2 Replies Latest reply on Nov 3, 2010 7:18 AM by AT013795

    Training materials for new community members... what's your approach?

      What's your strategy for training new community members on social networking tools that drive business objectives? Looking forward to hearing the variety of perspectives on this topic!


      • Do you create how to's for...
        a. Every functionality no matter the level of complexity (intuitive to me isn't always intuitive to the audience)
        b. Only functionality that isn't immediately intuitive
        c. Never based on functionality, always based on how this functionality is used to drive a process or achieve a business result


      • Format used...
        a. Videos
        b. Text
        c. Video and text... let the learner decide which medium they prefer/their system performance will handle


      • Maintaining accuracy...
        How do you keep track of what updates need to be made when the end user experience is upgraded?


      • Marketing...
        How do you make sure new community members are aware that they can search/find relevant training materials when they need assistance?
        • Re: Training materials for new community members... what's your approach?

          Some thoughts:


          • We've created an index of How To documents, which range from high-level to very basic, as we have a range of familiarity with social software among our audience members.
          • Our How Tos are text right now—but I'd love to do short videos.
          • As for updating per version upgrades—great question! We don't have a system yet, but I can see mapping functions to tags, and tagging help docs/videos to reflect what functions they cover, and when the function changes via an upgrade, searching for the related tags to find the material that will need to be updated.
          • We have a Help Center sub-community where we can centralize technical questions and problems (monitored by hosts).
          • We have a Professional Development sub-community for training materials (PD happens to be part of our business model so that was a given, but it works really well to focus all training docs and conversations in one spot).


          Hope this helps!

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Training materials for new community members... what's your approach?

              Thanks for the feedback!  We're in the same boat on a lot of your points! It's good to feel like we're on the right track.


              Can you tell me more about the Professional Development sub-community? Is that all professional development for your organization PLUS training materials for new community members? Or just PD for the community? That excites me because the concept of advancing the members skills/comfort level with social media is associated with professional development... which gives the impression that everyone will need to learn and grow more experienced, like any other facet of PD.


              Regarding videos, happy to share what we've experienced as we've been using both video and text since the launch of our internal communities in 2008.


              • Leverages 2 learning styles - learn by listening, and by watching someone else do it (both of which text do not impact).
              • Quick learning - often times, playing a 2 min video teaches you more quickly than reading the equivalent training doc with screenshots.
              • Viral - lots of teams have done spin off quick training by capturing on video and posting in their communities. We  might be capturing more intellectual capital because videos are fun and easy.


              • Audience technical capabilities - internally we have no problems playing videos as needed, but our external communities have challenges of making sure they have flash plugins, bandwidth to play a video smoothly, etc.
              • Theme changes - Screenshots in training materials usually crop to the function that's highlighted, while videos often times capture a full screen. So if updates are made to things around the function in the training material, it becomes a question of "Do I update the video since everything around it has drastically changed, but the training concept hasn't?" We recently experienced this - roughly 15 videos and 85 documents are being reviewed and updated where it seems like the surrounding content will cause confusion because it doesn't match the learner's current experience. That's resource heavy, considering if they were screenshots cropped to the function, we wouldn't even have to consider whether to update or not. I think the key here is asking how frequently theme changes are made in your community.


              Thanks again for sharing, I'll keep you posted if we discover any golden nuggets related to training materials!


              Message was edited by: Amelia Phillips