Custom eLearning Development

What can Twitter Teach us about E-learning?

Twitter is a global force in social media.  Its signature, all posts must be 140 characters or less.  Twitter tapped into the human psyche and found something that resonated with human nature in a big way.  We want information fast, relevant to our interests and delivered, small easy to consume bites.  From this very simple concept Twitter has become something bigger than anyone could have imagined.  From being a news source to a conversation forum, twitter has a place for everyone.  Celebrities and businesses alike are able to tap into this social force and target specific niche audiences with their bite sized messages.

What can the e-learning world learn from Twitter?  Twitter taps into human nature and the message is clear.    Find your niche, understand your audience and deliver information in small easy to digest chunks.  E-learning should be no different.

Every piece of e-learning content developed should be looked at like your business.  What is your niche?  Anyone who is successful on Twitter, by successful I mean has a significant number of followers, has a niche.   The people who choose to follow them do so because that person provides the with a specific type of information.  For example, I follow Adam Schefter of ESPN because I know he is going to post information about player and team deals in the National Football League.  He has carved a niche for himself on Twitter as a news source for NFL information.  How can you apply this to e-learning?  It comes back to an article I wrote, called Go Niche or Go Home, where I discussed that in order to be successful in business you need to find your niche.  In order for your e-learning initiatives to have some teeth with your intended audience you must first understand your niche as a business and apply that philosophy to your e-learning.  If you want your e-learning to be successful it must be in line with the tenets of the niche you are serving.  By fully understanding your niche and applying those principles to your e-learning initiatives whether they are internal or consumer facing you will have set the foundation for success.

Once you have a clear understanding of your niche, you must fully understand that audience and what they expect from you.  I follow Adam Schefter for NFL news, I do not expect or want his views on politics.  I will go elsewhere for that information.  The audience in your niche is unique, which is why you have selected that niche.  You understand who they are, how they think and most importantly what is valuable to them.  Apply these principles to your e-learning and it will become a part of your business culture.  It will be the go to resource for information about your company.  Speak to the desires of that audience, use their language and imagery.  Make it feel like it was built only to serve them.

Finally, keep it short.  Twitter is recognized as the social network that delivers information in 140 characters or less.  I am not saying your e-learning has to be 140 characters, but I am saying that it is human nature to want things quickly and easily consumable.  Keep information in your e-learning practical and tactical, focusing on your business objective.  Don’t stray from the tenets of your niche.  Be clear and concise providing valuable information that helps the user improve in the area they are learning about.

E-learning is a globally recognized tool for delivering training, information and education to a user base.  Twitter is a social network globally recognized by providing information in 140 characters or less.  Both are broad, general and have the ability to be used by anyone, but their success in on the inside.  The ability to create a niche, relate to that audience and deliver information in a quick tactical manner.  Keep the fundamentals of Twitter in mind next time you tackle and e-learning project and see if there is a difference.

Go niche or go home

Every business has to find their niche, it is difficult to find success trying to be all things to all people.  Last year I read the 4 Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferris, he had a quote in the book, “Go niche or go home.”  The basic premise being that you will find much more success marketing and selling your product to a specific niche group rather than trying to market and sell to the masses.  This is a theory that we have put into practice quite extensively at Resolutions, that quote was validation, and has pushed us even further in that direction.

The E-learning industry is a highly competitive and saturated marketplace.  As with anything there have been industries that were early adapters to e-learning technology and there are those that are still new to the game.  Our charge, as with any business, is to find our place in the mix.  We decided early on that “Go niche or go home” is a good strategy for us, but how would we find our niche?  As often happens in business you go where you find an opportunity, our first opportunity was in the aviation industry.  The market had few competitors, plenty of available market share and most importantly we were able to partner with someone who is an industry expert in that market.  7 years later Safety and Security Instruction (SSi), a partnership between Resolutions ownership and AviaEd (aviation training company out of Tucson), is now an undisputed leader in the development of e-learning software and course ware solutions for general aviation airports both nationally and internationally.

Most importantly, that niche helped us find our way as an e-learning company.  We realized quickly our software solutions and instructional design methodologies are not the right fit for everyone, but in our niche we are best in class and an industry leader.  As a result our product has evolved and grown based on specific feedback and business use cases in that industry.  It has also allowed us to build an internal formula which we can use to identify other vertical industry segments that fit our company.  Now, as much as we look for new clients, we look for industry verticals that meet our criteria.  Niche markets where we know we can have success utilizing the tools we have developed at our company.

What’s your niche?  I look forward to some discussion on this topic.

A unique perspective

Welcome to the Resolutions blog.  This has been a long time coming, I thoroughly look forward to writing and exchanging ideas with clients, prospects and partners in this space.  My goal for this blog is to provide perspective.  Resolutions is in the e-learning business, we develop courseware and software programs specifically to be delivered and consumed online in a learning environment.  I guess that makes us an e-learning company, but I think what sets us apart, and why I have a hard time calling us an e-learning company, is our perspective.  We have all the tools you would find at an e-learning company, an instructional design team, animators, graphic designers, video people and programmers, but the difference is our leadership, and our perspective on business as it applies to the e-learning world.

Let’s get this out of the way now, we are not academics and don’t see the world through that lens.  We are business people, entrepreneurs at the core.  Marrying opportunity to our core business is the thrill for us.  Our perspective makes us, our company, our product and our clients unique.  I have the unique opportunity to be on the people side of the business which has given me unique perspective.  Bottom line is I want to share insights into our business, our clients and our industry.  I hope to have some help along the way.  The worst thing that can happen is that this will evolve into being completely about me and only my perspective.  I am going to strive for contribution from my colleagues and most importantly my clients, obviously valuable perspective to me, hopefully you as well.

What’s your perspective?  I look forward to hearing from you.