Academy Breakdown | ClickUp University
Hey there. Welcome to Academy Breakdown a show by Think Through where we go under the hood of online course programs, communities and training and certification platforms to look at the technologies and how everything's made, the strategy and execution of these programs, and then how you can take these same tools and techniques and apply them in your own training and certification programs or business. On today's episode of Academy Breakdown, we're looking at Click Up University Click Up University which if you don't know, click up is an amazing productivity tool. They kind of pitch it as the one tool to rule them all, so to speak. But it's a really customizable project management task management time management chat platform, but they also have a customer education and training program called Click Up University that I want to jump into today on Academy Breakdown.
If You Don't Know Me. My name's Matt Tidwell. I'm the founder of Think Through an agency really helping brands unlock the power of education, training and reduce the overwhelm when it comes to producing online training and education certification programs like this and launching these platforms in a fully integrated and comprehensive way. Like our other academy breakdowns, we're going to focus on the same three areas. First, we're going to look at technology. What are the tools and systems in place here that allow click up university to thrive? Second, we're going to look at the approach.
How are the learning designers? How is the brand? How is the company thinking about using education? Granted, I'm not a click up employee or person, but I do interpret how they're operating here just from a customer's point of view. I am just looking at how this experience is supporting the overall business. And then finally, we're going to look at the strategies that you can use and take away from what we learn here with click up university and then apply that in your own business. So let's jump in first.
Let's take a look at the technologies. Click up university really is an extension of the brand and we've seen this in other episodes as well where we have a main marketing website, right? In this case its click up to come. But now we have a companion education site and platform.
In this case it's university dot click up, dot com. So we have really two technologies for the main marketing website. They're using WordPress. We can see that here using WordPress and a variety of plug ins and things on the other side.
On the on the university side though, they're actually using an enterprise learning management system called Skilljar. So Skilljar is an amazing platform. It's a really rich, robust enterprise class, scalable learning platform, and it can deliver all sorts of types of content. And I would say the click up university going this route is a very traditional large scale learning operation.
Right. There could be some reasons why they're doing that. I'm curious if they are also using skilljar on the internal side to onboard and train employees and things like that.
So maybe they have an internal LMS and an external LMS. I don't know that just from what I can find online here, but externally they're using WordPress and Skillshare. So in addition to these platforms though, there are some really neat technologies in play for authoring. So for actually like writing and creating the content, they're using a suite of tools by articulate.
So I'll link all these things in in description below, but using articulate and specifically they're using rise and storyline 360 And so we'll look at these content experiences and how they're made. But I think that's a really unique kind of product differentiator in that they have a very enterprise class element. They're also using a host of e-learning authoring tools, and they're deploying that in customer facing training, most likely in addition to this internal training that they likely also create.
So they also are using a host of tools to do webinars. That's the other big component in this education business. And something else that we'll talk about later on. Strategy is a lot of their training is actually kind of virtual live experiences.
And again, that's one of the key of the five. That's that's actually number one is virtual live education. And they're doing just an entire like myriad of online virtual live trainings. And so virtual live infrastructure is going to be like zooms and things like that. And then their ondemand business is going to be in Skilljar. So, all right.
Let's jump in here and take a look at a couple of these things here. We are looking at the university side of click up here and this is again in Skilljar. Some things that I just absolutely love. I love the character and the personality that the branding team has has really extended into the learning platform. So often you have this beautiful marketing landing, you know, sign pages and all this stuff, and then you get into training. And training is just like kind of the, you know, left aside and you're getting kind of the scraps of the of the design team.
And so I love the fact that this is really an integrated brand experience. It feels like an official destination. And you'll see throughout the content really just, you know, how great of a creative team click up has powering and running the show behind the scenes here.
So if we look at the platform though, there's some really interesting things that are happening here. So again, this is skill jar functionality, but I love this just right on the home page. Once I'm with some logged in, it's actually connected to my click up account, which is which is also pretty cool the way they've integrated the authentication there.
But you know, very clean, very simple to navigate and look at. And I can already see things that are in progress. I can see things I haven't started in. I love the fact that everything has this kind of category tag, like it's a beginner level, it's intermediate level, it's expert. I can see the number of minutes something is going to take.
