Thursday, December 21, 2006

The king is dead?

Thought provoking post from Scott Karp on the subject of content. Don't miss the discussion going on in the comments. As is so often the case, that's where the debate really unfolds.

In my sector, there are still those who proclaim that "content is king". I'm still coming to terms with my right to disagree with boffins, even though I'm just li'l ol' me. I have a kneejerk tendency to assume that I am mistaken when someone I respect makes a categorical statement about the industry. Last time someone used that phrase I felt very uncomfortable - they seemed so sure of themselves, but I didn't agree. I let it go on that occasion, but am relieved to see the argument seeing daylight here.

Of course, the content of learning resources has to be reliable, valid, etc. But as I see it, there are loads of people who can produce content. Good content. Naturally, I believe that my team and I are among them. Maybe it's because I'm a learning designer that I believe what makes a client go with us rather than a competitor has more to do with design than content. Is it pitched at the right level(s)? Does it cater to the range of users? Is the layout easy on the eye? How intuitive is the navigation? Is the user in control of his journey through the content? How easily will he find what he is looking for? What external/internal/human resources are placed at his disposal? Are there multiple ways in to the content? Is it engaging? Are there opportunities for interactivity? All that stuff...

There are many, many organisations out there producing learning resources. It's a tough market. I agree with Scott that, if we want to grow - in fact, if we want to survive - we will have to do far more than produce good content. Otherwise, our users are likely to stick to Google and wikipedia...

2 comments:

Harold Jarche said...

I've felt for a while that
community is king

Karyn Romeis said...

I don't think you'll get much argument from the learning community on that. The trouble is that a large proportion of our client base hasn't got there, yet. They occupy a different realm and remain unconvinced. To some people, all this community, learner-driven stuff is newfangled, new age, eye-rolling pie in the sky. We have a long old road ahead of us, and much of it is uphill.