Thursday, March 5, 2009

Use Flash to Market Your e-Learning Courses

Here is a short article/tip I wrote last April on using Flash for marketing courses. It was included in the e-Learning Guild's "239 Tips for Producing and Managing Flash-based e-Learning Content," but I thought i would also share it on the blog.

USING FLASH TO MARKET E-LEARNING COURSES — Marketing is key to successful implementation of an e-Learning course, and Flash is an excellent tool for this purpose.The rich media of Flash provides an excellent means of gaining your audience’s attention to a course,why the course is relevant to them, and the benefits of taking it.Many marketing strategies utilize electronic announcements, such as e-mails or Intranet articles, but via Flash you can deliver a more effective and entertaining message than with text and static graphics alone. Here are some tips for using Flash to market your courses:

  1. Reuse any appropriate Flash objects already created for the course. Not only will this save you a lot of time, but it will also give the audience a preview of the content and design they will encounter in the course.

  2. Use characters in the advertisement. If the course has characters in it, use them.They can act as a spokesperson, or as actors in a skit. For example, they can be discussing their thoughts on the course, and why it was beneficial to them.

  3. Make it interactive.This will not only keep your audience’s attention, but also provide a preview of the interactive elements in the course. If you can make the advertisement a short game, that is a plus. However, the game must have the same goal as the advertisement, which is communicating why they should participate in the course.

  4. Make it entertaining. If using humor, be very cautious not to offend anyone.

  5. Include audio and any appropriate sound effects. Sound is a great attention grabber, easy to import into Flash, and if you are using it in your course it can provide a preview of the course’s use of audio as a medium.

  6. Be sure to communicate why the course is relevant to your audience, and the benefits of taking the course (what’s in it for them).

  7. Keep the advertisement as brief as possible without sacrificing your message.

  8. Conclude the advertisement with instructions on how to access the course, and a link to it or to the learning management system where they can launch it.

  9. Place the advertisement where the audience will most likely see it. For example, your organization’s Intranet homepage, the training department’s homepage, the first page of your learning management system, and so on. I also like to e-mail a link to the advertisement to all potential participants and their supervisors, preferably with some sort of tease that encourages them to click the link. I find that if people like the advertisement, they will forward the e-mail, furthering the reach of the advertisement’s message. FYI: I load the Flash .SWF to my Intranet and send a link instead of sending the Flash .SWF directly in the body of the e-mail. Most e-mail systems will strip the Flash .SWF out of the body of the e-mail.

With Flash used as your marketing tool you will get more of a “buzz”around e-Learning releases, and with that, an increase in the number of people visiting and participating in your e-Learning courses.

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