And increasingly time is our you know, time is our most precious resource. And so the fact that they're sharing that right up front, like, here's what you're getting into. It's a beginner course, but it's 40 minutes long.
Like, come on in. That is a really, really nice feature that I think is going to either encourage or kind of help people focus their energy because there's really nothing worse than starting your online training program, you know, realizing that it's not a five or ten minute walk through that's going to take an hour and then you get called in, do other stuff, and then you like never come back and completions are low. And so I think just being really communicative upfront and, you know, sharing some basic information, super helpful, great user experience.
If we look at all courses before we actually just jump into the thing, something else about the technology and really how they've set this up is, is I love the categorization of it all. This can be done a million different ways. Some people just have like channels, some people have written, some people have dedicated pages per different kind of category.
But using the skilljar kind of tagging and categorization system click up has chosen to organize in many, many different ways. So they've organized by role within the product, which I think is pretty smart. And really they have guest, members, and admins, you know, varying levels of permissions and so we can filter by role. That's super smart. If we think about experience level, that's that's kind of what level means. They have beginner like fresh out the oven, ready to go beginner training and then they have more advanced topics, customizations, integrations, things like that.
And then like all good training programs, I can search by topic and because click up is rapidly adding new features and functions and models and stuff to their stack, they've also got the core product kind of broken down by certain things here. So they've got a by product, they have it by topic, they have it by experience, they have it by role. They have all these things. So it's a really, really great kind of discovery tagging hierarchy system. There's something else that you'll see is in addition to what we have in the university, if I if I click on webinars or blog, that actually takes me back over to the marketing side of the house.
So it's kind of a really interesting integrated way where they've got, you know, education's pointing to marketing pages and support documentation. Support documentation and marketing are pointing back to education. So they've really, you know, integrated this in a in a smart way.
And I think that that's important. That takes a lot of thought and care. So if you're a larger company and you have these different departments, it's not enough to launch training. People have to know it exists. People have to enroll in it and be incentivized to enroll it, and then the teams have to really kind of manage that cross-functionally in order for it to be successful.
And so click up is doing a great job just on the surface here. When I'm looking at how they've set this up, they've definitely thought it through. So and again, we can get back to where we were just click up university boom, right from the learning section down the main page. So all right. Now let's talk about the the actual approach is that from just the tagging and the technology and like the plug ins and stuff, let's look at the actual approach.
Here I am. I'm inside of a course and I've got this landing page. Now, you can tell that someone who's really familiar with education is likely setting this up. They have a really great kind of learning, objective statements. It's a little more academic than maybe some of the other brands, but it is very true in like it's action oriented.
It's focused on what you will achieve versus kind of like this is for so-and-so and you're doing this thing. In that thing, it is a little more formal, but I like that actually. It's very clear, and I think that that makes it kind so clear as getting we have an easy starting stop button. We also get very easy information like here's how many lessons and things like that. Here's where the cool thing happened. So let's start.
Let's take a look at this. So this is pretty neat. This is something that many teams may or may not have seen before. Maybe use it, I don't know. But they're using articulate storyline and another product by articulate called Rise.
And so this is a rise package here, but they're using rise to author a lot of the content. And what I've noticed just by going through a couple of programs is a few things. If you're not familiar with Rise, it gives you just a beautiful experience. It's one of my favorite tools to use for quickly authoring content, especially more like enterprise, traditional e-learning learning management system. You know, infrastructures and networks.
It's just a great it's fast, it's wonderful tool. So you can see here we have great imagery. I love the illustrations. We have a click, a unicorn superpower thing like I love it. And the amount of illustration and just thought and design here throughout the programs is outstanding. Something that is unique.
Just as we go through this though, traditionally when I'm making a program for a client or I'm working with folks or, you know, I'm reviewing other brands, there's typically a lot more video content. I think a lot of folks will go kind of video first in their training programs. And so they're thinking, We need a video on this, we need a video on that. We need, you know, videos and panels and interviews and webinars and very video. All right.
Click up has actually gone the other direction. Most of this content is text and illustration based, which it makes it fast, makes it short and kind of digestible, really easy to read and get through here. But I love like the use of gifs. They do some really fun kind of branded illustrations and things like that. And so again, it took me by surprise in that it wasn't very video driven. And I think a lot of people who are kind of operating in the space think that we have to do just tons of video because that's what the industry wants for. That's what our clients want or expect.
