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Jonkaye
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You ended your post talking about giving ad money to journalists, and I agree somewhat. Journalists still need good source materials from which to derive their stories. Since I believe that training content can make great seed material for social media around the company's products -- after all, isn't training content about showing how to solve problems/issues the product/service is aimed at? -- I would invest a good portion of the ad money into ensuring stellar training content production. Nice article!
Another great post, Ardath, it is really encouraging to hear your thoughts and insights. They confirm my hypothesis about the value of marketing content putting prospects into an experience, rather than just shouting at them. Christina was asking about what do you do if you don't have a story yet. From my perspective, I believe this is a big opportunity to re-purpose training content for a marketing application -- after all, training content should be about solving real problems that customers (and future customers will) have. I am particularly inclined to using product simulations to create an authentic experience, essentially putting prospects in their own success story, some ideas I toss around on my blog, http://www.eqsim.com/blog/.
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Excellent, concise post about these important differences. Of course the e-learning designer perspective is somewhat stereotypical, but I completely agree that your analysis applies to the vast majority of e-learning being produced today (and yesterday, and the day before, and so on, and probably into the future as well). I have found that when trainers are responsible for directing the output, the focus shifts from 'can the learner perform' to 'the learner needs to know about such-and-such'. Even the tests created reflect this objective: mostly recall of information presented during the training. When I consult with clients about producing training for equipment (and now product marketing), I am constantly running into the traditional mindset about simply presenting the facts. Boring, and most importantly, difficult to apply in the field! Rather, present materials in a challenge format, and remediate in several stages if the learner is not getting it. To be an even-handed basher (not just e-learning designers), I should point out the video game creators and technology enthusiasts tend to swing too far the other way. My feeling is that they need to inject too much entertainment or technology, which, if not designed properly instructionally, can weaken the learning. I've also talked with several manufacturers who want to create "games" to engage and teach customers, but they put the fun and interactive part over the learning objectives. For example, a game that features a product, but the use of that manufacturer's product is incidental -- it could be any of their competitors as well. Who remembers the 'viral videos' like the make-your-elven-head (I think Office Depot, or OfficeMax) but people forgot who it was produced for, or even thought it was made by a competitor (Staples)? In any event, great insight and great post. Thanks!
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Dec 28, 2009