E-learning Growth in the UK: The ups and downs of progress – FE …

E-learning Growth in the UK: The ups and downs of progress – FE …

Inthe last five years we have seen e-learning moving at a fast pace with new trends emerging every few years, however the journey to get to where we are today hasn’t always been a smooth ride. With the arrival of the worldwide web in 1989 it wasn’t long, in fact the early 1990s, that learning materials started appearing online, although the term e-learning didn’t really come into existence until the late 90s. Between 1998 and 2004 the UK government invested around £1.8billion in several government initiatives and projects aimed at harnessing the power of e-learning. There was much talk that we were on the cusp of a learning revolution, however in reality it wasn’t so much a revolution as just an opportunity for the same teaching content to be accessed in a different way. It asked the question ‘Does your organisation want to extend its use of computer-based technology to provide training resources to your employees?’ It expressed the view that ‘A quarter of all learning is expected to take place electronically in five years’ time; a prediction that was not to materialise’. It was around 2003 that the first rapid e-learning authoring tools came onto the market. Unfortunately, this started a trend for low cost, low quality, poorly designed learning content both on the open market and presented as in-house company training. This harmed the reputation of e-learning, a reputation that some have clung on to and to this day it is the small amount of poor e-learning that still damages the reputation of e-learning. These authoring tools have moved on a lot and so have the skills of those using them, so we see very little poorly developed content today. The 2004 CIPD e-learning survey found that 73% of respondents were using CD ROMs and online learning still didn’t feature in the survey as a type of learning they could select. However, 54% agreed that e-learning demands an entirely new skill set for people involved in training and development, a fact that many strategically planning the implementation of e-learning failed to realise. Twelve years on many still haven’t got to grips with this, especially in parts of the further education sector, leaving those tasked to deliver a strategy floundering. It wasn’t just the UK government that could see the opportunities for e-learning, but the adoption of online learning for an organisation wasn’t, and still isn’t plain sailing without getting the right advice and appropriate planning. Strategic planning to implement e-learning often lacked the necessary knowledge and understanding of those defining the strategy. Despite the failure of UKeU, 2004 saw many universities begin their offer of online courses. At this time we didn’t have the culture of ‘free content means free marketing’ and it’s highly likely that if you’d suggested that they should make these new online courses free they would probably have laughed. Web 2.0 focuses on online services, bringing a wide range of free and paid for e-learning development tools and applications CD ROMS were the new big thing, rather than online learning and this didn’t really change over the next ten years, except within the corporate sector. There was a marked increase in the use of online learning in the UK, and although there were companies that were early adopters, often down to the technological prowess of an individual or senior management team, in 2010 we saw a significant growth in online learning being adopted. We began to see the emergence of research and case studies on the impact of e-learning, and more specifically online learning, being published: In 2010 Kineo reported on a project they had been working on with M&S to raise the quality of service at M&S cafes. Within six months of launching an online course 8,000 members of staff had undertaken the training, in the first year M&S saved £500k over alternative training methods and improved customer service by 22%. In 2011 it was reported that the London Fire Brigade saved £700,000 implementing the use of online learning. In 2011 around 50% of UK state schools still reported that around 50% of their staff needed training in using digital content. Similar and worse statistics were evident across the whole educational sector and staff training continues to be an issue today. In 1994 computers were being introduced into UK schools and by 1998 there were 820,000 in use in state schools, however only a small number were using the internet, with most using CD ROMS. Now 91 universities and institutions from around the world are offering hundreds of free online courses. The less positive aspect of MOOCs is the very poor achievement rates, which in 2013 stood at less than 7%. Now the general trend has been for enrolments on MOOCs to reduce and for achievement rates to increase, currently standing at around 12%. The Towards Maturity survey, which surveys businesses about their use of technology in learning and development, reported in 2013 that although 77% of staff said they wanted to engage with online learning 64% were still using classroom courses. The report summarised that technology was forcing organisations to consider different ways of learning, but that the focus was on a drive for efficiency, rather than building the capability of workers. In 2014 over 41% of Fortune 500 companies were using e-learning to instruct employees and the UK e-learning market was worth £565 million. By 1998 over 9,000 schools were connected to the internet but online learning development was slow, most likely impacted by the fact that a third of schools reported that 70% of their staff were not confident and competent with ICT and there was no training on the pedagogical aspect of online learning. In this age of AGILE working, flexibility is key to all aspects of the workplace, including training, and online learning is playing a pivotal role in achieving flexibility with quality outcomes for learners. Less and less we see employees sitting at a PC doing a 2 hour course, as there’s an increasing trend to produce bite sized learning for training at the point of need. Over the next few years it’s likely that we will see today’s popular 30 minute course reducing further in time to 15 minutes and perhaps even shorter. Believe it or not we are still encountering challenges; access to online content with some areas of the UK still struggling with good internet connection, the lack of knowledge and understanding to create and implement a learning and development strategy that embraces innovation, and a reluctance to throw out or reduce the tried and tested face to face training, despite the overwhelming evidence of the business benefits of online learning. In contrast every school in the USA had microcomputers and a large proportion were using the internet in the early 90s. The world self-paced eLearning market reached $46.9 billion in 2015 so it’s not surprising that year on year we’ve seen more and more e-learning businesses starting up. However, it isn’t all rosy in the UK’s e-learning sector with almost a third of the leading 100 e-learning companies failing to make a profit. Despite the challenges the sector is still growing, although more slowly than in the last decade. More and more companies are implementing or increasing their use of online learning as either part of a blended or online strategy. Early insights into the 2016 Towards Maturity Survey finds that 63% of the learning and development leaders say they are using ‘off-the-shelf’ e-learning. By the end of the 20 th century increasing numbers of large organisations were putting learning materials online. Gamified e-learning – with around 33.5 million online game players in the UK and a trend for utilising technologies for learning that people are immersed in, it’s not surprising that gamification in e-learning is set to increase. Vendors of enterprise applications started to recognise learning management systems as an enterprise application, and so began the slow rise of the LMS over the next ten years. We offer free use of our learning management system to manage and track staff training and the flexibility to enrol staff on to courses as and when a training need arises. For a small one off cost have your own branded LMS, add your own content, have the facility to enrol staff on any of our LMS courses and even have the option to pay monthly for what you use.

