Archives For E-Learning

This Category is Steve Sadler’s collection of ELearning Blogs.

Exposure to Closure - by Stephen Sadler

Exposure to Closure - by Stephen Sadler

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Social media marketing, pay per click, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, search engine optimization…what does it all mean and why should you even care?

We all know that the economic meltdown of 2009 was tough to deal with for everyone. Even the seemingly invincible banking and insurance sector was almost brought to its knees. What was also interesting and not so highly publicized was how the recession also affected the marketing sector.

Many large marketing firms, especially here in the Detroit Metropolitan area are now gone. It’s not very often you see large marketing firms just close up shop, especially when marketing is so important to gaining exposure for new products and services.

Global competition is tough, so is it possible that companies can no longer afford expensive multi-million dollar marketing and ad campaigns? What about smaller companies, can they even afford to pop $10-25k on traditional marketing techniques every year?

So what if expensive old school marketing is partly responsible for the continued recession due to our inability to cost-effectively compete?
As with everything problematic, necessity is the mother of invention and on the forefront of our recovery is Social Media Marketing.

Living in Michigan for the last 15 years, I know many people that have been laid off and are starting new businesses. So I wanted to help by giving new entrepreneurs a few tips and tools to help them succeed in today’s rapidly changing hi-tech world.

I was always fascinated by how Jesus taught through real life stories called parables. I wrote this book in story format so you will experience firsthand how my wife and I started a business, and successfully and cost-effectively marketed a product even in the most trying of times. The story starts back in 1983 and includes the 2003 inception and growth of Scate Technologies, Inc., the launch and continued success of Scate’s popular social media technology Scate Ignite, IgniteCAST.com, Screentweet.com and Buztweet.com.

I hope you enjoy it.

Stephen Sadler

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Exposure to Closure - by Stephen Sadler

Exposure to Closure - by Stephen Sadler

Social media marketing, pay per click, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, search engine optimization…what does it all mean and why should you even care?

We all know that the economic meltdown of 2009 was tough to deal with for everyone. Even the seemingly invincible banking and insurance sector was almost brought to its knees. What was also interesting and not so highly publicized was how the recession also affected the marketing sector.

Many large marketing firms, especially here in the Detroit Metropolitan area are now gone. It’s not very often you see large marketing firms just close up shop, especially when marketing is so important to gaining exposure for new products and services.

Global competition is tough, so is it possible that companies can no longer afford expensive multi-million dollar marketing and ad campaigns? What about smaller companies, can they even afford to pop $10-25k on traditional marketing techniques every year?

So what if expensive old school marketing is partly responsible for the continued recession due to our inability to cost-effectively compete?
As with everything problematic, necessity is the mother of invention and on the forefront of our recovery is Social Media Marketing.

Living in Michigan for the last 15 years, I know many people that have been laid off and are starting new businesses. So I wanted to help by giving new entrepreneurs a few tips and tools to help them succeed in today’s rapidly changing hi-tech world.

I was always fascinated by how Jesus taught through real life stories called parables. I wrote this book in story format so you will experience firsthand how my wife and I started a business, and successfully and cost-effectively marketed a product even in the most trying of times. The story starts back in 1983 and includes the 2003 inception and growth of Scate Technologies, Inc., the launch and continued success of Scate’s popular social media technology Scate Ignite, IgniteCAST.com, Screentweet.com and Buztweet.com.

I hope you enjoy it.

Stephen Sadler

During the last eight years my company (Scate) conducted extensive research and testing on many types of corporate training systems and tools. Scate found that the problem with these systems is not instruction, but the speed to delivery of new and changing content.

In many cases, the corporate training departments we studied were not providing a return on investment and in many cases were not even completing training projects on time or under budget.

As many of you already know, corporate training is first thing to be slashed during hard times. So Scate’s goal has been to find or build something truly revolutionary, that would not only provide solid instructional design, but also allow our clients to stay in business. Scate Ignite and IgniteCAST.com are part of that long term vision.

There are many decent learning systems, but in my humble opinion many are bloated and definitely not geared towards speed to delivery. I see many systems actually getting more complex and feature rich, thus forcing students to learn the system when the focus should be on the content.

I keep remembering what an old teacher once said to me “you achieve elegance in design when there is no more to be removed!”.

In today’s crazy world of buyouts, attrition, layoffs, early retirements, what are companies doing to capture and disseminate knowledge to the remaining or upcoming workforce?

It seems like we keep reinventing the wheel over and over again.

What do you think?

