Thursday, October 01, 2009

What’s Your Max Learning Strategy?

I’m reading Chris Anderson’s latest book Free:  The Future of a Radical Price.

He talks about the what Google’s CEO Schmidt calls Google’s “max strategy.”

Take whatever it is you are doing and do it at the max in terms of distribution.  The other way of saying this is that since marginal cost of distribution is free, you might as well put things everywhere.

According to Anderson, Schmidt then jumps into a description of HBO’s launch of The Sopranos: 

  • Create a great show
  • Create a blog about the show
  • Do some PR
  • Make some ‘online buzz-generators’ like a Facebook page or viral video
  • Send plot updates via text message and Twitter
  • Web site tells even more about charcaters and show
  • Post extra footage to YouTube
  • Create a contest to drive even more attention

That’s the max strategy.  Maybe only the actual HBO deal generates any money, but all of the other contribute to its overall success.

So how can we translate that approach to learning and training?

(And remember, the goal of a max learning strategy isn’t simply about marketing the e-learning event.  That’s a marketing strategy.)

Think about a max learning strategy as a way to get your content out there in more ways than one.  It’s beyond a single learning event.   And it’s not just about formal solutions as tracked in the LMS.

It’s perhaps a bit of a scatter shot approach.  Providing more opportunities for learners to “accidentally” discover your content and get the information they need to do what they need to do.  It’s about combining formal learning events with social learning, informal learning, accidental learning, and whatever else it might take.

riskIn Brent Schlenker’s recent webinar, he started exploring the  concept of a “learning campaign.”  (Brent acknowledges that this isn’t necessarily a ‘new’ idea).

In the comments on my post on Brent’s talk, Steve Flowers suggests how he has been doing this in his workplace.  He calls it a ‘layered strategy’.  He says,

We stopped thinking 'this product' and started thinking 'bigger'. We built in things like message posters, and constructed brief PSA's that echoed some well shaped messages that could be reused throughout the organization for consistency. This was a concerted effort to carry the message. It's a campaign.

Julie Dirksen also provided some great ideas on how to create a campaign, including before, during and after activities.

So is it a learning campaign or a max strategy?  Either way are you doing it at your organization?  How?

Photo credit:  Risk! by junkmonkey


@siibo said...

I like these posts but reckon a more accurate comparison than learning and marketing is learning and Change Management.

The Max Strategy is pretty much out of Kotter's 'Heart of Change or any of the other well-known Change Management models.

I suppose the point is that you have to have a scattergun approach. Not for pedagogical reasons - pedagogy deals with the individual - but because you're working with organisations.

Glen Sensei said...

This may be out of context, as I'm not part of an organization nor do I have one; I am just myself, but my strategic plan of attack involves 2 things: constraints and personalization.

In today's world, max = infinite. I do what I can considering my time, skills, experience and need.

Things like marketing, branding and exposure are great, but at the same time when I think 'bigger' it often doesn't reflect myself. I have to step back sometimes. I want to be in this as authentically as possible.

As a side note, maybe the answer lies in the specifics of "whatever it is that you are doing".

Cammy Bean said...

Joe Deegan wrote about his 'continuous learning' strategy back in May: