Democratization of Learning Content: Ride the Wave of Learning Revolution with Knowledge-Sharing – Tip #200

Share this article

Do you want to learn how to use Instagram Stories? There’s a course for that.

How about handling difficult conversations? There’s a course for that, too!

Think about something you really want to learn, whether for personal, professional or business growth, and I bet you, there’s a course for that online somewhere.

What does this mean?

Democratization of Learning Content is the New Normal

Knowledge sharing started with crowdsourced sites like Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Fast forward to today, open access and massive open online courses have become the norm. Even big companies like Microsoft and Facebook are implementing or creating platforms for learning that are accessible to everyone.

“Technology has a ‘democratizing’ effect, eliminating barriers and granting access so that new ideas can spread,” said Casey Coleman, former CIO of the U.S. General Services Administration.

A real-life example is Accenture’s learning boards. They kinda look like Pinterest and are centered around a learning theme such as a skill.

“Learning boards are probably the best example of democratization of learning, which has been at the heart of our learning delivery strategy,” says Rahul Varma, the visionary chief learning officer at Accenture. “In 18 months, we’ve gone from a handful of learning boards to a thousand learning boards, from a handful of users to 140,000 active users, without any corporate push. I haven’t in my entire life seen such scaling of a learning vehicle.”

Democratizing Learning Content in Your Organization

The number one reason to democratize learning content at any organization is this: It’s the “ultimate competitive advantage.” According to Kevin Oakes, CEO of Institute for Corporate Productivity, “Organizations are more competitive, agile and engaged when knowledge is constantly and freely shared.”

Creating a system and providing the tools that allow employees to freely share knowledge create valuable content in the process. Tapping subject matter experts (SMEs) within the organization is not only cost-effective, it’s also a great source of tacit knowledge. Imagine the value of an expert, who actually has contextual understanding of a problem, sharing solutions to real-life issues in the workplace.

In addition, knowledgeable employees will be duly recognized for their expertise. Imagine how much better that employee’s workday would be when they receive positive feedback from their peers and how much more likely they will stay longer with the organization because they feel valued and validated.

How is your organization democratizing learning content? If your organization hasn’t started on this yet, what do you suggest they do to start democratizing learning content?


Jeff Sandquist. Introducing Team Blog, September 24, 2018
Facebook Blueprint
Harrison W. Inefuku. Globalization, Open Access, and the Democratization of Knowledge. Educause Review, July 3, 2017
ATD Research. Democratization of Learning at Accenture: Learning Boards. Association for Talent Development, December 28, 2016
Kevin Oakes. 4 Steps to Building a Culture of Learning
Tip #76 – Celebrate Your Expertise – Share and Standout
Tip #181 – The Conversation Loop: Foster Learning Through Experience Sharing
Tip #199 – Becoming an Expert: What Has Intuition Got to Do With It?

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”