughed staff in organizations. It’s something that we’ve spoken a lot about them.

Over here in Australia, we’ve worked very closely with the likes of Qantas to help provide training to a large number of those staff and members that are furloughed or stood down. And so what we’ve tended to find is that those organizations and certainly the staff members, more so than ever now are looking to try and while they’re not working, if they haven’t been fortunate enough to find additional work for the time being, is to sort of engage in ongoing education and learning experiences pertaining to what their job was and what they were looking to do. And, and I think, yes, we’ve seen some people looking at: okay, well, I’m working in hospitality, maybe I need to sort of change industries given the profound impact this has had on me, but that’s not as easy as big as as we’ve seen, where we’ve just seen a sort of doubling down of these furlough personnel, just trying to make sure that if I’m not getting that on the job education experience, what else is important in regards to the work that I do? And how can I continue to develop and grow in those areas? So whether that’s leadership and I’m a manager and its ongoing leadership, whether it’s sales and conflict resolution, like there’s this real doubling down on the things that are important that maybe normally I’d be getting from that on the job learning and

Rob Ayre 27:30

Well, Dan, thank you so much. It’s been a real real pleasure having you on the show and just great to connect with you as always.

Dan Fish 27:35
Fantastic. Thanks, guys.

Kerri Moore 27:37
Thank you so much

Dan Fish 27:38

Rob Ayre 27:42
So thank you so much, again to Dan Fish. Our apologies again for the audio quality but but just so great to talk to him and great to sort of, you know, learn from his experience and he has just such a deep wealth of it both in the learning industry in general and in the content game more specifically. And you know, one of the important parts that I think he really brought up is making that effective piece of content, delivering it at the right time and in the right way – I feel like that’s one of those things, and we actually speak quite a bit to our customers who are really trying to better their their mobile game. And if you’re looking right now, if you’re listening to this episode, you’re thinking to yourself, geez, you know, how am I going to start moving over to mobile? Well, a really good place to start is on your content. Is your content mobile ready? Because if it’s not going to be mobile ready, then making that transition without the right content is going to be really really difficult.

Kerri Moore
Absolutely, I really liked how he kind of related this to the kind of music that you listen to on Spotify so you know, at the gym is going to be listened to very different types of music to when you’re on a Sunday morning drinking coffee, you know? So it’s the same thing for content so you have to be there exactly at the right time. Another thing that I really liked, that I hadn’t even like fully considered, until he mentioned that if I’m being completely honest, is that really simple things like having the wrong accent for a certain group of people can be extremely off putting and that could be for instance, having my voice when we’re talking to people in Canada, you know, maybe it’s charming, I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

Rob Ayre 29:05
I think it’s super charming.

Kerri Moore 29:07
But also it might be off putting or maybe it’s just somewhat distracting, you know?

Rob Ayre 29:11

Kerri Moore 29:11
And also just looking at things like race, age, sex, your the range of disabilities, just to make sure that everyone is represented on there so that people feel extremely comfortable when they are getting into that content.

Rob Ayre 29:22
Yeah, just lowering as many barriers for entry as possible into content is just going to make the content a little bit easier to consume. And, you know, ultimately, and this is, this is a point that I think you brought up a couple of times is that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ for all pieces of content. So there’s just different content at different times that will work better. And that’s not just in terms of the times that you’re actually going to consume it. But there’s different times in your, you know, employee lifecycle, that a piece of content is gonna work better than a different piece might.

Kerri Moore 29:57
Exactly, totally agree with you. Um, so yeah, fantastic interview. Hope that you guys really enjoyed that one. Next week, join us again as we get off at floor 10 and we’re going to be in the workshop with Formetris. We look forward to seeing you guys there.

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Floor 9: The kitchenDan Fish