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Digital Marketing – What it is and Why it Matters for Today’s Businesses

Digital marketing often called online marketing is a term that explains a comprehensive set of marketing processes that use all sets of available digital channels to market or promote a product and/or service for building strong digital brand. It has come to succeed conventional marketing and the change from newspaper advertisement to social media and PPC campaigns. Because via electronic channels and sharing comments, feedbacks about your business, products and services, you can attract more and more customers and build long lasting relationship. The greater number of people is consuming more digital content on a regular basis – on mobile phones, laptops and desktop computers and other smart devices at work. The real fact is that the majority of digital marketing agencies assist their clients’ business establish online reputation, grow business, interact faster and building brand. The main role of a digital marketing agency is to help your business conduct marketing and promotion digitally, so that you can get the results faster and monitor them digitally. You get consumer response rates, also you can measure the success of promotional campaign in a real time frame work that helps you enable plan more effectively for future. From your website or blog to your online branding, digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures and beyond, there is beyond doubt a broad spectrum of assets as well as tactics that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. * It does not cover by traditional opening times – customers can communicate at a particular time and particular place comfortable to them.

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Unpacking the basics of digital marketing

Unpacking the basics of digital marketing

Digital marketing is a broad term used to describe the marketing of products or services via all types of digital technologies. These technologies pertain mostly to the internet but also include the likes of any other digital mediums such as mobile phones. That they enjoy a site that answers all of their questions and that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It is also true that customers nowadays are operating off mobile devices more so that desktop PCs which means they require a mobile optimised website too. However, having a website means nothing if no one can find it. Hence, businesses are obsessed with finding a way to rank their website on the first page of Google. Over the years, SEO has been through many makeovers as Google has cordoned on quickly to SEO practices that cheat the system. So, Google keeps on shifting the goalposts to ensure that, as a search engine, they can offer their customers results that are truly a list of the best sites or companies who can assist you with your needs. At entry-level, a digital marketer must understand what Google wants and needs to rank a site as authoritative. The basics Digital marketing makes use of SEO but also search engine marketing (SEM) which includes paid advertising which boosts websites and then focuses on content marketing and automation, influencer marketing, campaign marketing, social media presence and optimisation, and e-commerce marketing. This is particularly pertinent to social media efforts but this engagement can happen on particularly interactive websites too, as this is where customers will provide feedback. This is invaluable data that a strong, smart digital marketing strategy will harness to boost the company’s reputation. One fact remains unchanged: it’s all about ROI Marketing efforts of the past, the present and the future all must result in a return on investment (ROI). And of all the aspects of traditional marketing that digital marketing has enhanced, the tracking of ROI is probably the most valued one. You can walk in on Monday morning and know exactly who engaged with your brand, where they come from and even, how they found you. Keeping up with the ever-changing digital landscape is hard work but the payoff will directly impact a business’s back pocket if the data is harnessed and put to good use in a smart digital marketing plan. Businesses and marketing managers have had to keep their finger on the pulse of how marketing exercise change as technology develops. Marketers and business have to harness the new technological developments so that they may work in favour of creating a stronger digital marketing campaign. Or, so that they may use technology to unpack and uncover exactly what rewards their campaign efforts are reaping or what their customers are saying. It is difficult to pinpoint what the biggest change has been but the most exciting change is how much we can see and track regarding customer engagement with the brand. Google is the digital marketer’s best friend or arch enemy Businesses who embrace digital marketing as their way of gaining exposure know that Google is better placed as their best friend than their arch enemy.

