Friday, April 26, 2013

The Song AND the Whole Album -- Education Served up at YOUR Convenience

Content is King
Let's rephrase that: Content that is high-quality, concise, and accessible is King. We live in a world of immediate, efficient information access. We expect content that is easily searchable/findable and that can satisfy a healthy information appetite within a moment's notice. We want it when we want it, where we want it, and on the exact device we want it.

We are the "140-character-or-less" society. The demand for condensed, quality content from leading subject matter experts, recognized thought leaders, and/or trusted friends & family is the new norm. And we're not afraid to immediately re-post and promote what we've learned, proving that the content provider is greatly valued.

But what happens when we don't get what we want when we want it? What if the information we're looking for is obstructed or not easily found or (gasp!) too difficult to consume quickly? We move on.  If ads or marketing get in the way, we exit. If the experience of gathering the content we want is too lengthy, we abort the session. Time is our commerce and our commodity and we have ultimately learned how to spend it, or not spend it, how we wish.

A New Model for Learning
In designing and teaching Mobile Marketing for the SMB, the first-ever NYU course taught online and over mobile phones, I quickly learned how content that is served up over mobile devices could:
  • Enhance the value of the learning experience,
  • Support the learning outcome of participating students, and
  • Extend reach to other interested content consumers (learners).
Simply put, I have been using apps in my classroom to deliver bonus and supplemental content. I design those apps around specific course topics, the topics becoming the 'songs' (lessons) that make up my 'album' (course). The content is easily ingested by the learners I serve, primarily adult learners who are the most self-directed, discerning, and starved for time.

The content is delivered in various in-app formats with the goal being to satisfy the student who may have just five minutes now for a quick topic-blast, with perhaps an hour later for a deep-dive. In both instances, I aim to provide a quality learning experience geared toward the student's own pace and time, on virtually any mobile device, tablet or online screen. All of the course/lesson content can be accessed conveniently and is priced efficiently (or free!) through one centralized and device-inclusive mobile learning hub/marketplace:

Yes, I'm taking a play from Apple's playbook here with regard to their brilliant model supporting the digital music revolution (although one might argue that 45's/singles were around way in advance of the digital music revolution). With MassiveU, it's the song AND the whole album, just now it's applied to distance education and learning. 

Mobile Learning Content as a Reference
Many of my students have either gone on to further their careers with their existing companies as mobile marketing specialists or to start their own agencies. In both cases, I've noticed they've been keeping their MassiveU mobile learning apps on their phones long after completing my course. The apps have become a reference piece from which they can access the dynamic content easily and often in their new appointments. The mobile content becomes their digestible content library on their device.

As a subject matter expert (SME), I have very enthusiastically become their ongoing facilitator, accessible via click-to-call, email or tweet. I'm witnessing an inherent content provider-learner relationship--and even Lifetime Engagement Value (LEV)--extending beyond semesters in terms of frequency of access, response, interactivity, and other behavioral metrics. With this experience apparently comes an increased appetite for even more content. So additional apps are consumed, more courses taken, and the learning process moves forward seamlessly and with great purpose.  Pretty cool stuff.

Where's It All Going?
Just as bookcases and album shelves line our libraries and living areas, hard drives and clouds house our one-click quick access to the content that's most important to us. Videos, pictures, articles, and eventually learning apps will all exponentially line those digital shelves. And, just as a library of books would presumably indicate a well-read individual, certifications and other digital tags will eventually show further proof of learning accomplishment and information-consumption distinction in this growing digital age.

As an instructor, facilitator, and a "musician", of sorts, in this exciting new world of distance mobile learning, I couldn't be more excited. So I welcome you to turn on, tune in, and turn it up. Loud! The song is just beginning...

~ Above image courtesy of Suat Eman/