Monday, 24 December 2007

One Page Guides - Quality over Quantity

Tim Davies has produced some great examples of how small, targeted and (crucially) well designed resources can be highly effective in learning. Tim's One Page Guides on subjects such as wikis, blogs and sharing stories give novices the confidence to take some action of their own. As Brent Schenkler comments:

"I'm certain it did not take ANY ISD knowledge to create these. But I'm certain MANY people will be learning from these...go figure."

I've long advocated a wider sphere of design influence for those involved in training and learning design. Doggedly sticking to one structured methodology is not going to work any more, if it ever did.

Mobile Learning goes large in 2008

Here's another sign that the barriers to anytime, anywhere learning are falling indicated in this report in the Financial Times:

"After years of false dawns for operators, the use of mobile phones for web surfing is on the verge of becoming widespread in Europe and the US, and iPhone research by O2 shows the device is acting as an important catalyst for such activity."

"Matthew Key, who becomes chief executive of O2 Europe next month, told the Financial Times that 60 per cent of the company’s iPhone customers in the UK were sending or receiving more than 25 megabytes of data a month, the equivalent of 7,500 e-mails without attachments or 25 YouTube videos. By comparison, less than 2 per cent of O2’s other UK customers on monthly payment contracts use more than 25MB a month.

Here’s absolute proof that if you get the proposition right, customers will use data,” said Mr Key, who reached a deal with Apple for O2 to be the exclusive UK network operator for the iPhone."

I couldn't agree more Mr Key. As other mobile device manufacturers play catch up with Apple, we'll see much more easy (and cost effective) access to mobile data. Having bought an iPod Touch it's proven to me further that the directness of the touch interface and removal of delay allows you to engage with the content in hand (literally in this case) and becomes a more powerful experience for it.

This is exciting for e-learning designers like myself as this has got to translate into more real opportunities to design learning experiences around my "Less Learning More Often" principle. More on that in another post.

Seasonal Best Wishes to all!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Google Trends

It's that time of year again, a time to reflect on trends past and future. Sparked by Tom King's comparison of authoring tools I thought I'd take a fresh look at what Google Trends can tell us about e-learning and the wider training industry.

There is a seemingly endless debate over how to spell the name of what we do. Are we "e-learning" or "elearning" or "eLearning"? Google Trends suggests that the hyphen is gradually losing ground over the past four years. So just as "e-mail" has become "email", this is perhaps a sign of our industry's growing acceptance.

Having said that, when you compare "training" to any spelling of elearning, our industry still hardly registers on the chart in terms of volume. Curiously, there is an annual peak in interest in training at the start of each year which then steadily declines through to Christmas. There is also a clear overall decline which is countered by a steady rise in news citings, maybe due to talent management and skills issues became more mainstream political issues. In terms of market activity and interest in e-learning in general, there are clear signs that more and more training is becoming blended or delivered fully online. In the US, the ASTD found in its latest State of the Industry report that 30.28% of learning hours were technology-based delivery in 2006. This can only have grown this year.

In the past 12 months, we've seen the emergence of genuine interest in Performance Support, Mobile Learning and Serious Games while for all the chatter in the industry this year, Informal Learning doesn't even register in its own right – yet. Perhaps this is because the shifting focus on supporting learning anywhere, anytime and using engaging, game/simulation design models is more naturally aligned with informal methods.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Getting started

I've been a contributor to others blogs and feel I might be ready to add a voice with some useful thoughts. So I'll be using the new year burst of enthusiasm to hopefully get me off the ground.

Watch this space.