We are excited to announce the launch of Widen University, an online training center featuring HD videos and web workshops on Widen Media Collective and digital asset management. Widen University is a place where DAM administrators can build their skills and, eventually, earn a certification in Digital Asset Management.
Widen University was designed to address multiple learning styles with video courses, interactive feedback sessions and written exercises. Courses will educate customers, assist with implementation and help Media Collective administrators master DAM.
We sat down with Widen University content and program creators Emily Jacoby, an Implementation Specialist, and Lexy Spry, a Training Specialist.
Why did you develop Widen University?
Emily Jacoby (EJ): When it comes to implementing a DAM, the process is very similar for all customers. We were looking for a way to get the right information out to everyone and help them through the configuration process. Widen University emerged as the best way to provide a reliable, clear implementation plan to our customers.
Lexy Spry (LS): Basically, we needed a way to reach a lot of customers.
How did you determine what content to provide to students at Widen University?
EJ: I’ve been an Implementation Specialist for three years, so I am very familiar with what it takes to get a DAM up and running. We supplemented our team’s knowledge with customer surveys and conversations with Media Collective users to make sure we were covering everything. We learned what people need to know to be the best administrators they can be.
LS: I’m pretty new to working at Widen, so I spent a lot of time looking at current implementation resources, sitting in while sites were being configured, and using existing materials to work through it myself. It was a great opportunity to look at our training content with fresh eyes.
There is a big emphasis on how Widen University presents materials in a variety of ways, like videos, text, and web workshops. Can you talk about what went into the decision to package the information different ways?
LS: Everyone has different learning styles. Adults are generally aware of their learning preferences, and they want options. Some people like interpersonal interactions, other people want to watch videos on their commute, and some people want to read about a process and then work through it themselves. We tried to address lots of learning styles.
EJ: As we started working on the project, we noticed that certain methods of providing information worked well for some and other methods worked well for others. We knew we needed to reach different learning styles for the site to be helpful.
LS: While we were working on Widen University, the marketing and software teams at Widen were adopting some new publishing and project management software. I sat in on a lot of the training sessions where people here were learning new systems and talked to our audience afterwards about how they liked it. It helped me a create a better learning experience on Widen University. I even talked to some of the trainers afterwards to learn more about their process.
What has been fun about creating Widen University?
LS: It’s a brand new idea at Widen, so felt like we had a lot of room to experiment with it. I knew we could start fresh with the it. We also hosted all the resources in the Media Collective, so I got to experience our software everyday. It made things a lot easier. Seriously, I made a lot of versions of my videos.
EJ: It’s a fun new way for me to interact with customers. I also like knowing how this is going to improve not only the implementation process for people, but also how Widen provides service to our customers.
What were some the challenges you came across while working on Widen University?
EJ: An interesting challenge for me was in launching and sharing Widen University internally. In some ways it is very similar to what our customers go through when they launch the Media Collective in their organizations. We had to plan the phases of the project, communicate with people, and get feedback from users. Also like DAM implementations, we had to deal with a changing vision for the project.
LS: I set a really ambitious timeline and given the demand for the next phase of Widen University, it feels like it is still not enough!
Speaking of the next phase, what can we expect to see from Widen University in the future?
LS: Phase two is Admin Life, a series designed for current DAM administrators, specifically Media Collective administrators. That is planned to launch in the spring 2016. We’ll also continue the web workshops, which are designed to simulate a classroom with lots of interactive elements.
EJ: Beyond that, we are working towards a model of certification for DAM administrators.
The Widen University team will soon kick off LiveFromWiden, a series of interactive web workshops that extend the offered courses and connect customers with Widen experts and fellow users. “Branding Your Media Collective Site,” scheduled for December 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm CST, will be the first LiveFromWiden workshop. This will be followed by “Advanced Search” on December 16 and “DAM Advocacy 101” on December 21.
See the press release "Widen Establishes Widen University, a Center for Digital Asset Management Training" for more detials about the launch.