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Library Education with Niche Academy Tutorials VS. Vendor Tutorials

[fa icon="clock-o"] Sep 11, 2015 8:32:40 AM [fa icon="user"] Jared Oates [fa icon="folder-open'] Library Marketing, Library Education


INTRODUCTION:

The Niche Academy platform provides value to libraries by helping them deliver their own educational curriculum more efficiently. The ready-to-use tutorials we offer are an essential element of that value. We get a common question when we first introduce people to the Niche Academy tutorials:

“How are your tutorials different from the tutorials provided by the vendors?”

This post highlights 5 things that differentiate our tutorials.


Niche Academy Tutorials are a Powerful Promotional Tool

Every Niche Academy includes a short video introduction to the library resource. These introductions quickly and invitingly show users how the resource will benefit them. They give users a reason to explore a little further. Because you can link users directly to these introductions from literally anywhere--Facebook, your website, a newsletter, an email... they are  a powerful promotional tool in a way that a support website or a cheat sheet never could be.

anderson-intro.png

 

A Consistent and Clean User Experience

User experience with vendor tutorials is all over the map.

Some provide videos on a YouTube channel. While it’s nice to have the videos, YouTube was not made to be an eLearning platform, hence, the videos are not clearly organized and are notorious for distractions and detours.

Some vendors provide help information on their website. This approach redirects the user to the vendor website, however, which has it’s own navigation and an agenda other than your own simple educational goal.

Sample Vendor YouTube Tutorial Niche Academy tutorial website integration

Niche Academy tutorials, on the other hand, integrate with your website. The interface is consistent, non-distracting, and visually appealing. The information is presented sequentially, in bite-sized chunks and the navigation makes it easy to find just the information you need and then refer back to it as necessary.

We Continually Update Our Tutorials

One of the most frequent complaints with vendor-provided how-to support is that the user interface has changed since the help file was created. Sometimes this is because the vendor hasn’t kept that information up to date. Other times it’s because the library is referring people to an outdated help resource--an old PDF file, for example. 

Niche Academy tutorials, by contrast, are continually updated. When we build our tutorials, we also build an automated monitoring system for each resource. We get notified whenever a resource changes so we’re able to update the tutorials in a timely way. Your link to the tutorial doesn’t change at all. There is no maintenance required on your end. 

We Link Back to Your Resources

Each of our ready-to-use tutorials gives you a way to link users back to your service. If you’re using our Zinio or our Overdrive tutorial, for example, you can link people straight from the tutorial to your own instance of Zinio or Overdrive. This significantly reduces the likelihood that users will get lost before they actually start to use the service. Vendor-provided help files or YouTube links are generally not customizable in this way.

 

You Can Create Your Own Courses

Finally, the Niche Academy platform makes it easy to create your own courses. This may be the most important difference between using Niche Academy and just settling for vendor tutorials. The libraries that survive into the next decade will not simply be cataloging and circulating books. They will be funded consistently by their communities because they provide an agile, locally fitted, and indispensable education resource. They will have their own custom courses that fill important gaps in the formal education system--covering subjects like basic technology use, job search, genealogy, and entrepreneurship. Niche Academy is simply the best way for libraries to deliver this kind of education.


Your library brand is what the public thinks about when it hears your library's name. Niche Academy tutorials provide an essential tool in building a solid library education brand.


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Jared Oates

Written by Jared Oates

Jared comes to Niche Academy with a love for teaching and learning. He's a self-taught software engineer and graduated from college with two teaching-emphasis degrees. He finds endless fascination in the ways that new technology changes lives and reshapes the world around him.

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