Think about the most effective marketing campaign you’ve ever seen. Maybe it was the empowering Always #likeagirl campaign, or you wanted to Share a Coke after watching the latest round of Coca-Cola commercials. Maybe you teared up watching Google’s Year in Search spot. Whatever pulls at your heartstrings, makes you laugh, or makes you act, the same is true across the board: marketing has a way of connecting to your emotions.
All posts by Nina Tomaro
At the risk of divulging some of our favorite apps, we will admit that there’s something gratifying about being able to demonstrate rejection with a single swipe. In a social scene where you have about five seconds to make a good impression, creating an immediate connection with your audience can do more than get you a date. But how do you get engaging content?
You put a ton of resources into creating a learning initiative for your team, all just to have it be neglected to wither away in an LMS graveyard. Sound familiar? It’s frustrating to put all of your time and energy into a program that doesn’t really get a response. Maybe you even tried to send out an email to drum up support–and still; nothing. Read More
September 08, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CEASE California’s Online Training Developed by eLearning Mind Wins Silver at Brandon Hall
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital’s CEASE California Receives Silver Award
It’s a tale as old as time: You’re trying to motivate learners and find that what works with some doesn’t really work with others. Sound familiar? That’s because different personalities and individuals have different styles of learner interaction.
It sounds like something straight out of King Arthur’s court: Retail leader Zappos spent much of 2015 doing away with management as we know it. Instead of the traditional hierarchy by which most organizations operate, Zappos took on a radical reorganization by getting rid of bosses and moving toward a self-management model.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but try telling that to lynda.com. The 20-year-old online learning company just secured $186 million in private investments for their next round of site revamps, including a new catalog of technical offerings and business skills training courses.
Think of it as an investor-sanctioned shopping spree: lynda.com announced last month that, thanks to private equity firm TPG, the site would begin reaching out to other tech companies poised for acquisition. Three companies are already rumored to be in lynda.com’s crosshairs, with letters of intent pending.
Broadening the Scope
No one would ever fault the ed-Tech field for being unenthusiastic, which historic startup investment deals happening on the daily in a fairly young field. But a company that was founded in 1995 (and profitable by 1997)? It’s an anomaly among competitor sites. But the latest round of funding for lynda.com proves age ain’t nothin’ but a number—and in a field that promotes adult education, that message has never been stronger.
While lynda.com currently offers a catalog of 5,700 courses and over 255,000 classes in four different languages, the Lynda of the future will be less “Learning French 101” and more “Tech Skills 2.0.” A hefty focus on workplace training means the site hopes to become a destination for those looking to increase employability, as well as organizations who want their employees to experience interactive, media-friendly training.
To those with their fingers on ed-Tech trends and overall pulse, it’s hardly surprising news. The natural evolution of the workplace from a set location to a virtual space has effectively catalyzed the need for highly-accessible, highly-adaptive training for employees. At the same time, those employees are leaning more heavily upon technical skills, which may or may not be a strong point. Add that to the skyrocketing price of a traditional four-year degree (Some 30K+, according to the National Center for Education Statistics) and employees are looking to do more with less.
The Natural eLearning Shift
It’s no wonder more and more are being straight into the inclusive arms of eLearning. Whether as a supplement to an existing degree or a method of expanding tech skills, employees are simply responding to the increased demands organizations ask of them.
As lynda.com responds to the rising demand of an alternative method for learning, the entire field gets a major boost from this second successful round of fundraising. Proving that the need is great, the interest is high, and the investors are willing can be enough for startups, small businesses, and newcomers alike to gain some confidence and traction in their own quests for relevancy.
While you might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, that old dog might be primed to teach the eLearning industry a thing or two. And, with $186 million in support for one of the mothers of modern online learning, it’s probably a great time to start listening.
Call it budget chic: Sometimes, you don’t have the resources to completely overhaul your closet just to match the trends. And when it comes to eLearning modules, chances are that working with a qualified instructional designer or e-Learning company has given you the good bones for a few updates, even if you don’t have the budget for something new altogether. A fresh look at what you already have (and a few accessories) might be enough to make you see your old module in a new, trend-forward way.
Playing Dress Up
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that modernizing your module requires a completely new one. By refashioning what you already have, you refresh your eLearning efforts without starting from scratch. Check out your graphics and images: Are there any ways you can “dress them up” with text, tweaking the photos or buying a few new images to replace outdated pictures? Even just adding images where there previously were none could dress up your existing module so it feels new.
Don’t forget to take a second look at your formatting, too. Large blocks of text or boring bulleted lists could be replaced with images or broken up with other media. Consider the module from the learner’s perspective: What are the least inspiring parts of the program and how could they become more engaging without a total overhaul?
A true fashionista knows that clothes are only part of the outfit: Accessories add the personality. And the same could be said for a woefully outdated eLearning program. Without the right accessories, you might be only doing half the job.
Think about ways to add some sparkle to your module. Like a well-placed statement necklace, better storytelling becomes the feature of the entire program. Even adding some stock animation or using templates for better formatting and flow finish off what might be a pretty standard module. Don’t be afraid to do a little bargain-hunting while you’re at it: Templates, quizzes and new pictures can be a cheap way to refashion and accessorize your current efforts.
