Education is a great way to provide new information to individuals. eLearning through an online training software is a means of doing this as. At its best, education is interactive, transformative and relevant. While this can certainly be a great way to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, it can also be a great approach to marketing and promotion. Unlike TV advertisements, magazine ads, or online pop-ups, educational products ask their audience to engage and promise real knowledge in return. They lack the direct and explicit force of traditional advertising, but they do offer a way to encourage potential customers or clients to start to think about your organization.
Despite the potential, there are also challenges associated with designing educational products for promotional purposes. Many educators are understandably reluctant to transform their classroom into an interactive advertisement. Furthermore, many educational products, whether promotional or not, are not designed with the classroom context in mind. They are offered up as resources more than actual classroom ready content, almost guaranteeing that they will be integrated in a piecemeal fashion outside of their original context. Furthermore, many are rarely used because they are not developed with an attention to the curricular or assessment contexts of educational institutions. You can have the most incredible activity in the world, but if it doesn’t “fit” it won’t get used.
Organizations that want to develop educational products to promote their organization, need to do so with these above realities in mind. They should begin by being clear about the limits of what they can promote. Promoting a specific product through an educational design is likely not going to work. However, you can promote the values of your organization or its commitment to social responsibility quite effectively using educational products. Think of it as a public relations exercise. A company that has just taken steps to improve their labour standards may wish to develop an educational product around this issue, highlighting their own successes as well as those of others in different industries. The important thing though is to tie this directly to school curricula. The product should include a teacher resource that gives them potential ways to integrate it. The less work the teacher has to do to adapt the content, the more likely it is that they will use it. For our labour standards example, this may include a list of specifically where it fits in to certain curricula, a set of suggestions for formative and culminating activities, as well as rubrics for evaluation and assessment. These suggestions should all be followed by a set of necessary worksheets in a digital format that allows the teacher name, worksheet title and a portion of the basic instructions to be modified. Providing extensive details and options as well as a certain degree of flexibility will ensure that your educational product will actually be used in a classroom in the way you intend. The more work you force a teacher to do to make it fit, the less likely it is that it will be used in the way you want, if at all.