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Sociabble Presents Leading Social Selling Programs at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit, San Francisco

Sociabble Presents Leading Social Selling Programs at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit, San Francisco

At the upcoming Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit (February 27 th and 28 th, 2017) in San Francisco, Sociabble will speak on the importance of social selling for today’s financial services companies, and will present a case study on the deployment of a successful social selling program at BNP Paribas BDDF Entreprises. Sociabble is sponsoring and exhibiting at the event, which takes place at the Parc 55a Hilton hotel and is the largest digital marketing conference dedicated to the financial services industry. Contact us to find out more about the Sociabble social selling platform, or to arrange a demo. Summit attendees will have the opportunity to view live product demos of Sociabble, the leading social selling platform, throughout the two-day summit. Industry Expert Session, February 28th, 11am Social media is transforming the financial services landscape, requiring commercial teams to engage with clients and prospects through personal communication methods that challenge the traditional nature of sales prospection. During this session Trina Chaimongkol, Director of Sales and Client Services for the Americas at Sociabble, will present a case study on the deployment of a successful social selling strategy at BNP Paribas BDDF Entreprises, highlighting the benefits of social selling for financial services companies, as well as how to go about launching a program that is both scalable and measurable. The platform organizes brand, third-party and user-generated content onto themed channels from which users can share on social media, and tracks subsequent traffic and lead generation.

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4 Social Media Resolutions for Small Businesses

4 Social Media Resolutions for Small Businesses

As 2017 unfolds, small businesses should take a look at what didn’t work in 2016 and find ways to improve in the upcoming year. While you work to control spending and shed some of the holiday pounds, don’t forget about making social media resolutions for your business. If you’re a small business, there’s probably a lot more that you can do for your marketing campaign on social media. Social media is all about communicating with your target audience, and there are certain applications that can make the process easier. Through these apps, you can make face-to-face connections, send SMS messages, voice broadcast and chat instantly to make your social interactions that much more powerful. Investing in your content should be a top priority in the new year, particularly when it comes to posting across multiple channels. Anyone in that demographic discovers a business for the first time by either Google searching or finding their content on social media. If you are not crushing it and focusing on the content that you put out on the most important social platforms, you’re going to become mute and obsolete in the modern day of doing business. Use a content calendar to help you stay on track with your content and make sure it’s split evenly across all channels. Another important part of posting content on social media is tailoring the information to match your target audience. If you’re selling products meant for stay-at-home moms, for example, marketing your content to 22-year-old bachelors won’t do your strategy much good. “No amount of paid media is going to turn bad creative into good content,” says Vaynerchuk, and this is a principle that should be a primary focus in 2017. It was part of marketing strategies in previous years, but new advertising updates for social platforms and business-friendly changes made it easier than ever for organizations to make connections and offer valuable customer service. You won’t have the competitive edge of being the first to use social marketing to its full advantage, so you’ll have to find ways to stand out as a business and create a more powerful strategy. Online marketing and business building guru Gary Vaynerchuk says social media should be the biggest marketing target for small businesses, adding: In 2017, if you are a business or organization of any kind that wants to be heard in the world, refocusing on the content you put out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Medium and whatever else has the market’s attention at the time is a huge factor. Overall, Vaynerchuk believes that social media for startups and small businesses is the best channel for your marketing budget because of the connections to be made and networking to be done.

