Content discovery and delivery systems

Delivering content to learners resembles the factory models of enterprise created two centuries ago. The premises of manufacturing are becoming replaced by the premises of blogging, tagging, searching, subscribing and authoring. We are transitioning from content delivery systems to content discovery systems. Here's how the two kinds of content differ:

  1. Content discoveries looks like solutions in the eyes of the customer. The content answers a question, resolves an issue or solves a problem. -- Content deliveries look like a problem: to have to deal with it now, to handles the cost of it or to rearrange schedules to accommodate it.

  2. Content discoveries come at a perfect time. The content gets found whenever it is needed, has an immediate use or responds to a pressing situation. -- Content deliveries get purchased when they are available, put in the calendar or convened in real time.

  3. Content discoveries serve the context of the customer. The content fits the situation, applies to the actual use or comforts an individual concern. -- Content deliveries maintain the context of the manufacturer, conformity with specs or enforcement of standards.

  4. Content discoveries get shared by the customers. The content generates buzz, inspires further exploration and gets easily recalled. -- Content deliveries test endurance, generate regrets and get easily forgotten.

  5. Content discoveries involve an adventure. The search that finds the content seems fun, immersive and suspenseful. -- Content deliveries resemble boring stories, predictable plots and repetitive conversations.

  6. Content discoveries put emphasis on how the content is used. The content is only a means to an end, the tool for a job getting done or catalyst for a change. -- Content deliveries regard the content as an end in itself, the job to get done or the change provided.

  7. Content discoveries transform the customer's experience. The customers feel more successful, competent and satisfied with their uses made of the the content. -- Content deliveries perpetuate the customers' experience of being coerced, limited and controlled.
Digital natives take content discoveries for granted when they are online. Classrooms seem antiquated because they perpetuate the content delivery paradigm. Content delivery systems will fall by the wayside as they no longer make sense to their customers.

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  1. Tom, great points.
    I cannot dismiss content delivery's merits especially in the context of permission marketing. Delivered content nowadays should be structured with the intent of the receiver to explore. Receivers' attention cannot be expected - therefore we must respect the audience even more and encourage interactivity.

    Nonetheless, the more nodes we can create for casual content discovery, the greater potential for audience growth. It is of no doubt to me that casual discovery of great content will yield the best opt-in rates.

  2. Thanks for jumping in here, Mario. I don't mean to dismiss the value of content, only the coercion of delivery models. Online delivery offers many more opportunities for opt-in/opt-out compared to classroom vehicles. The feeling of having given permission can vanish if the door is opened for a barrage of push marketing materials. It does depend, as you as say, on structuring the content "with the intent of the receiver to explore" and with respecting "the audience even more". Excellent insights!

  3. The Net is a much better medium for just-in-time rather than just-in-case content. In the late 90's I saw the Web as an excellent tool for performance support or collaboration, but even when I worked in the content-development business I could never figure out a way to get courses online to really work well. I still think that the course (content delivery) is the wrong model for this medium.

    Thanks for constantly creating new frames to discuss various aspects of our field. I really appreciate your writing :-)

  4. Thanks for this Harold. I share your perspective on content delivery being the wrong model for the medium. I originally hoped a change could occur at the level of better instructional designs, but it's seeming more like a "paradigm shift" the longer I explore all these changes.