Eric Pudalov

Grovo: Welcome to Internet School

By: Eric Pudalov | September 26, 2013 | 
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Grovo.com

By Eric Pudalov

Admittedly, I’m a total nerd.

As some guys are hooked on football, I follow the latest social network or mobile device.

Yet, working in the field of disability support, I know that for some, everyday tasks can be a challenge. This carries over into learning software and the Internet.

Even for those without so-called “disabilities,” learning new programs and social networks can be a challenge.

Given the fast pace at which technology changes, it would make sense if there were somewhere you could go to learn it all!

Enter Grovo

Grovo.com describes themselves as “The quickest and simplest training company ever.”

They currently offer “3500+ video lessons covering 100+ Internet tools and cloud services – and 15 lessons added daily,” including Facebook, Instagram, and Dropbox. I recently spoke with the Grovo CEO and cofounder, Jeff Fernandez, and asked him what he thought the company had to offer.

Our videos are only about 60 seconds each. The intention there is to make sure  you actually will watch them…then when you watch the video and complete it, you go ahead and get a multiple choice quiz…we want to make sure that you’ve learned what you just watched.

How well do they work?

In the Gmail tutorial, for example, the first lesson is entitled “Google Chat for Beginners.” It shows a clear overview of the Gmail window, and then focuses in on the chat list. It goes on to explain how to view someone’s status or send them a message, and what the different availability icons mean. The tutorial is complete with easy-to-follow visuals and an engaging narrator.

At its conclusion is a two question quiz covering the basics. As you advance, the number of questions (and difficulty) increases. If you pass, Grovo congratulates you with a large “WELL DONE” window.

Is it Perfect?

Is any site? One of the greatest strengths of Grovo is its visual and auditory nature. Obviously, the web itself is about indulging the senses: Photos, videos, animation, and music. The tutorials take advantage of all four, carefully illustrating each point.

Some have critiqued the fact that Grovo is geared toward beginners (at least at first glance). Fernandez says:

If you dig into our library, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that there are much more advanced tutorials. We break them up into Level one, two, and three.  I find value in the product myself, in the content; I learn new stuff every day.

Among the videos, I was familiar with things such as Flickr and Pinterest, but relatively new to Yammer and Office 365. Fernandez continues:

It depends which products you use and what you care about, but I’d be shocked if you couldn’t learn a bunch of things from Grovo. We also are planning to create a lot more…I’d call it ‘expert content.’ That’s also en route…content that we think is really, really advanced.

Even among the “expert content,” Fernandez hopes that, by the way the tutorials break it down, the material won’t feel so complex.

…because most of our videos are about 60 seconds, even though we’re covering much more advanced functionality or ideas, it can feel simpler.

More Than a Machine

Like any site, Grovo may have issues from time-to-time. While this may occur,

…we’re very responsive. I’d like to think  we get back to you very quickly; we try to track that over here, which I know for a fact that [we’ve handled effectively]. And typically what we try to do is just understand where the challenge was, address it as quickly as we possibly can, usually in 24 hours, sometimes 48…and make sure that we get a resolution quickly.

Whenever I’ve had an issue or question, one of the Grovo team members responded very promptly via email. Clearly, this is one of their major assets.

In-Touch

On Aug. 8, 2013, Grovo released an iOS app, compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The functionality is much the same as the site itself; essentially, it enables you to do the tutorials on-the-go.

As for Grovo and the future? Fernandez says:

…we have a harvesting technology that helps us identify which products change, what they do change, and what are the most popular questions people have about them. The other is taking direct requests from our users…from our customers.

If you haven’t yet tried Grovo, and it sounds like something that might benefit you, I suggest checking it out! (And no, I wasn’t paid to say that.)

About Eric Pudalov


Eric Pudalov is a freelance writer, blogger, and nonprofit administrator. He works for GCSS, a nonprofit in Atlanta, serving people with disabilities.

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