Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Education Fails When It Comes To Digital Media Training

Some universities are beginning to introduce digital media courses to their curricula, but for the most part, there is a huge knowledge gap. Most students graduate without knowing how to use a webcam to create a YouTube video or how to use social managing platforms, such as Buffer and Hootsuite.

I'm beginning to see a few call out the establishment for their lack of attention, or caring, about this education hole. But until the corporate world sees this as a crisis, private trainers will have to find a way to keep filling the training gap.

Digital media can be learned and taught, but neither are necessarily done well. See most advertising agencies that use social media as a one size fits all, or who think spamming direct messages in Facebook and LinkedIn are going to get you more "likes" or conference signups.

In fact, getting more "likes" is the problem right there. That is NOT what digital media is about. They are really networking platforms, where real live people are members.

Every platform has its own unique audience, which means it needs it's own unique editorial plan in order to maximize its effectiveness. The only way to learn this is to actually use it. No degree will teach you this, unless the actual teachers are using the platforms effectively. It's easy to vet them, too. If their engagement is good, you will be able to see it in their numerous posts and engaged followers. If they have just a name and one post, they are not the people to teach or tell others how to use it.

Where the education deficit is most noticeable is when you talk to students fresh out of Communications, Marketing, or Journalism studies. When those of us who are immersed in this technology look at these graduates as potential candidates, the chasm is so wide, and if there is no will to learn, then there is no way we can hire them. They may get hired by the corporations who don't know any better. HR departments might think that the degree makes a person worthy and knowledgeable over their experience and ability to actually make effective use of each platform. Then later they fire that hire and either give up on digital media "because it doesn't work" or they keep hiring the same type of recruits, thinking that sooner or later, the right one will show up.

It's the equivalent of a marketing hamster wheel. Companies just go around and around, as do the candidates, until they learn otherwise, if they ever do.

Other sources:

Washington Post on the digital divide in education

MeriTalk on K-12 Education Challenges

Saratogian News: A new digital divide