Blackboard approached Studio Science to help position their quarterly publication, E-Learn Magazine, as a thought leadership resource.
Blackboard delivers innovative educational technology solutions to help schools, institutions, and companies drive student success.
In an effort to align with Blackboard’s vision of being education’s partner in change, E-Learn Magazine wanted to position itself as a thought leader within the educational technology community.
The E-Learn team faced several obstacles. As a fairly recent initiative at Blackboard, many internal teams either didn’t know E-Learn existed, or misunderstood the purpose of the magazine.
Externally, E-Learn was struggling to gain readership and recognition within the educational technology community. The E-Learn team approached Studio Science to help.
Through people-focused research, the Studio Science team worked to uncover how internal and external audiences thought about E-Learn Magazine, and define what they needed from an industry thought leader. The team discovered that the teaching & learning community had a remarkably different perspective on thought leadership—one that was closely linked to its definition of a leader.
Leadership within the teaching & learning community wasn’t a title, it was an action. The expectations of a leader weren’t just to profess expertise and provide knowledge, but to facilitate discussion and provide opportunities for participation. This key insight anchored the evolved position—E-Learn wasn’t a magazine, it was an initiative.
The Studio Science team worked to formalize E-Learn’s evolved purpose and create the brand’s new messaging and visual language standards. With the new brand elements in place, the Studio Science team redesigned and rebuilt the E-Learn website and print publication. Since the evolved E-Learn was designed to be a contribution platform for the teaching & learning community, all design and content elements captured the spirit of a whiteboard in the form of hand-drawn arrows, sticky-note callouts, and a more “in-the-moment” approach to photography.
While the rebuilt E-Learn platform would serve as a repository for the magazine’s previous content, the nature and type of future content needed to shift dramatically. The Studio Science team conducted an additional round of research to identify the types of content that would be most relevant to higher education leadership, administrators and faculty. The subsequent editorial strategy directed the topics, contribution types and content mix, while also providing strategy to support the internal and external rollout.
The reimagined E-Learn was enthusiastically received by Blackboard’s internal teams as well as its customers. The platform’s content quality continues to skyrocket, culminating in contributions from education icons like former second lady, Dr. Jill Biden.