Brenna Zenaty: Mastering Learning Development in SaaS

September 6, 2023
Content Marketing | Direct | Marketing Strategy

Episode Summary

In this episode of Direct with Corrina and Taylor, Brenna Zenaty, a Senior Solutions Partner Professor at HubSpot Academy and a horror movies aficionado (Midnight Mass is her latest favorite), shares her insights on learning development for teams. 

Brenna, who doesn’t have a formal background in learning and development, has made a significant impact in the field through her work at HubSpot and Terminus. She emphasizes the importance of producing effective content, even if it’s not perfect, and the value of speed in getting content out there.

Brenna answers Corrina and Taylor’s questions regarding the importance of a human-centered approach in creating high-quality educational experiences. Brenna also shares her experiences working with enthusiastic partner networks at HubSpot and Terminus, which she says have made her job easier.

Towards the end of the episode, Brenna shares her thoughts on how tech companies can improve their learning and development offerings. She stresses the need for platforms to make it easier for L&D professionals to understand the impact of their education. 

Brenna believes understanding this impact is the biggest barrier to getting program buy-in. She also shares her experiences integrating learning management systems with business metrics, emphasizing the challenges she faced in connecting education to product usage and customer retention.

Featured Guest

Name: Brenna Zenaty
What she does: Senior Solutions Partner Professor
Company: HubSpot Academy
Noteworthy: Brenna, without a formal background in learning and development, has significantly impacted the field through her work at HubSpot and Terminus. She emphasizes the importance of producing and distributing effective content.

Key Insights

Launching a Certification Course: Challenges and Learnings

Brenna shares her experience launching the Account Based Strategy Certification course at Terminus Academy. The most challenging part was the sheer volume of content creation required. Brenna and her team were responsible for writing scripts, designing instructional elements, coordinating with subject matter experts, and managing the learning management system. A significant learning curve was understanding how to work with the developer team to enable single sign-on and extract data from the learning management system to create business-relevant reports.

Prioritizing Learner Experience and Leveraging Data

Brenna emphasizes prioritizing the learner experience when creating content. She uses data to understand what’s working and what’s not and to produce better content for learners. She also stresses that you don’t have to be an expert on what you’re educating on. Instead, seek out subject matter experts to help build the best possible experience for learners.

Improving Learning and Development Offerings in Tech Companies

Brenna shares her advice for tech companies looking to improve their learning and development offerings. She believes these platforms need to make it easier for L&D professionals to understand the impact of their education, which is the biggest barrier to getting buy-in for programs. She also discusses the challenges of integrating learning management systems with business metrics, such as product usage and customer retention.

Episode Highlights

Introduction and Background of Brenna Zenaty

In the opening segment of the podcast, hosts Corrina and Taylor introduce their guest, Brenna Zenaty. Brenna is a Senior Solutions Partner Professor at HubSpot Academy, where she designs educational experiences for partner organizations. Despite not having a formal background in learning and development, Brenna has made significant strides in the field. The hosts also share some fun facts about Brenna, including her love for interior design, being outdoors, and her fascination with horror movies.

“I just started rewatching Midnight Mass on Netflix, a Mike Flanagan series. He also did like Haunting of Hill House by Manor and a lot of Netflix flick specials, and that’s right up my alley.Highly recommend for anyone that’s into Gothic folk horror.”

Launching the Account Based Strategy Certification Course

Brenna discusses her challenges while launching the Account-Based Strategy Certification course at Terminus Academy. She highlights the volume of content creation required and the steep learning curve in architecting the course in a learning management system. She also talks about the importance of data extraction and creating business-relevant reports.

“The sheer volume of content creation required to launch a certification. Shay and I were writing the scripts. […] A big learning curve for me was architecting all of this in a learning management system.” 

Prioritizing the Learner Experience

Brenna emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the learner experience when creating content. She uses data to understand what’s working and what’s not and to produce better content for learners. She also stresses that you don’t have to be an expert on what you’re educating on. Instead, seek out subject matter experts to help build the best possible experience for learners.

“You really should seek out those that are subject matter experts in whatever it is you’re trying to teach and leverage them to help you build the best possible experience for your learners.”

Improving User Experience in Learning Tech Platforms

Brenna shares her thoughts on improving tech companies’ learning and development offerings. She believes these platforms need to make it easier for L&D professionals to understand the impact of their education, which is the biggest barrier to getting buy-in for programs. She also discusses the challenges of integrating learning management systems with business metrics, such as product usage and customer retention.

“A lot of learning tech platforms don’t have that down. Like it’s, again, helpful for me as a creator to understand things like completion rates and video dropoff rates, but the CEO doesn’t care about that. They wanna know how this is impacting revenue and retention.”

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