Click up is kind of showing, Hey, you can do a lot of good with text and imagery if you're really thoughtful about creating that experience within the program. And so kudos to the click up team for pulling this off. It's awesome. Looks really, really great.
Um, all right. Let's talk about the more important and interesting thing. So in a lot of training programs, it's a lot of video like let's show you how this works. So let's show you how to set this up or let's show you how to configure this thing. So let's talk about the three steps to this thing.
Very video. First, I love the fact that they have made this action oriented, even though it's text and imagery, it's very action focused. And you can see that the conclusion of this course, setting up our hierarchy, the last thing they're going to have us do is an activity. And this is critical because I think this is the step that most brands miss. They think that you can learn a lot just by showing. And you can like we're doing that right now.
We're learning how this thing is made. But when it comes time to actually applying this, very, very few brands give their clients and customers a safe way to implement and test and practice and do all the things. And they have done a great job with this. Let me show you what's unique about it. Here we go. Let's pull this up.
This is cool. So what they're using here is another articulate product called Storyline 360. And Storyline 360 allows you to create all sorts of clickable interactive web experiences. And you can use those in anything really.
You can use them in thinkific and Kajabi and Teachable you can use them in Skilljar and in WordPress and all sorts stuff. But it's a really kind of unique authoring tool just for these types of experiences. And so again, what is amazing is that they have created kind of an interactive apply what you've learned sort of experience and it's scenario driven.
So I love this, check this out. So you're in the creative team at your company. You have to create a space for creative services. In this space, you collaborated with your teammates on graphic and web design for clients. Lets you know, click anywhere to begin. Let's get started. So they've given us the scenario and now here we have a simulation of their product.
And this is this really cool because in a enterprise program like this, think about it. In some situations I as a user can't really test and do a whole bunch of practice stuff because I actually might mess something up that's really critical, like time tracking or billable hours, or I might accidentally delete a whole bunch of work that's been planned by a project manager or something. So it could be a pretty critical business system. And rather than just saying, let's let our clients go figure it out and they can just play around in it, you know, clearly we could do that, but they've gone ahead and actually made a simulation, which I think is really, really cool. So this is really an image that's kind of interactive and clickable. So let's click spaces, you'll see these are hotspots, click on a new space.
And so now we're, we're getting in here and let's give our space a name, click in here and we got it. Creative Services and now we're going on. So I really get to kind of walk through the process of using the tool in a safe environment, meaning I'm not messing up critical company data of my own and I get to practice and do these things. Also, they have these tips which are pretty awesome. I like that. And this the fact that they've kind of hovered over stuff and have arrows and call outs again are really, really rich and immersive content experience. So
very different from some of the other customer academies that we've looked at them in the series and then we will look at in the series. But I think this makes them special and unique in that they're not leaning on video as much. And in a traditional e-learning sense, they're giving folks an opportunity to apply that learning, which is crucial. And then, you know, they're leaning on their strengths, which is really kind of creative graphic design centered background. So there's a lot of good things happening here.
So we've looked at some of the technologies. We've gone back and forth a little bit. But I just wanted to recap, you know, some of the approach. Again, if we think about their infrastructure, the approach has been a fully integrated, you know, marketing, sales and customer education experience and they're connecting the two infrastructures very, very well.
The second is that they focus on, you know, discoverability through roles and experiences in product features. And so, you know, thinking about ways that customers can navigate your experiences and your product and your education be super critical. And this is a great example of one way to get it done and then thinking about the types of experiences. We looked a lot here at the e-learning, the experiences that they're cultivating here, they've really got the on demand component nailed. They have that with video webinars and they have that with e-learning, and they have that with like product simulations and all that. So on, demand is really high.
They've also got a series of live webinars, and I think this is really pretty sharp. They keep a weekly cadence where, you know, every week there's something happening in the series for that particular stage. So, you know, every week there's something for beginners. Every week there's a set up webinar, every week there's something else.
And so a really kind of rich cadence for customers to get into. Lastly is, you know, if we think about this is the help documentation side of the business. And if I look at this in addition to skilljar and things like that, looking at this from a documentation portal and things like that, something else that's, you know, critical. And just another piece of the whole customer success suite is this documentation side. So I think it's really important to kind of factor that in that intercom plug in being there documentation.
