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.