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    • #4676
      Laura Berlage

      loon lake kitLet’s take a moment to think about your student’s experience as class approaches.  They see your class listing, get excited, and sign up.  Then there’s the long wait until, one day, there in the mailbox if their materials kit.  They rush back to the house with it to open the box.  It’s like a Christmas present with all the little pieces!  They get even more excited about the class!  They feel a little bit of you and your style coming through.  They feel special.

      At least, that is our goal!

      This is essential:  often your materials kit is the first way your students meet you, their first impression of you as an instructor.  Remember, you only get first impressions once!  Even though YOU are not there, your kit is your representative, your embassador.

      How do you want students to feel when they open your kit?  Write this down!  Use it as your North Star when designing your kit.

      To contrast the image crafted above, here are descriptions of kits for online classes I’ve received:

      • The instructor forgot to send me a kit, then last-minute dropped off a haphazardly packed ziplock bag with a hodge podge of materials and no instructions (they lived in my area, so a drive-by dropoff was an option).
      • The materials arrive in an obviously pre-used ziplock bag…eh?
      • The instructor sent a list of what materials you should order yourself, with not enough time to order them!
      • The materials arrived loose in a box, rattling around.  The box was somewhat crushed.  How did I even know if everything arrived???
      • Materials were included that weren’t in the instructions or the instructions included materials the instructor once used but had decommissioned without changing the handout = confused students.

      Yeah…you get the idea.

      When my kits arrive, I want my students to feel like I’ve sent them a present, packed with care.  I want them to know that they’ve received everything (include a list of what the kit includes).  I want them to feel welcomed (include a personal note on your own stationery).  I want them to know if they need to gather anything else (list other requested materials…again).

      I also want them to not lose any of the pieces!  I’ve, sadly, had waaaaaay too many times when a student misplaced something (or the cat stole it) and I get blamed for them not having received the item.  Over the years, I’ve gotten smarter about how to package things, so there is less of a chance of something getting lost after arrival.  You can’t make it fool-proof, but you can make it better!

      Packaging your kit can be vital, especially if you need to deliver or ship your kits en-masse to the host organization.  Make the receiving person’s life as easy as possible (e.g. I take this package and put it in a box).  Please don’t ask them to assemble a bunch of things for you.  Clear gusseted bags or draw-string organza bags work great!  You can even get creative with fold-tab bakery bags or even pre-box your items.  In essence, package the thing!  If you can, do it in a way that feels pretty or special, and this will lift your student’s mood.  I have students who love using their organza bags to keep their materials organized, well after a class!

      How might you create kits that share a bit of you and the specialness of your class?  How might you use kits to help with your branding and student retention?  I’m excited to hear your thoughts and your questions.

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