Harvard ManageMentor goes social

I bumped into Martin Baker from LM Matters at the excellent Learning Pool Public Sector Learning Conference this week. and, as UK partner to Harvard Business School Publishing (HBSP), he told me about the improvements which being made to their ManageMentor suite. I’ve made good use of Harvard’s e-learning in the past and I’ve recommended it to a number of clients, for several reasons:

  • You get the impression they’ve really thought hard about what managers might want from interactive management development materials and how, as a result, they need to be designed.
  • They don’t overdo the informational content, concentrating instead on practical tools and applications.
  • The content is associated with particular authors of repute. You don’t get the impression that this stuff is just turned out by anonymous designers (today it’s time management, yesterday it was how to use Word) in a sausage factory.
  • Technically it works without hassle.
  • And did I forget the branding? Yes, that certainly attracts people’s attention.

The suite has consisted in the past of a large library of short modules, each covering a management topic. Although each module encouraged you to take action and gave you the tools to get started, you were essentially on your own. Anyway, it seems HBSP has got religion, and the nature of their new calling is social media.

According to the blurb: "Already on more than five million desktops worldwide, the new version will engage, attract, draw in, and guide learners to increase usage and impact – for formal learning programs, informal on-demand learning, and peer-to-peer learning. Polls, discussion forums, comments, and ratings spark informal learning across an organization. And users of the new version can more easily share and apply concepts and tools with others in the context of their specific organization. New capabilities and tools help leaders more easily share an idea, lead a discussion or kick off group action learning projects with their teams. Comprehensive search capability enables learners to filter by topic, media type and relevancy and guided navigation options help learners get where they want based on available time and interest. And 150+ new videos bring real-world context through stories from Harvard Business School faculty, industry executives and emerging leaders."

I haven’t seen the new suite yet, but I do believe HBSP is on the right track. They understand the different contexts in which management development takes place and the conditions that need to be satisfied if good content i going to stand any chance of application in the real world. It will be interesting to see how many customers have a clue how to integrate such a sophisticated package into their management development strategy.

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