Multimedia communications are becoming the go-to means of successfully advertising, educating and informing. Such modern, dynamic forms of technology can be daunting to use, however, since they tend to require relatively complex skillsets like audio-visual editing or graphic design. If you’re like me, and have completed your formal education (i.e., don’t have the time or money to enroll in a new set of classes), I have a solution: self-directed learning! You have access to a plethora of free, online tutorials by various multimedia experts and developers. It might sound like extra work during your free time, and maybe it will be. But once you see how impressed your boss and colleagues are when you give a beautiful presentation, those hours of “homework” will pay off.
People learn differently—for example, some folks are visual learners and respond well to being shown how to do a task, while others prefer to read instructions and act based on them. Some people feel comfortable in the realms of math and science, while I find myself inclined toward the abstract—creative arts, music, etc. One thing it seems we can all more or less agree on, though, is this: the simpler the information, the easier it is to learn. Efficient delivery of information is what the big guys like Google and Apple do so well. They can be identified by recognizable images and terms, and are known for focusing on the user’s or audience’s needs. They’re ahead of the curve, or arguably carving it out, so you can follow easily.
Many institutions pride themselves on modern (and expensive!) updates to the media technology they house, but do the staff even know how to use the tools they’ve been given? And what if you were the one person who got it? A friend recently told me about this incredible resource room he had access to for a graduation ceremony. He was able to book the space because, as backwards as it was, no one knew how to operate the audio-visual learning equipment the room had been designated for. It sat there, empty, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it cost to install.
I have a similar story to share: a local institution chose to use SharePoint as a secure file-sharing application (like Dropbox, but more hardcore). Everyone would roll their eyes when asked to upload a file to it, because users were always being logged out at random, unable to “check” documents in and out, or find the folders they had access to. I complained to my father about this “stupid” SharePoint one day, and he was surprised. He had been using the same application for four years and it had been a simple and effective tool that suited the project he was managing. He suggested that it was very difficult to use without the guidance of instructions and training. And that made me wonder: could it possibly be that no one had really taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the product? And if that was the case, could I access instructions and training? I found out I could. And probably, so can you.
Next week in Part 2, I’ll elaborate on the benefits of being the only one at work to read the manual!