Thursday, February 08, 2007

Course Development+Social Network+Commerce

I'm knocking around this idea in my head and just wanted to see what people thought.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a clearing house of eLearning Development Projects? I mean, let's say I'm at a high tech company and someone says, "we need all of our engineers to know the basics of thermal dynamics". So you're the developer that gets this rock dropped in your lap.

If it was me I'd want to go to something like and search for 2 things: 1) colleagues that have done this before, and 2) existing courses, or resources used for similar projects. Maybe what find isn't a complete course but an awesome structure for a similar course with all the content stripped're in business.

My point is...we've all developed courses and had that aching feeling that we are reinventing the wheel. Shouldn't we ALL be able to come together and work as a community of practice to share the work we've done? Just think how much more valuable we could be to our employers if we had a pool of content and contacts to pull from for many of our more generic content asignments (granted, this will not work for proprietary learning materials).

Can you think of any generic courses you've worked on lately?

And yes, there are issues of copyright, and ownership, and all that. I know. I'm just sayin', If someone built that Web2.0 tool, I'd be ALL OVER IT! (wink, wink)

Maybe that already exists in Wikipedia, or Squidoo, but I don't think so. My guess is that if we pulled together every LMS library of every Fortune500 you would find tons of content created that is NOT proprietary and NOT unique to any one corporation.

I'm just sayin'!


Rich Hoeg said...

What you are talking about is a social network and tagging. The difficulty is one needs to be able to filter your network for folks you respect (or don't). I actually contacted the CEO's of LinkedIn and ConnectBeam about 3 weeks ago about this very kind of knowledge management issue. Can you imagine if you were able to have a "private which you might filter by your LinkedIn network ... one level away, two levels away, etc. For more information link to my blog post on ConnectBeam and tagging titled: "Imagine ... Wouldn't It Be Neat, Innovation". Click upon my name for access.

Keith said...

Brent, you hit the nail on the head. There is a huge aspect of true knowledge management in the concept that you are proposing. Also, another reason why your idea is so powerful is because it breaks down a lot of the artificial walls that Corporate America builds to "protect" it's proprietary information. The problem with that rationale is that probably only 20%-25% of the training in any given company is proprietary, leaving a huge mass of training that could be beneficial to others seeking it. Willingness to openly collaborate is the hurdle here and if companies are willing to do that they would find much of their learning development burden relieved.

Matthew Nehrling said...

This is a great idea Brent and there already may be a platform:

What I like about Curriki is that in addition to text and images like most wikis, you can also update pretty much any file type, so, for example, if I want to build a Flash course on Wireless technology, I could upload the course to Curriki.

I know, as a developer, I would love to see this because often times finding a SME for a technology or skill is difficult.


Tom Haskins said...

Brent: Very cool thoughts. As far as hard sciences and engineering disciplines, there is a a generic elearning clearing house already. It's sponsored by Rice University and championed by Richard Baraniuk ( ). It's called the Connexions Project. It's at Tons of free technical content is being uploaded for public access. Unlike the MIT liberation of texts, papers, handouts -- Connexions appears to be accumulating elearning modules. (probably of the highly addictive click2death variety) Baraniuk has a TED talk where he sells the idea that you're totally on top of already. I looked through the catalog of modules several months ago and noticed there was nothing of a soft skill, informal, conversational or emergent kind of learning.

Brent Schlenker said...

Wow! I didn't think this would find an interested audience. Sounds like we need to take this a step further and see what we can make happen. I'll find some time to check out all the links that came in over the past week. Then I'll post some additional thoughts.
Thanks everyone for commenting and emailing.