For those folks under the age of 35, a library is a place where one goes to find this ancient things known as books. And Audio Books, and lots of index cards – do they still use them? Growing up, the only place to find and read books, magazines was to go to the library. Everything you needed – fiction, non-fiction, kids section, reference books and materials was at the library. They had desks, heck even a sitting area. And who can forget the people working the desk? They had librarians. Experts in, uh, libraries.
Maybe your town didn’t have a library, or you resided in an area within your city, that didn’t have a physical library either – no worries, a bookmobile would be available. Basically, scaled-down library on wheels.
Then came those computers, and you could still conduct research on them, surf the net, and so forth. Everything though was and still is free (but limitations on how many books you can check out, at any given time).
I admit, I haven’t been to a library in years. Okay, once to get a library card after I signed up online. Just today, I went online and received a digital library card for my local library. Access to research sites, eBooks, audio books to download, all for free. Unless you want to check out physical books, you never have to set foot in the library. This is perfect, because I have no idea where said library is located.
I loved going to the library as a kid, even a teenager. College and Grad School it was a necessity, with benefits. It was easy. It offered a lot of interesting information, ready to be seen, and acquired – a knowledge cornucopia.
I bring this all up, because this is the foundation behind, the Learning Library.
A virtual library, containing digital materials, videos, blog post links and reports – all at your fingertips, ready to be consumed. You can read it right there. Or, download it for offline. Or even share it. A wealth of knowledge, that could rival the old library of Alexandria (RIP).
A Library is only as good as the contents, and what is contained in those stacks, which for the Learning Library, is presented as sections.
A library needs materials, eBooks, and research insight among other items. It needs people – well, me, you, the neighbor your kids, toss toilet paper in their trees every year (admit it, you did this). It needs relevancy and usefulness to gain the full power of knowledge exploration.
It can and should be, the place to go, just like your boss’s house, when you toss eggs at it (don’t toss eggs). In all seriousness, it should be a place to find what you need without surfing the internet, not knowing what to look for, what to read, and most importantly, what you can trust to be accurate.
Lots of misinformation is out there in the e-learning world. Lots of academia, theories, outdated modalities of e-learning too. Then you have “workplace” online learning, with materials that are great, if it was 2010. EdTech seems like a good start – but only if you are in K-12 or higher education (which is how EdTech is truly defined, although there are corporate targeted systems by vendors, who use the wording EdTech). EdTech, though, loves theories, and an academic perspective, which is awesome if you are seeking a cure for insomnia or have a desire to pull your hair out, without needing a hair salon to do it for you.
For me, I wanted a different place, one where academic theories and outdated information isn’t part of the plan. One where you can go to find what you need or seek, without having to pay anything. A free place, minus the coffee or tea (you need to supply your own).
The Learning Library provides materials, eBooks (which for right now are really PDFs), videos, blog post links, infographics and reports, all for free. To peruse. To explore.
Where are these materials from?
Today, they are from learning system vendors and me (Craig). My goal, though, is to have materials provided by folks in the L&D and Training communities – with best practices and tips that others, in your same role, can view, download and use – to help them. When I ran Training, I had such materials that I had written that I would have loved to share with others going thru or about, the e-learning experience.
Another goal is to receive materials from e-learning providers, 3rd party off-the-shelf course/content publishers, and VR/AR/XR vendors, AI and, yes, new learning technology.
The caveat though is that they have to slide into one of the sections, available. Can you provide materials for multiple sections – Absolutely.
Do you have to pay a fee? No. Nothing. No money, virtual or otherwise, exchanged hands. We DO NOT pay for the materials – so by providing them – you are saying – let’s share knowledge and give back to the community.
The Learning Library is not a reseller, affiliate, or partner with any provider or individual, who provides materials to it.
Sections in the Learning Library
- Craig Weiss’s Reports – From the Top 10 for 2022, to best learning systems for 500 or fewer learners, to even exclusives that will not be presented elsewhere (example – coming next week, Top 10 Learning Systems for Associations). Even how-to guides and what to ask, too.
