The Content You Want vs The Content You Need

Nihal Salem
May 30, 2023

When you mention e-Learning content, most people immediately think of the more sophisticated tutorials and videos hosted on sites such as Lynda and edX, where instructors combine videos of themselves speaking effortlessly to you (and the hundreds of thousands of other users who registered), info-graphics, animation, and subtitles in multiple languages. While that sort of content is great to have, it is also often expensive to produce, takes a lot of time, and is completely unnecessary. That sort of content falls under the category of “great to have”, not “need to have”.

So what is considered actual e-Learning content? What kind of digital content do you need to have to support employees or customers on their path to knowing more about your products, services, or the tools they need to efficiently do their jobs?

1. Tutorial Videos

These are actually the videos we discussed above. They are mid-length videos (anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes long) and they mostly talk about how to use a specific product, feature, or service. You can also consider them to be “how-to” videos.

The Ideal Scenario: Ideally, these would be like the sort that are created on edX and described above. They would be a montage, have a presenter or teacher, and subtitles in two languages.

The Likely Scenario: You probably have at least a few videos being shared in the organization where an admin or super user is clicking through the tool or giving a presentation, with a voice-over.

Tip: All these videos need to be cut in a way where a single or couple of features is the main focus. Instead of a 10-minute video titled ‘How to Use the System’, you could have three 3-minute videos titled, “How to Log in and Reset Your Password”, “How to Create an Opportunity”, and “How to Update Status”.

Alternatively, create new ones by downloading screen recording software and simply clicking through the application to show how it can be used.

2. E-Brochures 

These are digital pamphlets or documents showing information about the system, service, or tool. They are convenient for sending to a customer or colleague and are actually preferred to videos for many users who would rather read than view content.

The Ideal Scenario: These would be sleek, branded documents designed attractively using one of the myriad design tools and templates.

The Likely Scenario: You have some PDF documents that contain screenshots from the system being explained, along with colored arrows, explanations in boxes, and links to the site. This is fine at the moment if it does the job. Efficient e-Learning content is not about making things ‘beautiful’. Good content is simply content that is easy to understand and gets the point across. Beautifully designed and branded content is nice to have, but not absolutely necessary.

Tip: If you want to fix that PDF to make it more ‘professional’, just add a cover page, a footer with the title in it, and a header with the company logo.

3. E-Shots 

E-shots are emails that contain information about the product or service and are designed to be attractive (please read our e-shot!) and informative (look at this new information!).

The Ideal Scenario: Designer e-shots that make the user want to forward them to a dozen people. These e-shots contain images, edited content, and clickable calls to action.

The Likely Scenario: You have a series of email shots that went out to employees or customers. The only design might be a bold or italicized word here or there or a dash of color.

Tip: There are so many options these days for beautifully designed emails, including templates that are built into many mailing applications. However, once again, content trumps design. Make sure your emails are brief – people hate long emails – and that they have clear calls to action. If you want the user to click on something or go somewhere, make it obvious. Do not make the employee or customer have to go through 800 words, scroll three times, and then find the link at the bottom. Save the long content for your e-brochures or your videos.

4. Webinars

These are usually live training that has taken the place of classroom training across organizations. The benefits of webinars are huge – you can fit more people in them, they can be conducted remotely (no need for the trainer to be in the same location) and can be attended from anywhere these days.

The Ideal Scenario: Your webinars about a specific product or service are frequent and systematic. You have a carefully planned syllabus, with a series of excellent presentations, and can begin and end at the exact planned times.

The Likely Scenario: The webinar invite is sent with short notice (not enough people confirm and attend), or so far ahead that everyone forgets about it. A few people attend and there is a sense that this was a wasted effort.

Tip: Record the webinar, no matter who attends. This recording, in itself, is viable content. Also, if possible, schedule the same webinars once a week or twice monthly to allow everyone to attend.

5. FAQs 

A list of the most frequently asked questions, and answers, about the product.

The Ideal Scenario: This exhaustive list covers everything from selling it to using it, etc. It is organized, searchable, and has been the fruit of a lot of research and effort.

The Likely Scenario: Product owners or system admins have a list of questions in their heads and can answer them quickly and easily, but you would have to contact them directly.

Tip: Write down every single question, and its answer – no matter how obvious or trivial it seems. Have your system admin or product manager go through their emails and messages and document the questions. Host this FAQ online somewhere and update it continuously.

The five types of e-Learning content mentioned above are available in just about every organization. I encourage you to pick a product that you recently launched internally or to customers, and go search through your emails, the shared folders, and your laptop and find everything you have already created, or been sent, on this technology or service. You will be surprised.

Once You’ve Collected The Basics, You Can Look Into Other Valuable e-Learning Tools: 

Promotional video: A video that is under two minutes talks about the product. This does not need to be fancy but should explain the WHY behind using this technology or service. Why does the employee or customer need it?

Social media content: Images, ready tweets, and hashtags to drive traffic to the learning material you want to point out.

Chatbots: To handle frequently asked questions quickly and easily and offer an interactive way to get the answers.

Unconvinced or still feeling the need for more content? Check out stemeXe’s content module that allows you to create and distribute your content internally and externally.

StemeXe Content
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