Is it possible to involve more than 10,000 people in a democratic online master programme? From 2008 we have been involving more than 10,000 Italian people in a Master programme called “Master 24”.
The first edition of this distance learning programme was sold together with the main Italian financial newspaper “Il Sole 24Ore” with extremely successful results in terms of sales and learning results. This was one of our management development distance learning experiences.
What are the critical success factors when you use edutainment to involve a large community in a distance learning management development programme?
- Focussing on case-history discussion can grab the attention: listening to real managers who lived a case can make a difference if you adopt a typical tv talk-show style
- The online professors must be precise, quick, clear but also bright. Train them to talk to the camera and use humour so that following them can be interesting and fun.
- Of course you need to build a team of people with a good knowledge of management, e-learning and tv language
- Videogames can enrich the effectiveness of your business programme.
Service is crucial to promoting an open MBA. A team of online tutors and coaches was always available to help the participants to attend this programme.
Through brand engagement you can generate a customer experience that tends to be in step with your brand identity and brand values. Easy to say, quite difficult to do.
Sales people and retail chains can feel quite removed from the centre of your business (the head office of your brand). Your central functions, whose activity affects the customer experience, are unaware of this influence.
The correct use of edutainment can help them to understand their role in generating a unique and excellent customer experience. The first step is to make people live the experience. Take this group of people going around Paris to live experiences in different stores of different industries.
These experiences can be the basis for designing a new brand experience by writing and shooting a movie: the new customer journey. Consequently all touchpoints are redesigned through collaborative innovation inspired by a direct experience and a storytelling lab.
Customer experience is not an abstract subject, it’s the real life of your customers. Everyday. It’s your life. Engage your people by letting them redesign this experience by living an experience.
Many brands need to engage professional communities or consumers. Take for example a global coffee brand that wants to educate its consumers and independent barmen so that they can appreciate the value of Arabica coffee. In this case education is a marketing tool. After years of fun adverts, you can’t launch a boring educational activity to make them understand that your wine or your arabica coffee is better than the others.
Whenever you use education as a marketing tool, the correct use of edutainment can facilitate the growth of a customer or a professional community
Why don’t you build an edutainment academy?
We all know that nowadays all stakeholders are interested in a dialogue with the organization based on “true infos”. And learning can be a joyful opportunity to live the brand experience.
When your employees or your sales force don’t know your company’s products, services or offerings and you know why, when your products, your services and your offerings are very complex and can only be appreciated by educated people, the correct use of edutainment can help your people learn more about your industry, your brand, your world.
Through brand engagement you have to involve people from different functional backgrounds and geographical locations so that they play their role in accord with your brand identity.
A platform can unleash the powerful voice of thousands of frontline employees to share what they have learned from their daily interactions with customers. And storytelling is an extremely useful approach to engaging them in this platform.
Behaviours and stories can be interpreted differently in diverse cultures. Cinema has been practicing the continuous production of stories loved all over the world for decades. They are based on the common ground of emotions and feelings: the human experience
In this parody of Star Trek, produced by the employees of a global brand, the community imagined the company in 2300. The parody was the focus of a global discussion about various corporate problems that needed to be solved – immediately, not in 2300. Nowadays in all countries emerging society hates language that is too formal and rhetorical. People need action and true intentions in this decade of revolutions.
We’ve been practicing storytelling for 10 years in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Austria, UK, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, U.S.A, Argentina, Egypt, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, China, Philippines, Indonesia, India.
There are stories loved in many cultures. And, as we know, the human brain always thinks through stories.
Our advice is to use storytelling to communicate to your frontline people the opportunity of sharing their insights on customer experience.
But how many are honest about the challenges and failures they inevitably meet in the process of interacting with their customers, their people, their community? We know that openness and transparency are crucial for people to be able to take ownership of corporate convictions. And it’s crucial to keep the message simple.
Finding the culprit for a mistake is pointless. More than 70 companies have decided to use comedy to highlight typical kinds of behaviour that are not in keeping with their brand. With whom? With their employees of course.
Whenever you risk offending people by telling them they are wrong, the correct use of edutainment can be the solution to making people accept the issue: autonomy of all people in the community is the ultimate goal.
You can make people find the corporate monsters (behaviours not in keeping with your convictions) and the corporate phantoms (things we should do but don’t).
Is edutainment a brand new approach? Come on. It has existed for millennia in the form of parables and fables: they were and are forms of entertainment designed to educate as well as to amuse and to promote social change.
And the noun edutainment was used by Robert Heyman in 1973 while producing documentaries for the National Geographic Society.
Have your ever had the experience of participating in a learning programme where trainers, professors and colleagues used the jargon of their activity, profession, group or business? They communicated the closed world of their organizations, didn’t they?
In a world of connections, in social networks we all appreciate fast-answers and no-jargon guides. How often have you found the usual business classes full of buzzwords to be so boring?
You can experience the use of comedy to engage people in complex disciplines they find quite boring.
Bright Club is a successful British initiative: it is the thinking person’s variety night, blending comedy, music, art, new writing, science, performance, and anything else that can happen on a stage. Bright Club aims to bring scientific researchers together with a new audience, primarily 20-40 year olds who have no existing relationship with academia. It’s a great opportunity for academic staff to get experience of sharing what they do with a friendly, informal audience.
The mission of edutainment is to engage people so that they can appreciate complex issues by understanding the spirit of a discipline. Take your e-learning activities: movies, video, radio, and games are technological experiences where the quality of the entertainment increases the level of attention and interaction of your audience. To be sure that people don’t sleep while participating in your e-learning activities, the correct use of edutainment can be the solution.
Through entertainment you can enhance the value of collective intelligence.
Because as Marshall McLuhan wrote: “It’s misleading to suppose there’s any basic difference between education and entertainment.
This distinction merely relieves people of the responsibility of looking into the matter”.
Take the issue of the misuse of some corporate reports. Companies generate lots of data and analyses, which are considered extremely useful by management.
A comedy scene can generate a discussion in the community on the relevance of data and reports. Are they sufficient, are they effective?
Empower passionate community members to analyze a phenomenon and to generate the solutions. A learning organization is a community of people open to discussion and to change. That’s the new basis of education.
Edutainment, that is to say education and entertainment, can be a useful ingredient in facilitating collective intelligence.
Many companies would like to build a self-organizing and adapting system that empowers people to meet business goals in a flexible way. That’s considered to be the best approach to managing complexity.
How can we communicate complex models that few people understand? They can be felt to be abstract and generic. The younger generation in particular doesn’t like a too formal language. That’s why we can’t engage people by using the usual managerial language full of rhetorical buzzwords
We have been using stories and comedy as tools to involve communities both face-to-face and at a distance for 10 years in more than 30 countries. We give people an outlet to express themselves, to share ideas and humour.
As a company that is the leader in Europe in its sector, we decided to translate “customer centricity” into an Addams family corporate serial: we imagined that our customers love a ‘horror service’. They made the so-called touchpoints very clear, didn’t they?
Power Point slides are not enough to create a spirit of community. A meritocratic culture gives every employee an equal opportunity to express thoughts, ideas and opinions. Leaders have to demonstrate that they are in open dialogue with employees, even when dealing with difficult situations.
The informal language of the social media is a new leadership tool for singling out all of a company’s idiosyncrasies, as well as questioning practices and procedures. Humour and jokes can fuel passion. Why not give your employees the freedom to write a comedy on the paradoxes they perceived on joining the organization? And then publish these videos on your intranet?
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