Do As Marketing Does – Part 3 Channels

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It is very clear that the changes that will impact learning and development in 2017 and beyond will require very different skills than what we depended upon in the past.   We need to look to other fields for practices we can borrow.  Learning from our colleagues will not only accelerate our abilities to serve our learners and organizations better, but the collaboration will enhance our efforts to integrate with the businesses we serve.

In 6 Things That Learning Professionals Can Learn from Marketers, Todd Kasenberg provides ideas that we can learn from our colleagues in Marketing.  I think he’s dead on with these suggestions.  The 6 things are:

  1. Address learner motivations to get engagement
  2. Be relevant
  3. Get your channels right
  4. Manage cognitive load
  5. Get then trying out (“trialling”) behaviors quickly
  6. Anticipate and handle the objections

Over the next six days, I’m going to flesh out each of these topics and how they fit into the work we do in Learning and Development.

Get your channels right

Marketers know that you match the message to the stage of the buying cycle, and then figure out what channels will get the message delivered most effectively. There are whole toolsets that help marketers figure out “channels” and “channel enablement”.

Kasenberg isn’t very articulate in making his point on this concept, but he’s right.  Marketing, particularly social media marketing, has the understanding to deep drill on customer data to understand which channels speak to each customer.  We all witness now with the ads that are delivered to us in every online environment we work in.

The know the right time to post the right content to the right sites to enhance their exposure to the right customers.  Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer help them schedule engagements with their customers.

L&D understands that there are multiple channels to deliver.  A recent #lrnchat Twitter Chat was dedicated to discussing how multiple channels will impact our work in 2017.  But many of us have fallen into an assumption that delivering to multiple channels means delivering the same content to each channel so that learners will have the same experience regardless of how they access it.

I believe this is missing the mark.  I blame part of it on responsive design efforts that assure content renders well on any device – desktop, tablet or phone.  When content needs to be rendered across all platforms, responsive design is awesome.  But not all content needs to be rendered across all platforms.

Devices aren’t the only channels available to us.  Email, enterprise social networks, communities of practice, newsletters, manager’s team messages, any form of communication in the organization could be a channel for learning.

We need to get to a point where we develop our learning experiences to be multi-modal delivering different bits of content, assessment, review, and reinforcement in different channels that we know will have the best possible impact.  Imagine if we created a microlearning module on team communication and used the company calendaring system to know when each individual was heading into a team meeting and sent the module to them 1/2 an hour before their meeting.

There are folks like Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping and Catherine Lombardozzi’s Learning Environment Design Framework that are leading the way, but overall we have much to learn and our social media marketing colleagues have solutions that we should be borrowing.

Next: Do as Marketing Does – Part 4  Manage Cognitive Load

What do you think?

  • Do you use multiple channels to drive learning?  Which ones?
  • What’s the coolest experience you’ve had using non-standard channels?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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