Developing a Learning Culture

Is YouTube Actually The World’s Greatest LMS?

The very website responsible for every unproductive afternoon that you’ve ever had could become a template for productivity; if used in the right way, of course. The reason YouTube is as addictive as candy is the way videos are presented and displayed to the user. If your LMS had some of the same features and capacities as YouTube, you could theoretically make eLearning just as habit-forming. While most eLearning has to mold to fit the LMS use, it’s time to take control of the LMS to create one that adapts to learners (and not the other way around).

YouTube is Topical

When you type in “funny cat videos” in the YouTube search engine, you know you’ll get a bevy of feline antics to keep you entertained for hours. If you typed in “funny cat videos” and you had to sort through thousands of product reviews and beauty tutorials, you’d become a little disenchanted with the system. The same goes for your LMS: It must be impeccably organized and offer the ability for learners to search by topic.

YouTube doesn’t just give media-hungry viewers what they’re looking for; YouTube also introduces viewers to things they might be interested in. You’re looking for funny cat videos? Here’s a compilation of hilarious pets. You’re trying to learn how to build a coffee table? Here’s a video product review for a popular wood stain. In doing so, YouTube ensures that visitors stay on the site and won’t navigate away.

Imagine an LMS that operated in the same way. Rather than users finding the one thing they’re looking for and then closing the window, the LMS suggests other links to videos and manuals that may be of interest. Your learner just took an e-course on better sales tactics? Here’s a checklist for closing a sale, or a sales environment simulation.

YouTube is Quick and Adaptive

Believe it or not, YouTube is a form of microlearning. You might be looking up a cooking video or checking out the latest celeb news, but you’re learning in short blocks of video every time you log on. An LMS should offer the same features if you want learners to stick around and participate in autonomous learning. Instead of sitting through 30 minutes of lessons, a user should be able to navigate to the information he or she needs and pick up new information in less than five minutes.

Taking a page from the YouTube personalized playbook, your LMS should also adapt to the learner. If a more advanced employee is stuck taking the same courses as a new hire, he or she will lose interest (and you can kiss any engagement goodbye). YouTube doesn’t just keep pushing unwanted videos at the viewer: Instead, the search engine adapts to personal preferences by using watched media as a guide. If an LMS was able to do the same, how much more engaged would learners be?

Unless you build and code it yourself, you can’t expect your LMS to be perfect. You can, however, carefully vet available systems to make sure you choose one that works for your learners. Take it from YouTube (and its near-billion users): A smart, personalized experience wins every time.