You’ve come to NogginLabs to get your spiffy new Level 4 e-learning course and portal. You’re ready to embrace gamification, user-generated content, and social features. So, just give us your content and we’ll get started!
You don’t…um…okay, okay. It’s going to be fine. EVERYONE BREATHE!
One of the most challenging issues we face here at NogginLabs is a client coming to us without content. Imagine that you wanted to make a movie and you know how you wanted it to look, how it should be received, and how to market it, but you didn’t know who the characters are or what they are doing. That is the essentially where we are starting.
Seem pretty dire, right? Turns out…nah, it’s fine. Or rather it will be fine once we all stop hyperventilating into these paper bags.
LEARNING YOUR CONTENT
Think about this way. Even if you showed up at our doorstep with tons of content (no need to do that; just send it electronically), we have an initial discovery and learning period where we strive to become super proficient in your subject matter. The Content Producers and Instructional Designers here work diligently to live and breathe your content. That allows us to think about it through our lens of learning and provide expert consultation about the the most effective methods to engage your learning audience, so they will want to live and breathe it too.
THE BLANK SLATE
If you really have little or no content going into the development process, it just means our initial discovery and learning period changes somewhat. Instead of becoming familiar with the content you provided, we start by researching and reading about your subject matter area or desired outcomes (or maybe even just your industry) through a variety of channels. There are a number of ways that we can accomplish this.
Step 1: What do we have?
Realistically, you probably have SOMETHING. It's pretty rare that somebody comes to our office with their figurative subject matter pockets turned out like some kind of weird content pauper.
However, it is possible that what you have is not easy to access. So, we'll start by assessing any documentation that you can provide, but also asking you the right questions to discover what other content caches you might be sitting on already.
"We don't have anything written down, but Jake knows everything about widgets."
In that case, let's talk to Jake. Interviewing your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is going to be a huge boon to the project. These are the folks that have first-hand experience. Even if this project is designed to change the way these SMEs think and approach their work, understanding how they currently think and approach their work will be critical to effectively making that change.
Step 2: Research, research, research
Research has been turned on its head since the advent of the Internet. We'll start here most likely, but seldom end here. Internet research can help us get a good grip on trends in your industry, well-established and universally accepted concepts, and cat videos. Reading books and watching videos can inform and inspire us even further.
We may also want to see you in action. We can shadow client SMEs in sales situations. We've even been secret shoppers a few times. We might conduct interviews or surveys within your company, not only to collect information and data, but to gauge interest levels and existing prejudices about learning initiatives. This information can be invaluable when developing a custom solution that fits all of your needs. Creating a solution that nobody is willing to adopt is no solution at all.
Step 3: Internalize and Iterate
Now that we have spent some time learning about the subject matter, we can focus on how to present that subject matter. From this point on, the process does not vary much from our normal development.
We internalize the concepts that we want to teach and we start to write outlines and create design mockups that help us continue to focus our vision for your course. Through a series of reviews and approvals, we'll continue to make adjustments and iterate on our initial ideas by collaborating with you, the client.
HOW WOULD I WANT TO LEARN THIS?
The best part about creating content from scratch is that we already know how to answer the question: "How would I want to learn this?" Because we just had to learn it ourselves. We've seen first hand what works and what doesn't. We'll have strong opinions (and happily share them with you) about how best to deliver this as a brand-new learning experience to your audience.
We often laud the fact that we are not experts in any one content area. We dabble in lots of subject matter, and that cross-pollination unlocks our true creative potential. We are experts on how to serve up content to your learners. It is truly an advantage, because it means that we can focus on the learner experience.