Strut Your Stuff
Once you’ve added the right media and interactive components, try this trick: Film two videos – one for the beginning of the module and one for the end – as a way to “bookend” a drab module with a level of personalization. You don’t need a film team or a producer, just a clean backdrop and a camera to film a 30-second greeting to get learners engaged and a 30-second thank-you to acknowledge learners’ efforts.
Sure, you’ll probably need a new eLearning strategy in the future, but if you’re currently on a shoestring budget, you don’t have to resign yourself to an old, outdated module. Use your resources wisely and you’ll be able to refashion your program into something that’s totally on-trend.
It’s officially a done deal: Microsoft has acquired Swedish company Mojang, developers of the wildly popular sleeper hit, Minecraft for $2.5 billion dollars. And while it’s unlikely that the acquisition will change Minecraft gameplay, there’s a strong case to be made for Minecraft application in an eLearning setting. In fact, Microsoft might be making a play for gamification as an education tool, both inside and outside the classroom. By getting their hands on Minecraft, Microsoft uncovers some of the ways the game can be used for eLearning.
Minecraft in eLearning
Minecraft as a learning tool isn’t anything new: Many educators have adopted the game as curriculum in their classrooms. And why not? The game, which pushes players to complete tasks and build worlds based on 3D cubes teaches everything from problem-solving to spatial reasoning. The game’s interface and social capabilities mean players can work together while utilizing critical thinking skills. And, since young students are already playing the game, there’s virtually zero resistance to the material. But consider Minecraft from an L&D perspective: Sure, it’s popular in schools, but can Microsoft configure a way to use Minecraft for more than just K-12 applications? With the right development and application, Minecraft might make the leap from classroom to board room.
Development and Implementation
Before Minecraft can be used as a comprehensive tool, however, Microsoft needs to create some type of working learning management system for the game to be considered a viable training and education resource. When used in conjunction with an LMS, facilitators are able to see which users are playing, the skills being built and areas which need improvement. Without this significant piece of the L&D puzzle, Minecraft remains just another time-waster. With the addition of an LMS, the desktop, console and even smartphone version of the game becomes a tool in the hands of educators and L&D pros. Here’s the thing: Microsoft is already a big player in the education system—perhaps the largest player of all. After all, most kids learn digital technology on a Microsoft machine. By acquiring Minecraft (and learning how to use it for eLearning design and development within applications) Microsoft increases their grasp on the education system.
Microsoft’s Wide Open eLearning Future
It makes sense from a business standpoint to further solidify the educational grasp by marketing Minecraft as an eLearning game that can teach kids and adults alike about teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking skills at school and in the office. As of today, the acquisition is new and the ramifications can only be predicted. But you can be sure that Microsoft will max out the possibilities as they forge ahead with Minecraft now safely ensconced in their wheelhouse. It’s a major coup for an educational giant looking to expand reach for a new generation of learners – no matter what their ages.
You already know the facts: Custom eLearning is superior because it increases user engagement and offers the most control and creativity when it comes to content. But while those are definitely vital and worthy goals, there might be a few hidden benefits of custom eLearning that you’ve never considered. Besides the obvious increase in training and development efficacy, you might be surprised at benefits like brand alignment and reusable assets. The bottom line? Custom eLearning is the gift that keeps on giving.
1. Reusable Assets
Reduce, recycle and reuse: It’s the chant used by the environmentally conscious. But it could become the new motto for eLearning development, too. It’s true that most of your eLearning investment will come at the start of the project, but assets, templates and media can be used again and again, reducing your overall training costs.
Whether it’s a new template used for various training topics, or a stock photo library pulled together from your organization’s databases, custom eLearning lays the groundwork for a more automated, inexpensive process in the future. Unlike traditional courses, which require live teachers and near-constant restructuring, your custom eLearning templates and lessons can be used again and again to cut costs and create a smooth and constant experience for learners.
2. Renewed Interest
Some organizations believe that if it isn’t broken, you shouldn’t fix it. This attitude is applied to eLearning, resulting in heritage training programs being used for years with little more than quick updates. But what these organizations don’t understand is that while the subject matter and delivery system might be solid, it’s their user engagement levels that are broken.
When the same training modules are used repeatedly for years, it creates a disconnect between learners – particularly those who have experienced the material before. Instead of engaging with the module, they click through without really absorbing the information. When presented with better-designed and more engaging eLearning, learners are apt to sit up and take notice, increasing their absorption and renew their interest in the subject matter.
3. Brand Alignment
Consider a glossy fashion brand: The marketing team goes to great lengths to present the brand as high-end, polished and trend-forward. Advertisements and social networking reflect that image. But somehow, when creating training materials, the same high-gloss fashion brand offers a lackluster PowerPoint presentation for their learners. The brand and the eLearning don’t add up.
Custom eLearning means the ability to ensure that your outward- and inward-facing reputations align. With a more tailored experience, your internal training matches your external investment to protect your brand integrity and create a seamless transition from marketing materials to training and development throughout the organization.
Custom eLearning means the ability to address your organization’s unique needs. Unfortunately, heritage or one-size-fits-all solutions don’t always give you the control over user experience, brand alignment and media that you could have with custom eLearning. An investment well worth your time, you’ll be surprised at just how far custom solutions can reach.