Last Wednesday, July 18th, Tim and I attended the all-day Network of Trainers Summer Event held in the Library’s Foster Auditorium at University Park. The keynote speaker was Maribel Sierra, Social Media Services Director at Dell. She chronicled Dell’s 6-year journey from “Dell Hell” to strengthening their direct customer connections through the use of social media. She shared, “As a company, we recognized that social media wasn’t something we could just dip our toe into, but rather it was an issue of survival. Our brand was being talked about in a way that we needed to change. In 2006, we jumped in full force with a strong focus from day one on customer service and support. With those myriad of experiences under our belt, training and engaging with our team was one of the highlights of the journey.” She also stated, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” As a good resource, she recommended the book Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web by Brian Solis. This book tells you how to use social media and build a social media marketing program. Two interesting and helpful graphics she shared were the Evolution of Communication comic and an infographic on how social we are.

Dell has had strong support from the top for their social media program. She quoted Michael Dell: “Engage in honest, direct conversations with customers and stakeholders is a part of who we are, who we’ve always been. The social web amplifies our opportunity to listen and learn and invest ourselves in two way dialogue, enabling us to become a better company.”

Here are a few more takeaways:

  • Relationships drive revenue. The key is building trust and relationships. Listening = understanding = trust.
  • In Facebook, Dell created its own wall because customers didn’t like being monitored there. However, in Twitter they monitor and engage their customers all the time.
  • Their 3 work streams are customer needs, customer suggestions, and brand reputation.
  • Their lessons learned include: nonbelievers will start to believe; it’s fundamental to have a social media policy and training program in place; finding the balance between a push-pull mechanism is key; reinvent everyday (not a static solution).
  • Social is relevant beyond marketing and PR: product development, online presence, sales, customer service, communication. . .
  • Social media is a team sport and cannot be owned by marketing alone.
  • She sees great value in Pinterest.

Tim and I attended additional sessions throughout the day, and share our key takeaways below.

Keynote Follow-Up: Building a Social Training Program – by Maribel Sierra
“Your employees are already participating in social media in their personal lives. A large number of them have the desire and ability to listen and engage on behalf of the University. However, the consequences of engagement gone awry are concerning, and many companies keep their employees on the sidelines. Doing so may make companies feel “secure,” but critical opportunities to build brands, customer service capabilities, and corporate reputation are being squandered. Rather than leave employees on the bench, why not train them to excel on the field?” Social media impacts the entire business spectrum. The purpose of using social media is to help customers solve their problems, build relationships, and thank customers. Dell’s Global Social Media policy is available on their website. They consider the value of training as peace of mind.

Sustainability and Training: The business case for infusing sustainability into all we do – by Jeremy Bean
“Sustainability is not just about the environment. It’s a better way of doing business. In Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston’s book, Green to Gold, they say, ‘The sustainability lens is not just a nice strategy tool or a feel-good digression from the real work of the company. It’s an essential element of business strategy in the modern world.'” In this session, Jeremy discussed why and how this idea should be a part of every training program. Two great resources were shared:

One way we can build sustainability into our programs is by holding zero waste events with compost bins, and directing folks to recycle containers. The Faculty Center will begin requesting compostable plates, napkins, and plastic ware at our events, and also requesting compost bins. We learned that compostable materials will not breakdown in a landfill – it needs the elements in a compost bin (bacteria, etc.) to break it down. We’ll also locate the nearest recycle containers (or bring them into each event).

Getting Better Results from Your Training: A Needs Assessment Overview – by Patricia Nordstrom and Sue Cromwell
This session focused “on the basics of conducting a needs assessment, including the importance of conducting a needs assessment, identifying the four types, selecting the appropriate method for your organization, looking at the real world applications, and discussing the benefits and results of conducting a needs assessment.” Most resources shared had a cost attached, but the resources sound promising – Project Management Fundamentals, and Up & Running with Online Surveys. Most of this presentation reflected the work currently being done as the former HRDC is replaced by the Center for Workplace Learning & Performance, led by Sue Cromwell.

Teaching and Learning with Technology in the Knowledge Commons – by Ryan Wetzel and Trace Brown
Ryan and Trace provided a tour of the Knowledge Commons and highlighted specific technologies within the space, as well as how they have been used by teachers and students. The demonstrations included the MediaScape group study rooms, the One Button Studio, and the iMac classroom lab.

Designing Impactful Presentations: Design Tips for the Non-Graphic Designer – by Lisa Urban and Nikke Moore
This session focused on the do’s and don’ts of designing a PowerPoint presentation as well as basic graphic design tips and techniques. They used fonts, colors, images, graphics, and charts to transform a presentation from drab to fab. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Glance media – 3 second rule, like a billboard – can my audience get this message in 3 seconds or less
  • Use words on slides for: main concepts, short phrases, big ideas, keywords
  • For bigger impact, use images to visually communicate ideas
  • Use SmartArt to enhance, emphasize, customize
  • When using charts and graphs, break up the data to minimize the amount of information on each slide
  • Don’t overuse animations
  • Make slide transitions consistent and subtle
  • Use full bleed with images – extend the image off the borders (need to pay attention to image resolution – at least 800 x 600). Lock image’s aspect ratio before resizing.
  • Adobe’s kuler tool allows you to upload an image and get the RGB color codes. It also provides color themes.

Mobile Learning: An Introduction to Doceri – by Brian Young
This hands-on workshop provided a basic overview of using Doceri, an iPad app that allow
s you to control a Windows or Macintosh computer. With Doceri, you can launch any document or application, annotate over it, and save the annotations. There is also a whiteboard feature, where you can create any handwritten/drawn content on any background of your choice. Doceri will be installed on all classroom podium computers by the fall semester. The app is only as strong as its wireless connection, so we would recommend testing it in your classroom before using it with your students. Since the Doceri license is stored on the iPad, it can live on all podium computers and use the license from the iPad (the license costs $30). It is recommended to NOT use the Doceri Stylist because the user has to push too hard and the eraser function is tricky. There are issues using it with iClickers – the pole will freeze and only show on the iPad (although it is still collecting data).

An Overview of Rapid E-Learning Development Tools – by Mary Ann Mengel, Mark Heckel, Nikke Moore

  1. Adobe Presenter – Bugs are fixed with Office 2010. In checking into this further, we discovered a new version, Adobe Presenter 8, and are investigating whether it is actually bug-free.
  2. SmartBuilder was not recommended for use.
  3. Articulate Storyline provides easy to build storylines with characters, which saves hundreds of dollars on buying characters and spending time finding them. It includes interactive games and quizzes, and outputs to Flash. It’s quite expensive ($1200) with no discounts available through the PSU Computer Store.
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