If you read my previous blog about eLearning, then you already know that I have been creating software tools for knowledge capture and sharing (i.e. SCATE Ignite) for over 15 years. Once a college adjunct professor and the Director of Engineering for a large automotive supplier, I have always been amazed by the disconnect between college education, formal corporate training, and on the job knowledge sharing.

All three of these approaches are required to produce the best employees, but unfortunately, due to our culture of empire building, bridging the gap between these elements has been quite difficult.

In addition to running a company I also coach team sports.  So let’s for a minute compare a company to an athletic team (i.e. football or my favorite ice hockey). To build a strong team, a coach must first find highly trained athletes that possess the fundemental skills. This is like hiring gradutes from college with good grades. Then these players are trained within a system, similar to learning a business process within a company. Finally they are expected to perform as a collective unit, passing (sharing), scoring (completing tasks) and finally winning (closing).

Unfortunately, many companies especially in the US do not run in this manner. It seems that we try to hire the best from college, train them on the business processes and then provide an environment where they build their own little empire. In many cases employees are afraid to share their knowledge with others due to the insecurity of losing their job. I have worked within many environments where one department would not provide adequate information to others just for the sake of losing control. This will kill a company’s efficiency and productivity.

Let me ask you this, how many athletes that don’t pass the ball or puck make the pros? This is simple..NONE. Successful teams do not often win on the shoulders of one person. It requires working together for the collective success of the team.

So if a business is exactly the same as a team, then how do we get people within a company to work together and share knowledge?

Well first you need to change the company mindset. This needs to be mandated from the top, just like the Coach of any team. If the Coach doesn’t push the issue of passing (sharing) the ball (knowledge and information) then the players (employees) will not respond in a coordinated team effort.

Secondly, once mandated, a company needs a process and system where employees can easily share knowledge. Wiki’s and Learning Management system’s (LMS) are good, however, with the emergence of social networking technology like the knowledge and media sharing sites igniteCAST.com, chrysler.ignitecast.com, the industry is raising the bar.

Finally companies need to recognize and reward employees that make conscious effort to contribute and share their knowledge.

Funny concept..rewarding people for working together, instead of just for their individual accomplishments!

I welcome your comments.

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Tecnhologies, Inc.

In November of 2006, I was asked to be on a panel at the Detroit ASTD. The topic was in “Using ELearning Internationally” and the panel was moderated by Detroit ASTD President Jerry Kaminski.  

The first question that was posed to the panel was… “How do we know that eLearning is effective?”

When it was my turn to speak, I had to the answer the question with another question, “What do you mean by effective?”

You see to understand effective eLearning we must break it down into the following four areas:

1. Effective Delivery – Did the student receive and understand the information that meets the
training objective?

This is usually measured using pre and post testing, however monitoring related Key Performance Indicators (KPI) can really take it to another level. For example, if the topic was “Sales Training” then the monitored KPI after training would include sales performance, profit performance, support call performance indicators. If these indicators increased within a defined time span of the training, then one could say that the increase was due to the training. From my past experience, KPI monitoring is a far better measurement of effective training than just testing.

2. Effective eLearning Development – Did you create the eLearning content so it meets the training need, objective and timing? 

ELearning is not effective if it takes over a week to create one hour of eLearning that contains content that changes daily. ELearning is also not effective if content gathering and course creation is rushed to the point that it affects quality and accuracy.

3. Effective Change Management – Are you able to change the content quickly enough to keep up
with our ever changing world?

4. Cost Effective – Did you meet the training objective and budget?

Summary

After 15 years of building on-line courses and eLearning tools (i.e. SCATE Ignite Professional) it has become very clear to me that creating effective eLearning is like running a successful business. It is a balance between speed to customer, quality of goods, reaction to change and cost.

In many cases, internal company training organizations do not operate in this fashion. For example, highly paid Instructional System Designers or ISD’s are quite often turned into graphic designers, Flash professionals and web gurus. ISD’s were meant to oversee the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) of the System Approach to Training (SAT). These types of individuals are very important to the overall process and should NOT be used for duties such as content building and SME interviewing.

In addition, many companies do not select the right eLearning development process or software tools required to handle the job. For example, using a corporate training group to capture tips, tricks and FAQs for departments, would not be very cost effective. In this case, rapid eLearning methodology should of been used along side rapid eLearning software tools.

Please remember the goal of eLearning is to get accurate and easy to understand information to the learner in a timely and cost effective manner. Therefore, eLearning can only be determined effective, if all of these objectives are met.

I would appreciate you comment on this subject.

Thanks for reading.

Steve Sadler
CEO/President
SCATE Technologies, Inc