Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Content Types - Level 1: Messages

Level 1: Alerts and Notifications

NOTE: This is part 2 of 7 in a continuing series; please see earlier posts for more background information.

The simplest form of mlearning content delivery is via one-way/inbound electronic message and there are two popular options available: short message service (also known as “SMS” or “text messages”) and electronic mail (“email”).  The majority of all cellphones support SMS, provided the user has a ‘texting plan” from their carrier. Up to 140-character “texts” sent via this method are actually considered “high value” content by the recipient and are normally read/responded to faster than any other form of mobile communiqué.  Smartphones with “data plans” also have the ability to send and receive email messages; in fact, mobile email access is the primary business driver and ROI justification for most organizations seeking to provide smartphones to their mobile workforce and executives.

Level 1 Content Types

All the options here are simple yet powerful. The CellCast Solution platform provides the ability to generate and send timely market updates (“Acme’s new Olympus Product will be available for customer delivery on April1st.”) and friendly reminders (“Don’t forget to attend Sales Training Webinar for the new Olympus Product Tues at 2PM.”) directly to mobile learners via their ever-present mobile devices is an obvious use of this functionality by a Training Team but a plethora of other uses are possible as follows:

Triggered Notifications and Reminders

Administrators can define and manage sophisticated notification templates that automatically generate and send personalized SMS or email messages based on pre-defined business rules and conditions.  For instance, an SMS can be sent to a mobile learner asking them to confirm their understanding of a current policy or procedure, or reminding them to complete an important assignment (see Figures 1-2 below).  If that user’s status is still marked as “not attempted” or “incomplete” the next day, triggered reminders can be automatically generated and sent to the learner until that specific assignment has been marked as “completed”.

Organizational Results and Escalations

An additional benefit of a Trigger-based Notification platform is the ability for the system to generate and send out important status updates to managers, supervisors and other affiliated parties based on predefined business rules.  For example, if a manager has twenty direct reports who all need to complete their annual Safety Compliance certifications by the end of the current calendar month, they can likely benefit from an email message outlining which of their subordinates has yet to complete their mandatory training (see Figures 3-4 below).

Scheduled Learning Content (2 Types)

Training teams can plan, schedule and deliver message-based content to mobile learners using the Notification Series feature of the CellCast Solution platform.  The two most common uses for this feature are learning reinforcement and serialized content delivery.

Type 1: Learning Reinforcement. According to industry professionals, most people forget as much as 80% of the new concepts/policies they learned while attending an instructor-led training session or completing an online course within 30 days of completing that training.  To help keep new concepts fresh and top-of-mind, Training teams can define and manage message-based reinforcements sent out at predetermined time intervals, say every Friday at 2 PM, to a salesperson’s email account or mobile device (see Figures 5-6 below).

Type 2: Serialized Content Delivery. CellCast’s Notification Series feature can be used to package and deliver regularly scheduled message-based learning content as part of a serialized training campaign. Common examples are “Sales Tip of the Day,” “New Product of the Week,” and “English Phrase of the Day” campaigns. In each case, subscribers can opt-in to receive relevant content on their mobile device and messages can be either plain text or can include web links to launch other media-based content as desired (see Figures 7-9).

Additional Considerations

Most Level 1 Alerts and Notification use cases are either very low cost or free. The Notifications feature of the CellCast Solution platform is a standard function.  However, when sending SMS messages, a nominal transaction fee of US$0.03-.05 is assessed for each message generated/delivered due to the fact all SMS messages must be sent directly through the carrier or an approved SMS aggregator. There are no transaction fees to send electronic mail messages to any CellCast user, and these messages can contain either plain text or rich media elements as defined by the Training team.

Summary – Level 1

One-way text messages and emails are easy to design, generate and send, requiring minor preparation and less than 30 minutes training for the average administrator.  The marginal costs to send these messages are also low–emails are free, and text message delivery carries a nominal transactional fee for each SMS sent both to the originator and the recipient.

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