Friday, April 15

Customer Loyalty for Learners? How weird!

I love the stream of consciousness effect imparted by linking from one blog to another. It reminds me of the best part of the best classroom discussions; making new connections. Let me try to recreate a recent experience in a way that you can share.

One minute I'm reading the Furrygoat experience (found because long ago I used his PocketFeed PocketPC RSS reader), the next minute I'm linked to Kathy Sierra (from the Head First books) for a discussion of thank you's for customer loyalty. Evidently she has a thing for trendy eyeglasses, to which I can not relate, having recently turned 40 and only acquired my first pair. However, her local eyeglass store could relate and she was duly rewarded.

I started thinking about how people will wear university hats, t-shirts, sweaters, cheer for teams... long after the learning experience. Will we ever see this for Capella and University of Phoenix or Thompson NETg? What about the elearning in our own organization?

Why? Why not! How can we 'brand' e-learning and bond with our learners, like say Notre Dame? I've never been tempted to paint say a Macromedia logo on my niece's face, but maybe that's just me.

Does anyone contribute to an alumni fund because of one teacher or experience? It is clearly a branded, larger experience. music fades in, playing Beach Boys "Wouldn't it be nice". Is there some way to instill this into our elearning even if our elearning comes from a variety of sources and covers all sorts of content? Top-notch universities accomplish it with a wide range of content and various sub-contractors they call professors.

That's a long enough post for a first timer. I hope you take the time to surf Kathy's blog and read entries like, "Most classroom learning sucks" or "Getting past the brain's crap filter." Sometimes it is nice to think about elearning while you're not really reading about it.

14 comments:

dave test said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Godfrey Parkin said...

"How can we 'brand' e-learning and bond with our learners, like say Notre Dame?"

It is the experience that is the brand, and the substance of the experience is in what happens in the white space between the lectures and the formal learning, as well as what happens to that informal experience when it's laid down for a few years to ferment.

Nobody ever got nostalgic about a class. The people in the class, yes. The experience of discussing the class and discovering that knowledge gets tastier when percolated through conversation, yes. Both of these we can replicate with well-designed e-learning. One thing we can't yet replicate is the sense of place. Some computer games do that quite well, but most online learning takes place in some kind of sterile limbo.

A brand without an emotive appeal at its heart is merely a logo. We have a long way to go in the way we market e-learning.

Godfrey Parkin

Meir Navon said...

Just out of curiosity why was the first post deleted? Is it some kind of censorship??

Clark Aldrich said...

School loyalty doesn't just happen. Universities use complex and sophisticated techniques to turn nostalgia into loyalty into donations. Often times, like with football and other sports teams, it comes at the expense of academics.

This needed money continues to subsidize what is often a wasteful system.

Having said all of that, loyalty in media tends to be to individual authors, directors, and actors.

Dave Lee said...

Meir: The first comment was deleted because it was useless. I was playing with a tool I was considering for LCB and it created a post. I thought that the incriminating evidence would just be wiped away (Typepad where I have my personal blog does). Alas, caught with my hand in the cookie jar again!

- Dave (your red-faced Blogmeister)

Dave Lee said...

Clark:

I know this is a tangent, my apologies.

I have to accuse you of over simplifying an issue too. If it were not for "wasteful" spending on a cross country athletic scholarship, it is very likely that I would not have been able to afford four years of college. As the ads say, "90% of all college athletes will go pro in something other than athletics." Athletic scholarhips far outdistance any other source of student financial aid helping tens of thousands of student-athletes gain an educaton they may not otherwise have access too.

Dave [Stepping down from his soapbox.]

Clark Aldrich said...

Dave,

You bring up an excellent point. Let me take your tangent one further: I think that the meta-skills taught in most teams (including sports and extra-curricular activities) are a hundred times more valuable to future success than those learned in academics (unless you want to be an academic).

But again, let's deal with that reality, instead of burying it.

Clark Aldrich said...

When I say, deal with reality, I just mean that there are so many layers of misalignment between stated intent and real intent that modification becomes challenging.

Clark Aldrich said...

There is huge and passionate loyalty for Google and instant messenger technologies, two early elearning killer apps.

Mike said...

"I started thinking about how people will wear university hats, t-shirts, sweaters, cheer for teams... long after the learning experience. Will we ever see this for Capella and University of Phoenix or Thompson NETg? What about the elearning in our own organization?"

I love it. The only way I could see this happening is if these universities somehow or other fielded sports teams, which seems unlikely. Maybe a cyber-chess team, but that doesn't lend itself well to branding either.

Anonymous said...

"I started thinking about how people will wear university hats, t-shirts, sweaters, cheer for teams... long after the learning experience. Will we ever see this for Capella and University of Phoenix or Thompson NETg? What about the elearning in our own organization?"

Capella "University" has their own online "store" to sell this exact kind of c**p! LOL While you're at it, don't forget to check out the truth about Capella University at:

http://www.capellauniversity.org

...where "Education is Stillborn!"

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