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Tag Archives: marketing

Making the Square Round

I started this M.Ed. program three years ago. At the time, I wanted to make a career change and find a job in corporate training, something I had dabbled in previously providing product training to the sales teams I supported. Since then, I have gone back and forth about whether it is really a corporate environment I want or maybe an academic setting where I can put my adult education training to work. All the while, though, it has been a trainer/teacher position I imagined.  This semester, however, has shown me that there are many more opportunities in adult ed than just being the one facilitating the education.

In my 20+ years in marketing, I have worn a lot of hats — writer, editor, event planner, agency liaison, public relations coordinator, web site content manager, and campaign result analyzer, often all under the same job title. Marketing isn’t just a job, it’s many jobs. And like so many other comparisons I’ve blogged about over the past few years, here again marketing and adult education parallel. Through the design challenge projects we’ve worked on this semester, I have seen that as an adult educator, I am likely to wear many hats again — trainer, developer, designer, scheduler, platform evaluator, provider of tech support as well as some of my familiar roles as writer, editor, and event planner.

To be honest, this is not a completely new realization, as I had stumbled across this SlideShare presentation last year. However, this semester is, as some of my classmates have noted, a capstone course in our chosen track of educational technology, which is making me realize how close I am to being ready to find a job in my new chosen field. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a scary realization. Not scary in the sense that being an adult educator means so many different things, because I’m used to that in marketing. What’s scary is trying to show a potential employer that while none of these job titles appear on my resume, I can be an asset to their team as an instructional designer, instructional developer, eLearning technologist, or project manager.

Actually, that last title is on my resume, but it has the words “marketing communications” in front of it. Much of my past experience does transfer nicely into adult education, but it’s going to take a little work on my part to convince a potential employer of that. To that end, I am glad to have the diversity of projects this semester to gain experience on real-world problems working with people in the field I desire to be in. Merging the goal of this class with that of last semester’s class: experience + my PLN = (I hope) my foot in the door.

I am the square pegMore so than my resume, my blog has become the showcase for what I can do. Therefore, I respectfully submit this little corner of the web as evidence that I can be an effective member of your learning team. While you can find plenty of applicants with work experience that fits exactly with the role you’re hiring for, I believe that my academic studies plus myriad experience demonstrate the adaptability and intelligence that are not only needed in this role, but are also essential as the organization grows and faces new opportunities and challenges. I look forward to hearing from you to schedule a time to discuss my application.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in ADLT 642

 

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Marketers from Mars

I was reading a report this week put out by ExactTarget called Marketers from Mars.  It described how marketing professionals tend to be on the cutting edge of technology, trying to discover the next best way to connect with their customers.  The report cautioned that marketers should remember that even though they are on Twitter and they pay attention to ads on Facebook, the averages consumer isn’t and doesn’t.  Bear with me while I share a couple paragraphs from the summary section of the report:

Decades ago, marketers were not explorers. They dealt only in the well-settled lands of television, radio, and print. Their form of social media was a three-martini lunch.

Today, however, every marketer must have a streak of restlessness and willingness to embrace the new. The challenge is how to balance new technologies with those that consumers use. Indeed, the best marketers will be those who can keep one eye on the future while meeting the needs of today’s audiences, seizing the opportunities of today’s devices, and navigating the evolving rules of today’s channels.

It got me thinking… not about marketing, but about educational technology.  I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I have an account for Learnist, Prezi, Mural.ly, and as of today, for Gliffy, too.  I have created voice threads and screencats.  I write a blog, and I follow several blogs.  I dig Diigo.  So I have a lot of tools at my disposal when it comes to creating an instructional design, but does the typical adult learner even know what half of those things are?

Go back and re-read that excerpt above, substituting “educators” for “marketers” and “learners” for “consumers.”  With the exception of the three-martini lunch (and maybe even that fits?), those paragraphs could have just as easily been written about today’s evolving education landscape of hybrid classes, mobile learning, and MOOCs.

As I sit down this weekend to work on a design for a new adult learning theory class aimed as busy, overworked, and non-digital native medical educators, what is going to be the best use of technology to create a meaningful learning experience?  Should I focus on the technologies they are already familiar (maybe even comfortable) with, or do I push the boundaries just a bit to stretch their thinking about what tools might be useful in their own teaching?

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Source: rorc.research.va.gov

I’m leaning toward the latter, in part because I have truly enjoyed being introduced to so many new technologies, but also because the students these medical educators are teaching do embrace technology, and I think it will enhance the educators’ effectiveness with those digital natives to meet them where they are.  Again, referring to the Martian marketers, “When marketers are considering all options for their cross-channel marketing strategies, they should not only be thinking ahead, but also maintaining a connection to how today’s consumer are behaving and reacting online.”

Commencing countdown, engines on… look out, Mars. Here we come!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in ADLT 642

 

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Big Data? Big Whoop.

big data

Image sourced from Technorati.com

Score another similarity between marketing and adult education — both seem inordinately enamored with big data these days.

In marketing it’s all about dashboards and return on investment (ROI).  According to one marketing blog, big data provides “better insight about customers, the ability to more precisely segment customers into meaningful groups, and target offers with a higher degree of response. Big data is particularly relevant for predictive analytics where the goal is to model the intention or propensity of a buyer to purchase.”

In education, the growing interest in massive open online courses, or MOOCs, seems to be generating as much stir about big data as it is about what students might actually be learning in these courses.  Nick Carr writes:

Delivering a complex class to thousands of people simultaneously demands a high degree of automation. Many of the labor-intensive tasks traditionally performed by professors and teaching assistants—grading tests, tutoring, moderating discussions—have to be done by computers. Advanced analytical software is also required to parse the enormous amounts of information about student behavior collected during the classes. By using algorithms to spot patterns in the data, programmers hope to gain insights into learning styles and teaching strategies, which can then be used to refine the technology further.

These quotes are just examples of a glut of writing on the subject — some pro, some con — but my point is simply this:  Big data is big business.  My goal is not to choose right or wrong or prove the value of big data, but I do want to caution you not to get too caught up in what Tim Suther calls “a tsunami of data.”  Pick your favorite idiom, whether it’s everything in moderation or don’t miss the forest for the trees.  Heck, there is even a country song about missing What Mattered Most.  I tend to call it analysis paralysis.  You slice and dice the data until it either says anything you want it to… or nothing at all.  And then what do you do with it?

Christa Carone is the Chief Marketing Officer at Xerox.  She was quoted in a recent article on Forbes.com saying, “I wouldn’t want to give up the data that helps us make fact-based decisions quickly. But I fear that marketers’ access to and obsession with measuring everything takes away from the business of real marketing.”  She went on to say, “It’s impossible to measure ‘squishier’ meaningful intangibles, such as human emotion, personal connection and the occasional ‘ahhhh’ moment.”

May I be so bold as to say she could just have easily been talking about teaching and learning?

I didn’t get into marketing to be a number cruncher.  I got into marketing because I had a decent ability to communicate a particular message to a particular audience.  It’s not that I mind having some data to tell me if I’m hitting my mark, but I don’t want to spend all day looking at the numbers and miss the opportunity to make that personal connection.  And as adult educators — whether continuing studies instructor, facilitator, or corporate trainer — how many of us would choose refining the technology over seeing a student have that ahhhh moment?

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in ADLT 641

 

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