The corporate clients which professional training and coaching firms serve are increasingly digital-first learning ecosystems. To remain relevant in this new context, trainers need simple solutions for crossing the digital chasm.

In a guest post titled "Embedding Digital Learning in Your Organization's Culture" for the SHRM blog, Josh Bersin described a modern corporate learning environment in which busy and distracted employees seek more efficient, bite-sized and on-demand learning experiences. He notes:

"Right now, we all have high expectations of content. We want systems that are as easy to use as social media platforms and search engines."

In this new context, training providers must challenge themselves to deliver their training content in ways that fit the increasingly digital environments of their clients. While this may seem intuitive, in practice there are five perceived barriers that prevent many training providers from embracing digital content delivery, including:

  1. Concerns about intellectual property protection
  2. Having to recreate content in new formats
  3. Coordinating multiple content delivery partners
  4. Technology maintenance and overhead
  5. Content migration costs

In this post, we'll demonstrate that each of these perceived barriers can be easily overcome. As we'll describe, the guiding principle when adding digital content distribution is to keep it simple.

Controlling Intellectual Property

When considering distributing their training content in digital formats, many organizations become concerned about potential misuse and misappropriation.

Misuse occurs when legitimate recipients distribute it to unauthorized users. Misappropriation occurs when content finds its way out of authorized channels such as partners or franchisees. 

While print may seem more secure than digital, in fact, a range of modern security features often makes digital distribution just as safe as print.

Distributing Digital Content Securely

Modern digital content distribution platforms offer a range of robust security measures which protect intellectual property. SharedBook provides the following safeguards to help trainers protect and track their content:

  1. Users access content within secure iOS, Android, or cloud reader apps which require an access code that is unique to each learner.
  2. Because content is accessed only via secure apps, learners cannot forward the material to others or save it locally.
  3. SharedBook's reporting module provides learner-level tracking on how the content is being accessed and used.
  4. At any time, for any reason, trainers can remove content access from specific individuals. Because users can't save the content locally, this removes all access to the content for that learner.
  5. Platform administrators can even choose to turn off the ability to cut and paste blocks of content from their materials.

With such safeguards in place, training organizations can feel confident providing digitial access to their training materials without heightened risk of content misuse or misappropriation.

Adding Value To Print

Another way to encourage legitimate use of your training content is to add new digital layers of value to your printed content. Our team at SharedBook works with many training organizations who want to continue to provide printed versions of their materials while also enhancing the value of their content with digital access and engaging features. These are a few ways we help trainers add value to their content:

  • Anytime, anywhere access via secure iOS, Android, and cloud reader apps
  • Fresh content updates and learning boosters pushed to each learner's account
  • Engagement-enhancing content types such as video
  • Searchable notes and highlights

These are just a few examples but they illustrate how the information and ideas in your content are only one layer of value creation. To discourage people from copying and distributing print, add digital value that's essential to the learning experience!

Avoiding Content Reauthoring

For some digital learning platforms, content enhancement comes at the cost of reauthoring your material. While the finished product may be beautiful, the time and cost required for content creators to learn a complex new system is precisely the kind of barrier that prevents many training organizations from crossing the digital divide. 

As Josh Bersin notes in his SHRM blog post, the bridge across the digital chasm may be far simpler:

"Today, many vendors offer video platforms and complex software to help manage millions of courses and videos...But we need more simple systems to bring all this content together in a compelling way and mobile apps that deliver easy-to-find material."

SharedBook shares this preference for simplicity. Our clients simply upload native formats they have today, such as PowerPoints, Word documents, PDFs, and videos, and the platform then weaves these materials together into a secure digital eBook wrapped in engagement-enhancing features. With minimal effort, trainers are able to extend the formats they have at hand to the devices learners rely on for just-in-time learning.

Streamlining Content Delivery Partners

Some training providers have successful and long-standing relationships with major printing providers. Sometimes, when attempting to add digital formats to accompany their printed training materials, they find themselves engaging a separate partner for digital content distribution. This approach can introduce complexity and risk into training operations.

First, such fragmented solutions create the need to manage multiple content repositories which creates version control challenges. Second, coordinating fulfillment for specific events becomes risky as multiple vendors must be managed toward fulfillment dates. 

SharedBook's approach is to give trainers the best of both worlds: flexibility to print through a major provider like FedEx Office via a direct integration while maintaining a single content repository. No matter which content format is needed for a specific training event, everything can be managed and fulfilled from a single, intuitive platform.

Minimizing Technology Maintenance & Overhead

Sometimes training organizations avoid digital content distribution because they think they must choose between developing in-house solutions or training staff to adopt and maintain complex systems. Fortunately, neither of these options are necessary.

As a SAAS solution, SharedBook provides an evergreen platform which is maintained and continuously enhanced. No client development resources or infrastructure are required. This allows training organizations to focus on their core competency of delivering exceptional training experiences while we focus on making integrated print and digital distribution as simple and engaging as possible.

Turnkey Content Migration

Some training organizations have developed massive libraries of content over the years. The thought of adding this content to a new repository, no matter how user-friendly, can seem daunting. 

SharedBook recognizes that sometimes software is only part of the solution. For clients with large content libraries, our Professional Services team can assist with efficient methods for loading large volumes of content without extensive time and labor. 

Simple Can Be Beautiful

As Bersin's article suggests, today's corporate learners don't need the most sophisticated and complex enterprise learning solutions to experience value. Simply improving access to training content through engaging digital and mobile formats can prove pivotal in assuring that your training content is there at any moment of learning need.

To see how easy it is to provide a complete print, digital, and mobile learning experience, we invite you to try a free 30-day trial of the SharedBook platform!

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