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Digital Marketing – How to Use it to Beat Large Competitors

Digital Marketing – How to Use it to Beat Large Competitors

Being a smaller fish in a pond full of big fish can be a daunting position. It makes you out to be a ‘commodity’ player and you still don’t get a fraction of the mindshare of the big company. Sometimes, the best option is to analyze the competitor’s weakness and attack this loudly and publically. It worked because the industry giant had issued a new release that had more bugs than new features. This is the niche marketing, “go where they aren’t” strategy and it is the one that I usually recommend. Before going to war against a large competitor, it’s vital that you thoroughly understand the battlefield. As Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Keeping this sage advice in mind, one of the things you need to know about your competitor is how they are using digital marketing. This can produce some very useful insights and help us target our efforts where the opportunity is strong and the other company is weakest. But you had best analyze all the tools and media available and choose a few that you can really focus on, instead of being very shallow in many media. As an example, we have a client in the B2B services space that is putting 90 percent of its efforts (and budget) in just four areas of digital marketing: Tightly targeted (and long-tail) pay-per-click promotions with a cost-per-click (CPC) of about 40% of what competitors are paying for more generic search terms. By the way, last month Merkle released its Q4 2016 Digital Marketing Report analyzing trends across paid search, social media, display and organic search, while providing highly regarded insights into the performance of major industry players like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Also, you can often fly under the radar and implement new targeting, messaging and media before they know you exist. From a digital marketing standpoint, here are some of the options you have when faced with larger competitors: There are situations when the competitor has so much marketing firepower (dollars and people) that you have little chance of moving the needle in your favor.

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5 Social Media Marketing trends and tips

5 Social Media Marketing trends and tips

If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy, now is the best time to get one. With social feeds growing crowded and viewer attention spans growing shorter by year, you’ll need powerful graphics to captivate your audience. You can put together graphics on a drag-and-drop editor to simplify your content creation process. The receive information from multiple sources, and breaking through that barrier is becoming a tough task for brands and marketers. Tracking consumers’ behaviors on social platforms and targeting them based on interests will become an essential part of marketing. Some social media marketing tools and apps are already incorporating features to support personalization and targeting. This year’s trends will help marketers reach and engage their audience on a more personal level, over social media noise. Ad saturation is driving brands to look for alternative means to reach their target markets. There a quite a few great employee advocacy guides and case-studies that you can look at for inspiration in building your brand advocate outreach programs. You can use an advocacy platform to build and run your brand advocacy program. The modern audience is wise to commercial ploys, and traditional advertising alone may not be a great option for branding your company. According to a study, native ads are set to to grow to $21 billion by 2018. Content discovery tools, content distribution platforms and content amplification tools are interesting means to having your content shared organically on social media. You could use one of these solutions to have your content positioned where it can earn you some traction. Companies with constrained marketing budgets may have not used marketing automation until now, but according to a study, 92 percent of these companies are losing revenue because of that decision. This may force businesses to be present on more than one of them to keep consumers and prospects engaged. Managing social pages can be a time intensive task, without the assistance of a supporting social management tool. The idea is to use the tool to automate tasks that don’t require personal attention – like posting created content to multiple accounts and catching mentions of your brand. The following is a list of trends and tips for social media marketers to leverage now. You can also curate content with a tool and take the final call on what to share. It all comes down to the extra-time that you can save to better invest elsewhere. Social media marketing is set to evolve into a highly tech-focused and detail-oriented effort. To succeed at reaching and engaging your target market, you need to explore and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies offered for social.

