Informal learning is wonderful, right? You get stuck on a spreadsheet. You stand up. You look over the cubical wall. And you ask your colleague for help. They shout out the answer and you're back on your way to being productive. Boom! Informal learning!
When people know you have a significant level of knowledge on a certain topic you become their "goto person". This is why you don't let your extended family know exactly how tech savvy you are, right? If they knew how much you really knew then you'd become their goto person. You learn fast how tightly to guard that information. It's very similar in a business setting except that you get paid to be the subject matter expert (SME).
It's important to understand that, at some point, your SMEs get tired of fielding questions. In some cases experts become so inundated with questions that they barely have time to get their real work done. This can cause significant frustration across an organization. Management wants to know why productivity is slow, and why customers are upset. And the smartest people in the company soon become over worked, and stressed out. This is a business problem that training professionals can solve.
Training Solves Business Problems
Training departments exist to solve business problems. This is a statement often lost in conversations about instructional design, learning, e-Learning, performance support, etc. The training team's number one priority is NOT to measure that learners learned, or to measure if learners applied the knowledge or not. When you are given the responsibility of training, your primary concern is to create training because it solves business problems.
If the business problem is too many customer support tickets, then your job is to decrease the number of customer support tickets. That's a business problem. And that's how you measure training success. If the number of customer support tickets decreases after your training solution then you were successful in providing value to the business.
Note that you did not need to measure if they liked the solution, or even if they learned from the solution. And you can assume that they applied the learning because they no longer need to create as many support tickets.
Fast, Iterative Training Development Wins!
Besides just providing a solution, you need to provide that solution fast. Speed is the other way you provide business value. You need to be able to move quickly from problem to solution even if the first solution you provide is not the best. In most cases fast and good enough wins. And with today's technologies there is no reason why you can't produce and publish useful content quickly.
A SaaS based learning management system is a great place to start. A system like Litmos.com gets you up and running quickly with a foundation for building courses, evaluations, tracking learners, building learning paths, and so much more. With a solid foundation in place you can begin quickly loading content into modules and building your courses. Much of the content you load can be existing content provided by SMEs. You can even record your SMEs talking about critical topics and upload those recordings into video modules. It may not be Hollywood style film production but you are providing business value...fast. And that wins!