Our client, a Fortune 500 healthcare company, wanted to allow their employees to access social media sites on their work computers. Prior to releasing the ban on social media, the company wanted to develop two elearning courses to teach employees social media best practices and to train a subset of employees to become social media ambassadors for the company.
We need to train employees about social media best practices before they can access social media on the company network or act as social media ambassadors for our company. The two elearning courses must:
- Deliver fun and engaging instructional content
- Align with our brand guidelines
- Provide a consistent experience across the two courses
Timeline: 6 months, October 2012 – March 2013
Producer / Product Manager
I didn’t use the term Product Manager at the time, but that’s what I was doing. I was the client contact, managed a team of designers, developers and copywriters, played a large role in developing the story and content, and ensured that the experience was usable, memorable, fun, engaging and fit within the organization’s existing brand guidelines.
The client had chosen a concept for the elearning course prior to the kick-off of the development of the courses. Content had also already been identified by the client to be included in the course.
Creating the Story
It was important to the client and team that we identify a cohesive theme for the two elearning courses. With the concept and content in hand, we set out to create a content outline. We created a robust spreadsheet that allowed us to see how content was organized at a high-level and how it tied in with the overall theme.
Developing the Instructional Material
We wanted to ensure that our course material was effective. To ensure that it was a fun, yet effective course, we identified a number of ways to help employees learn:
Knowledge tests throughout
We wanted to keep employees engaged throughout the training. We interpersed knowledge checks throughout the courses instead of lumping all questions at the end.
Ticket system for answering questions
The users began the course with a set number of tickets and needed to use a ticket for every attempt at answering a question. This incentivized them to read and understand the question instead of making a blind guess.
Detailed information with 5 high-level takeaways
To mix up the content, we provided in-depth descriptions of key areas of social media interspersed with catchy, pithy guidelines that would be easy to remember.
Putting together the pieces
With a story and content in hand, we hit the ground running in putting all of the pieces together. I played a large role in coordinating the efforts of each of the team members. From insuring that copy was being written, identifying areas for improvement from a usability perspective, and ensuring that the client’s needs were met. Major contributions that I made to the project were:
- Client engagement – I worked closely with our client counterpart to make sure the courses were being developed in a way that met their needs. From scheduling reviews to ad hoc phone calls to helping the client trim down the content so that the courses could be completed by employees within an hour.
- Voiceover coordination – Voiceover was a key component to the finished project. I organized the voiceover scripts, coordinated with the recording studio, and sat in on the recording sessions to ensure that the lines were being recorded accurately and to the spirit of the project. The client had a lot of sensitivities surrounding voice recordings and we made sure the client was comfortable with the voices along the way.
- Takeaway documents – The client requested PDF takeaway documents for each of the two courses. These were designed to be downloaded after the course was complete. I developed the content for the documents and worked with the visual designer to ensure they were designed in a way that employees would want to hang the documents in their cubicles as reminders.
Development and testing
We developed the elearning courses internally. Along with the art director, I helped produce development guidelines for the developers that included interaction, animation, and sound effect instructions, finalized copy and voiceover, and logic for knowledge tests and performance metrics. As the courses were developed, the art director and I conducted thorough QA assessment of the product to ensure that the delivery went smoothly.
Less than 2 months after launch, nearly 2,000 employees had successfully completed the first course and nearly 20 had completed the second course. Feedback received from employees was the introductory course was more fun than other company trainings and that ambassador training helped them internalize the company’s social media guidelines. The only negative feedback received was that some of the content was already out-of-date shortly after launch. With the quick changing landscape, that was an understandable issue.
Note: Much of the project work that I’ve completed is protected by NDAs or not openly available on the web. This is one of those projects.