Design Effective, Data-Driven Blended Campaigns

By Cornerstone

Follow the Learners

What is the value of rethinking the traditional split of classroom and digital learning? Lori Niles-Hofmann, director of digital learning for Scotiabank, believes that to be effective with modern audiences, learning campaigns must strategically and appropriately blend methodologies, leveraging the full spectrum of tools to meet learners on their own terms and using data and metrics to continually monitor the results, discover insights and improve.

Appropriately blend classroom and digital learning

Hofmann proposes a matrix that balances classroom and digital learning, rather than sharply dividing the two. Traditionally, the classroom was the proper place for creating, evaluating, analyzing and applying information, while digital was considered primarily appropriate for understanding, recalling and locating information. Hofmann‘s matrix places degree of change on one axis and the skills gap on the other, showing that the classroom setting is most appropriate when both a high skills gap and a high degree of change are present. The classroom setting also nurtures the emotional as well as the social part of the change that comes with learning in this quadrant.

Leverage all the tools and resources available

Hofmann reminds us that any effective campaign depends on careful planning. To begin with, we should be sure to leverage all the tools available to us. As appropriate, we should empower graphic designers and digital content editors to create content for a variety of mediums outside the classroom and e-learning. Posters, podcasts, videos, interviews, articles, white papers, infographics and social learning all contribute to an effective campaign.

Develop a social strategy

Social learning, in particular, requires a strategy. A community manager or social media manager is essential for collaboration platforms such as Facebook, Yammer and Slack. Although the community manager role need not be full time, Hofmann advises that it must be a significant part of each day’s work. Messages should be regularly monitored and responses should be quick. Also keep in mind that social is a stethoscope of the campaign, not a megaphone.

Choose the best tools and influencers for the audience Communications and marketing teams can provide excellent advice about how best to engage with the audience and can point to data and metrics to guide the campaign strategy. Communication and marketing professionals have different skill sets from L&D professionals, so collaboration can be very valuable when selecting the best tools for your audience and the best influencers for your network. This means you should be sure to “Make friends with communications and marketing,” as Hofmann said tongue-in-cheek.

Tools such as Experience API (xAPI) and CMI-5 help us to gather knowledge from our learning management systems so we can make the most impactful selections regarding sites, emails, screensavers and other broadcasting messages.

Follow the learners

What is the most essential component of a learning campaign strategy? Simply put, it’s to follow the learners and meet them where they are. This means removing any unnecessary encumbrances; Hofmann cautions against introducing new platforms as part of a learning campaign. If your learners are already using Facebook, for example, it’s more effective to engage them there, rather than creating a new website they must learn to navigate. We should teach learners one essential thing (what we want them to learn) rather than requiring they learn a second thing (such as going to a new website). Additionally, meeting learners where they are allows them to feel they’re in control.

Structure the campaign so that users feel they are in control

It’s important to structure the campaign in a way that users feel they are in control, which leads to better adoption. Marketing tools which drip-feed the users based on their engagement and interest are quite effective; content is pushed out depending on what users have actually clicked on and read. For example, day one of a campaign might be an email introduction with a curated set of articles and an installation app; week two might be a poster or screensaver and an AMA (ask me anything) session; month one might be an in-class event, app reminders and a module. With a drip-feed campaign, content is pushed in response to user interest, which allows them to feel in control.

Continually monitor and pivot

In addition to utilizing feedback and ratings, we should make use of tracking tools such as xAPI or CMI-5, which provide valuable metrics and data regarding user engagement. These digital body language readers track how long people spend on a page, how far they scroll, what path they take through the learning, the time and dates of visits, which items are downloaded, etc. All of this data can be used to drive future campaigns. We should analyze the metrics, discover insights and design backwards based on this information. In this way, we can continually improve the blended learning experience.

Learn more about how you can apply blended learning to your organization at

Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ: CSOD) is pioneering solutions to help organizations realize the potential of the modern workforce. As the global leader in cloud-based learning and human capital management software, Cornerstone is designed to enable a lifetime of learning and development that is fundamental to the growth of employees and organizations.
Additional information is available at: