Spreading the e-Learning Word (Part 1) by mklofurno

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									Spreading the e-Learning Word (Part 1)
By David Boggs, CEO and Founder of SyberWorks, Inc. In the first of a two part series, Dave Boggs talks about using various techniques to promote your e-Learning program. The Web is where many of our customers and users will increasingly “live” for their information needs. This means that anything we do to both deliver e-Learning and spread the word about our products and services “over the Cloud” will both serve our audiences and build our businesses. Most of us already deliver e-Learning over the Web in a variety of ways, but the following Web channels also may be used to promote our products and services:      Search engines Web blogs Webinars Wikis YouTube

These are all places where your e-Learning business can live on the Web to good advantage. But people must first be able to find you there. So let’s first discuss: Search Engines Remember when your parents bought their first encyclopedia, to bring the world’s knowledgebase into your home? How times have changed. Now, the Web itself is the world’s knowledgebase, and engines like Google are its keyword-searchable Index. In a very real sense, if an e-Learning product or service isn’t widely present (and readily found) on the Web, it doesn’t exist. Why do I add “readily found”? Because peoples’ willingness to wade through masses of text (and pages of Google hits) is limited. So even if you do have a Web presence, you also need to worry about where you show up in browser search results. Even I rarely venture past the first three pages of Google hits. So in effect, three Google pages (about 36 items) is my personal Search Horizon. And if your firm’s products or services fall beyond it in my searches, then you’ve fallen off the edge of my informational world. I won’t know you exist until a different search pulls you inside my Search Horizon. And the key to making that happen is to broaden your presence on the Web, increase your organization’s “hit rate,” and raise your position in search-result lists. This article and the next will help you do just that, by promoting yourself on as many different Web sites as are appropriate for your products and marketing plans.

Web Blogs Blogs are basically online chat rooms about specific topics. Google any area of interest to you, your company, or its markets, and you’ll probably find online blogs that are already discussing it. Track those that seem well targeted to your markets. Watch them. And as much as possible, throw in your own expert comments, advice, and product links. Or if you see a need, consider starting your own targeted blog. Every time you post a blog comment (or use any of the other web sites we’ll discuss), you add a tiny piece to your presence on the Web. Google and other browsers can find these pieces, and by scattering as many of them across the Web as possible, you’ll gradually draw yourself into potential customers’ Search Horizons. Webinars “Web-based seminars” are done in so many ways, using so many technologies, that a summary cannot do them justice. They’re like Online, Instructor-Led classes, delivered in real-time to free or paying customers or prospects. They may be lectures, workshops, or presentations delivered across the Web, and usually involve audience interaction (which differentiates them from “webcasts”). Just Google “webinar” and you’ll find millions of links about them and specific webinar offerings. But also examine your own LMS/LCMS system. It may already include webconferencing capabilities that you can use to deliver your own webinars to both prospects and customers, both quickly and inexpensively. The bottom line here (as elsewhere) is that if your products or services lend themselves to promotion via webinars, consider trying them. Wikis When you Google a topic of interest to you, your company, or its markets, you’ll frequently find related Wikis at or near the top of your results. That’s because so many other people have found and viewed them. So when you do, check them out. And if you see anything blatantly incomplete or incorrect in them, fix it, and make sure your firm’s name and products are at least mentioned in your addition. (By definition, you can edit most Wikis once you “join” them.) Who knows, you may even decide to write and post your own Wiki. Either way, you’ll expand your firm’s promotion and presence on the Web, and make it easier for existing and potential customers to find you there. YouTube This is a great place to make promotional videos available for anyone around the world to view. More can be said about this than a short article permits. And not all

e-Learning products lend themselves to promotional videos. But if your products or services could be promoted through short videos, then get to know YouTube. The above are only a few of the more “mainstream” Web avenues for getting your organization and its e-Learning products before your audiences. In Part 2, we’ll explore some less obvious channels, ones that you might not have considered!

About the Author: David Boggs is the Founder and CEO of SyberWorks, Inc. (http://www.syberworks.com) in Waltham, Massachusetts. He has been involved with computer and web-based training for more than twenty years. Before founding SyberWorks, Dave was the VP of Sales and Business Development for Relational Courseware. He holds a BS in Physics from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. About SyberWorks, Inc.: SyberWorks, Inc. (http://www.syberworks.com) is a leader in the custom e-Learning Solutions and Learning Management System/Learning Content Management System (LMS/LCMS) industries for Fortune 1000 corporations, law enforcement, healthcare, and other industries. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, the company serves the multibillion-dollar e-Learning market. Since 1995, SyberWorks has developed and delivered unique and economical solutions to create, manage, measure, and improve e-Learning programs at companies and organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and around the world.


								
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