In the online training world, numerous software platforms and applications have made it possible to build very specific course topics. The phenomenon is called micro-learning, and it’s driving a revolutionary shift in corporate and academic e-learning. How can you build your own courses using these new tools and techniques?
If you only have one tool…
Whenever I trek into the backcountry, I always have my Leatherman multi-tool (It’s one of my ten essentials).
We all pretty much know what these are: it’s basically a folding knife with a bunch of other handy little items folded into the housing.
Mine has a serrated knife, a file, screwdrivers, needlenose pliers, a flint, bottle opener, scissors, and the housing itself is a ruler. It includes a leather sheath with a belt-strap, although I tend to carry it in the pack.
It comes in handy in almost any situation, like when I need to cut up some kindling, rig up a bear bag, or repair a torn backpack. I’ve used it for those things and more. All of these tools separately would weigh a ton, but together they weigh less than a pound. It’s a very effective little device.
It got me wondering: Continue reading
For a few minutes, the kids wave, the crowd cheers, and parents beam. Then the pros take the field, the announcer says “wasn’t that nice”, and the people at home see more beer ads.
For several months, the townspeople talk about it in the barber shops, then everything goes back to the way it was.
That’s how I felt reading An Apology to Content Marketers by Shel Israel over at Forbes Magazine. For a few minutes, it felt like content marketing was getting some respect in front of a wider audience.
They’ve got desktop document tools, a social media site, a video hosting service, a mobile device platform, a creepily in-depth global mapping tool, and will probably deliver the first flying car before long.
Back here on Earth, we’re seeing some incredible advances in learning technology, with online course providers and MOOCs popping up, as well as specialized software for building, delivering, and storing online course materials.
And Google has jammed its colorful thumb deep into that pie, too, with Google Course Builder.
It happens every year. The holiday season.
And if you’re in marketing or HR, that means it’s time to deal with the company’s holiday greeting strategy. Yes, there’s a strategy.
Why is there a strategy? Because everyone differs on how to send holiday greetings in business. There’s:
- “Let’s send a postcard to customers.” – but who’s designing it? And who will approve it, without insulting anyone, before it’s too late to send?
- “How about an email?” – but now you don’t have to send to just customers to keep costs down, but everyone. Now you need multiple messages.
- “Don’t worry about complaints, just blast everyone the same thing.” – but this is outside the best practice guidelines of marketing. Shouldn’t your holiday greeting campaign be as structured as every other?
Well, at KnowledgeVision we tackled one of these holiday campaigns by using a multi-pronged approach. First, by creating an online presentation to appeal to as many people as possible, then sharing it with customers and other groups through different email campaigns, and then by writing a blog post about it and sharing it on social sites (shhh – you’re reading that now).
The result, about a minute long, is called “Happy… from KnowledgeVision”:
Earlier this year, I took part in a video project for Curata, a brilliant software firm providing an easy-to-use site where users can find online content for their own newsletter and online portal. They were doing a video shoot at their User Conference, and I wound up being quoted in the Curata Mobile App press release!
Then I published a few blog posts and videos of my own for KnowledgeVision, showing off our product and how I like to use it for presenting interesting topics. It’s mostly about how best to use online presentations, but also industry issues and shifts in technology. Some of our stuff got picked up by Business2Community and the Custom Content Council, and posted all over the social web. I love that.
Now I’ve contributed a segment to an e-Book for PR Newswire, “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”. It’s part of their promotion called Agility At Work – It’s a social hub dedicated to sharing tips, tools and best practices to keep up with changes in the realm of earned media. The e-Book is a comprehensive guide for any marketer who wants to find and energize their best social media followers.
My segment is part of Chapter 4, and is called “Turning Influencers Into Your Brand’s Voice”. It’s about what to do once you have been able to work with your most influential followers. I set a few ground rules for engaging them, such as: The most influential people are not necessarily your customers; people use social platforms mostly to converse with friends, not to shop, and; there is a difference between turning a person into an influencer and making them a customer.
PR Newswire did a tremendous job with “The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Influencer Engagement”, and I look forward to the outcome of this e-Book and getting some more recognition for me and for KnowledgeVision. That is, after all, what I do.
I should also point out a few other people who wrote segments of Chapter 4: Anne-Marie Kovacs is founder of the BOOMbox Network, an agency focused on marketing for Boomers; Lee Ann Forbes is a former commodities trader and Marketing Manager for Micro Strategies, and; Vatsala Isaac, an experienced Marketing Consultant. Each of their segments are a must-read for turning influencers into brand advocates.
I don’t say this often, but I gotta say I like being noticed in my industry and quoted as an expert on topics related to it. Just once in awhile I can look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m pretty cool.”
Since Apple launched the iPad just a few years ago, and with Google and Microsoft selling their own tablets, it’s become obvious that the tablet stands to overtake the notebook and the desktop PC.
Witness the experts at events like the Emerging Display Technologies conference this year, where research was released that predicted that tablets will overtake notebooks by 2016. Microsoft is a little more aggressive, sayingtablets will beat out PCs next year. Guardian News & Media says it already sees times of the day when mobile visits are higher than desktops.
What about education? Will there be a time when a professor will look across the classroom and see the majority of students tapping along with touchscreen tablets instead of clicking around on notebooks? Will there be a time when the students using tablets on the subway aren’t cramming for the exam they’re heading to, but actually taking the exam right now?
Of course there will. It’s just a matter of time.
I mean the craft of storytelling.
When we sell an idea, like a product, or show others how to apply a principle through a training course, we resort to telling a story. Some stories are whiz-bang, like a movie with poor dialogue but brilliant special effects.
Other stories are more focused on character development, witty patter and cleverly-devised situations, but not so much on the explosions.
What they all have in common is a craft.
As we enter Cyber Week 2012, we know that record numbers of shoppers hit the stores over Thanksgiving weekend. Among the online shopping trends we’ve seen include multi-channel shopping, mobile advertising, and opening times that are earlier than ever.
Another trend is that stores are pushing for in-store sales, using sales that aren’t available online and by guaranteed price-matching.
But the biggest trend appeared earlier in the year, when 2012 officially became the first year that online clothing purchases, or purchases influenced by the web, surpassed those made in a store. The driving factors in online retail are increased use of mobile devices and tablets, and an increasing emphasis on video. It turns out that 40% of video viewers wind up in the store or on the store’s website.
That’s huge. Do 4 out of ten viewers of television ads drop everything and head for the store? Nope. No way.
George Orwell wrote that in 1946. And it’s true today. It’s one of those timeless sentiments that can be applied to almost any situation.
Here, it’s used for an innocent purpose; to point out that putting together corporate training courses can seem difficult, but if you simply look around, you’ll find the content you need is, well, in front of your nose.
The Current Thought On Training
Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012 Conference was held this October in Orlando, Florida. This is the foremost conference for current thought on learning and corporate training. The event typically keynoted by people of note like Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, and Susan Cain.
The topics range from using mobile technology for online learning courses to using video for training in the workplace. The people leading sessions include thought leaders from learning institutions, global companies, software and service providers, and others who specialize in training and leadership.
KnowledgeVision’s Michael Kolowich led an inspiring session on how to create training courses using materials most companies already have. The dilemma that trainers face is that building a course seems to require new content, new video, and a new script. But it’s not true.