On Wednesday, April 15, Justin Belleme stood before a room of local leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs at One Million Cups Asheville to share his vision for the next iteration of the JB Media Institute. One Million Cups provides a weekly forum for entrepreneurs (nationwide) to present their ideas and seek feedback in a supportive and highly caffeinated environment (one million cups … of free coffee!). Justin shared – for the first time publicly – our plans to take the JB Media Institute to the web via an online learning platform.
While Justin began his presentation sharing the history of the in-person JB Media Institute – which operates under more traditional characteristics of a physical classroom, with dynamic instructors, group discussions and brainstorming sessions – he also shared why we are inspired to take our integrated Internet marketing Institute online. Our goal in providing education to marketing professionals and business owners is to make the information accessible. Giving students the option to learn on their own schedule and from anywhere seems like a clear next step for the JB Media Institute.
E-learning: Nothing New
We’d be crazy to tout online learning (or “E-learning”) as a new idea. And we know there are plenty of arguments for and against E-learning and the use of technology in a classroom setting. According to Wikipedia and other sources, E-learning has been in existence since 1999, when the term was first used to describe distance learning or computer based training. And yes, online classes for individual Internet marketing concepts are available all over the web, but we’re not interested in repeating what has already been done. Instead, we want to focus on breaking new ground in the world of online marketing training for entrepreneurs and small business marketers by creating an integrated Internet marketing training program that shares the best practices from industry professionals.
Marketing professionals and business owners need a comprehensive approach to the ever-changing, always-evolving field of Internet marketing. This includes the strategies and best practices for SEO, social media, PR, and online advertising. Most importantly, there must be an emphasis on how these elements interact with one another for success. Staying current in a field that makes frequent shifts is no easy task, but we break it down into manageable bites and show how it all works together in our 6-week Institute time frame. As Justin shares, “Our industry is rapidly changing and we have to keep up to help our clients be successful. We update our class presentations several times per year to keep up with the industry. This up-to-date, real world knowledge is one of the key differentiators of our program.”
Continuous vs. Continuing Education
The online JB Media Institute is designed to support a cycle of continuous education rather than continuing education in the field of Internet marketing. What do we mean by that? Justin explains, “For our in-person class, students can ask and follow up with questions via email. Within the online version, we plan to create an environment where students and alumni can share ideas and answer each other’s questions in an ongoing community setting. The facilitator from the JB Media Institute will provide support, particularly for the more technical questions. Still, our goal is for the community of students to share knowledge in a way that is collaborative and reflects the real challenges and opportunities students are facing in their businesses.”
Think of this continuous education model as a windmill that uses power and knowledge from all around to create energy and momentum. In our case, the energy and momentum from our learners, alumni, and instructors is used to power the discussion forums within our online classroom. An ongoing discussion is crucial in our line of work, where things are always changing, new trends are always popping up, and new limitations or policies are being put into place (are you listening Mr. Zuckerberg?). With our continuous education model, we foresee marketing professionals from similar industries engaging in discussions in our community forums about best SEO practices for nonprofits, effective Facebook marketing for realtors, or online PR strategies for eCommerce retailers, all while our instructors and Institute moderators provide real-world knowledge gained through the daily work we perform for our agency clients.
Become a Part of Our Online Continuous Learning Community!
During his presentation, Justin shared that we’ll launch our first online Institute to a beta group of learners in mid-May. Once we’ve sorted through their feedback and made necessary changes, we’ll open enrollment for any and all interested in Internet marketing training. If you’d like to learn more about the in-person or online JB Media Institute, check out our feature at the Asheville Citizen-Times online. And if you’d like to join us (you won’t regret it!) or want more details, fill out the contact form below.