I'm not sure exactly how they're using intercom aside from just this help documentation. You know, I don't really see a whole lot of chat. I don't see a whole lot of things like that. But I know that this is pretty closely integrated with the product. If you have help or have questions and things like that, there's little models.
So Intercom, Skilljar, Articulate. It's getting you a really comprehensive system here. So let's also talk about some of the approach that is a little different, something that I wasn't anticipating first Clickup university doesn't really have any certifications. I'm curious as to why that exist.
I don't actually know, but I think that certifications, especially in certain project disciplines, certain roles like a project manager or a creative director or a sales manager, things like that. I feel like certifications and certain tools could be a really kind of leg up on certain things. So I know our project management team here at ThinkThru, you know, they have project management, professional certifications, things like that.
They Microsoft teams and all the other things, right? So there's certifications and all these different things they would love to have one in clickup I know because we use clickup and they've asked if they're certifications available in it so that they can increase their resume and posted on LinkedIn and things like that. So I'm curious as to why there's not certifications. I'm guessing it's their product is evolving so rapidly and they have to kind of keep up with that pace.
I'm guessing it's it's coming. It's on the roadmap, I bet. But I would love to see certifications. There's none now
again we also talked about the uniqueness that there's not a lot of video. So the fact that you don't have a video team or the fact that you're now working with an agency to produce a ton of video content shouldn't slow you down or shouldn't hold you back. This team is a great example of what great illustration and some creative authoring can really do for a on demand e-learning experience. And they've done a brilliant job at that. Let's think about takeaways and what you could apply or what my personal takeaways were after having dug into the Clickup University.
And the first thing is looking for ways to create a lean and repeatable process. I think that's what click Up has done here really, really well through university is that they leaned on their strengths and their strengths were design and education and workflow and processes and all of that. And so they have a really elegant solution for consistently delivering, you know, high quality education at a particular level. And that level is largely illustration, text product simulations, you know, and things like that. So not much video here, but they've done a brilliant job and they probably are just authoring a ton of content behind the scenes, just trying to keep up with the product updates. The second is they've integrated really, really well with marketing systems between the forward facing, you know, front facing website property and this university property.
They've done a great job connecting the dots and then also integrating, you know, other marketing automation tools like Intercom. A really nice job. My biggest takeaway from click up is the use of interactive product simulations and kind of sandboxing folks into an area where they can apply the learning.
And I think that is the number one thing to do. If you're thinking about launching customer education or how you can scale and improve is looking for ways where customers can actively apply the things that you're showing them and video things that you're showing them in documentations, things like that. Like what is it that you could do that makes your training unique and hands on? Because that's really going to reinforce the learning and it's also going to make people more successful with your products. So that's the biggest takeaway for me.
All right. So we've taken a look at the technology again here. We had Skilljar, we have WordPress, we have articulate rise and we have storyline 360 in play. We also have Intercom for some of the documentation and marketing automations. From a strategy standpoint, it's a fully integrated deployment. They're doing just really great job integrating all the different teams, and that's something that we cannot understate, cannot underestimate the level of coordination and difficulty that is at a product and a scale and a company of this size.
So, all right. That wraps this episode of Academy Breakdown. Hopefully, this was a helpful episode showing you how Clickup University is just doing wonders to increase customer success with the clickup product and how they're using training and education to grow the business. And so if this was at all helpful, like subscribe, follow all the things, stay tuned for the next episode. We are going underneath the hood of brands each and every week trying to see how these great companies are using customer education training to unlock the secrets of customer success. And so if there is a company that you'd like to see in the show, feel free to leave them in the comments we are actively working on now and this season, but next season as well.
And we want to make sure that we're reaching out and, you know, connecting and going under the hood with brands that you want to hear about. Again, I'm Matt Tidwell. Thank you so much for tuning in to Academy Breakdown. Check us out online at ThinkThru ( T-H-I-N-K-T-H-R-U) Dot CO. That's Dot CO ThinkThru.co
And if you're at all interested, you can download the guide that we've put together for this as well. So don't miss that. It's an incredible resource. You need it. Go ahead and download that at ThinkThru.co Link in description below. Thank you again.
Have a good one. See you.