- Buyer Guides – Learning Systems
- How to Guides – Topics include “How to use API integrations” and “How to design micro-learning”
- RFP/RFI Checklists – Here you can find checklists from vendors and where my RFP/RFI learning system template is housed
- Workforce Learning – A plethora of insight covering such topics as “Moving to a Hybrid Workplace”, “Overcoming The New Skill Gaps Culture,” and “How the Workforce Learns”
- Content Development and Design – Materials include “Ultimate Guide to Instructional Design,”, “Content Builder Checklist,” and “Video Best Learning Practices”
- EdTech – Yep, there are materials in this section for K12 and Higher-Education, – but it’s not theory, it’s application by folks who know
- Customer Education – Titles include “Emerging Trends in Customer Training”, “Eight components of successful customer learning”, and “Maturity Model Self-Assessment – for your customer education program”.
- Employee Onboarding and Retention – Titles include “11 Tactics to Improve Employee Retention in the Workforce War”, “Employee Onboarding”, and “How to Win Employee Loyalty”.
- Case Studies – This section is where you can view “case studies” from the vendors themselves
- Learning System Information – Want to know more about a specific learning system vendor? Here you go. Eventually, others including Content Providers, e-learning providers will be added too (as separate sections).
- Cohort-Based Learning – It’s early, and there are just a few materials but it is all about cohort-based learning and your learning system
- General Insight – General for a reason. Useful – you bet. Titles include one around A.I. and another around compliance challenges.
Materials from fellow L&D and Training, even HR folks who have or are experiencing what you might be or will be regarding online learning/e-learning. Can it include a specific learning system and the challenges you faced? Absolutely.
87 titles are in the library as of August 17th. New materials are constantly being added.
How to Access
First and foremost, you do not need a user name/password to stop by and hang out at this library. For those of you, who want to receive a notification from the Library every time it is updated, and be able to view those new materials right away (trust me, it’s cool to see it), simply provide me with your first and last name and e-mail address. You can do it here OR in the Library itself.
Your information will go only to me. No one else. You will receive an initial e-mail welcoming you to the library. After that, the only e-mails you will receive are when the Library is updated – notification to be exact. No spam. No market list selling, nothing.
Enter the Library
There’s a trick here; it must be, I mean, free?
Yes. 100% free. No tricks, no spin, nothing. I looked around the net, checked out various sites, read stuff on LinkedIn, and realized:
- A lot of information that is outdated and not relevant
- People who are telling you how to do this and that, but have never been in L&D or Training, nor developed, built, implemented, launched an e-learning program. Heck, many have zero idea on why a learning system was created (not for compliance, or regulatory, nor some type of secret police tracking angle, or that it lacked informal – which isn’t true, and the list goes on).
- Theory – Yuck. People love real-world, not something based on a study of 100 students or 100 people who like Brussels Sprouts and hated a course.
- E-mail Gating – Very popular with vendors regardless of market, but as it relates to our industry, popular too. Nothing wrong with e-mail gating, however it doesn’t take into account that
- If nobody knows that the vendor exists, they are not going to go to the web site to begin with – so the money spent on creating marketing materials and other informational materials isn’t being well utilized.
- People are worried about being spammed, or their name is sold to a mailing list or lead gen list – thus they see the “fill in” to receive, and either click away OR create a fake e-mail address OR for those vendors who require authentication, use an e-mail address, just for such, and never use it after that OR use a temporary e-mail account. Then there are folks who love to use a fake phone number, 867-5309 anyone? Ask for Jenny. 555- is equally popular.
Thus, to me, there had to be a better way. A different way – that goes beyond what we see today, or find or access, as it relates to e-learning (online learning), learning systems and so on. Right now, it is from learning systems – the materials, but it will change, as others will follow – already one 3rd party publisher is in contact about adding helpful guides for folks.
I wanted it to be free and accessible. Without advertising or affiliate links. I wanted it to GDPR-Compliant – and it is.
And I wanted to give back to the community I love and am so very passionate about.
If you are a vendor in the e-learning space, 3rd party publisher/content provider, or new learning technology, and are willing to provide materials, videos, etc to the Learning Library – for free (the key word here), then contact me.
L&D, HR, Training and others wishing to provide materials.
Ditto for L&D, Training, and HR folks, even sales and marketing if they are using e-learning in some manner. Contact too.
Changing the way we explore to find new insight, information, and knowledge has changed from the days of walking into a physical library, showing the librarian your card to check out, and flipping thru indice cards, with more germs on them, then Howard Hughes could handle (which was barely one).
The public libraries realized they had to add digital to retain their audience, and grow it too.
The Learning Library is no different.
Okay, it is.
No germs. No Library Card.
Useful and Real-World Information though.
Enter with a click.
Explore and Read with another.
Or multiple if you so desire.