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Oreo dunks itself in digital via mobile, social and in-person activations

Oreo dunks itself in digital via mobile, social and in-person activations

During the recent holiday season, Oreo offered an e-commerce website where consumers could purchase limited-edition tins of fudge-covered cookies as a way to drive more direct interaction with consumers. 20 and uses custom technology to enable consumers to scan an Oreo cookie and unlock a digital experience, according to MediaPost. Anyone can share how they dunk an Oreo on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the #OREODunkSweepstakes hashtag for a chance to win a prize. What’s interesting about The Oreo Dunk Challenge is a series of activations and engaging experiences away from the TV, designed to integrate cookie dunking into culture, underscoring how brands are increasingly focused on newer, often digitally-driven, experiences and giving them equal playtime with traditional marketing. Experiential marketing with a digital twist is a new favorite of brands because it can reach cord-cutting younger consumers on their favorite platforms with short snippets of fun, interactive content, a familiar format on social media.

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Spend Less Time on Social Media

Spend Less Time on Social Media

Again this year we see that business owners are cutting back the amount of time they are spending on social media and blogging. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to reduce the time you spend on content marketing without reducing the quality of what you produce. Use a content calendar to map out the topics you want to write about. Think in terms of themes where you can use slightly different versions of the same information on social media, in your email newsletter and on your blog. Take advantage of tools like Google Alerts to deliver the latest information on a specific topic.Then file the information until you are ready to start writing. Don’t wait until you need an article to write it. When things are slow take time to write a few blog posts that will be topical during your peak season, schedule them to run when you know you will be too busy to write something new. Tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Buffer allow you to schedule your social media updates in advance. You will still have to hop on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to respond to comments and questions, but having a few general interest posts mixed in with the real-time updates keeps you in front of prospects. Just remember if you do use these tools you’ll need to check your content if things change. You shouldn’t do this all the time, but resending good content instead of skipping an issue keeps you in front of your audience, and gives more exposure to good information many people may have missed. The bottom line is you need to spend time on your marketing even when you are busy, if you want to stay that way. That isn’t a lot of time to produce one blog post a week, update social media status and produce a monthly email. If you don’t have the time, maybe you need to invest in finding someone to hep you. However, that is all the time many business owners have to spare, especially when the phones are ringing and everyone is busy. If you wait until things slow down to work on marketing, it takes too long to ramp back up again. So how do you fit more time into your schedule to work on your marketing? But, if you are like me and hit that snooze alarm multiple times, that idea is just not going to work.

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How to Build the Best Marketing Strategy You Can Using Only Free Tools

How to Build the Best Marketing Strategy You Can Using Only Free Tools

With these tools you can track where your traffic is coming from, how long visitors are staying on your page, and even see who is on your page in real-time. Internet entrepreneur and digital strategist, Abhilash Patel, says that, “Google Analytics is more than just a free tool, it is an essential part of your marketing strategy. If you aren’t using it to track your web traffic, you are missing out on some of the most important insights into your campaign.” All of these are based on analyzing different aspects of the traffic that reaches your website, where it’s coming from, and how deep it’s going into your page. Content Marketing: Grammarly, Hemingway, and Co Schedule Headline Analyser Human editors and spell checkers are still required, but are not enough from a marketing point of view. But, as this is a full time job in itself, Buffer allows you to batch the social media marketing process by allowing you to do all your composing in one go, and schedule it for a later date. The free GetResponce plan is one of the most prominent email marketing tools allowing you to try for one month free, scheduling them according to your past performance. The software automatically manages your sales pipeline, documents all points of contact with your prospects and current clients, logs sales, and allows you to see everything about each lead in one place. This tells your sales team at what point of the buyer’s journey your leads are at, which in turn enables them to focus their efforts appropriately. From developing a website or blog, to managing your leads, and connecting your entire team, there are a number of free digital marketing resources that make every aspect of creating an efficient strategy easier. Below, I’ve put together a list of the top free digital marketing resources that will help you maximize your marketing efforts to achieve success. By making the most of these free tools, you will be able to catapult your startup to success. From there, you can run these through SEMrush or Google Adwords Keyword Planner for a more thorough analysis of your chosen keywords. However, unlike SEMrush, the Keyword Planner allows you to search for a group of keywords at a time, and gives accurate suggestions for alternative keywords that may perform better for startups. Google’s Analytical Tools Tracking traffic and analyzing visitor behaviour on your site is crucial to understanding what attracts your target audience and what needs improving.

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