Monday, December 08, 2008

2008 - MMVIII eLearning Year in Review

MMVIII (2008) started off visual and mobile to be sure.  Its also the International Year of Planet Earth, Year of the Frog, Year of the Potato, and the Year of Sanitation.  This conjures up all sorts of visualizations, but I digress...
Check out my January Blog archive.

1) My family and I took an amazing vacation to Jamaica compliments of Ellen DeGeneres
2) VizualThinking took off with VizThink08. Any time that you get to hang out with the likes of Scott McCloud, Nancy Duarte, Dan Roam, Lee LeFever, Dave Gray, Karl Gude and so many other great vizualizers, you soak it all in and know that it probably won't ever happen again.
3) We started talking about QR codes but no apps for the iPhone at that point.
4) The bug labs gadget was getting some buzz too.  Opensource lego-style mobile gadgetry goodness.

Okay, hold the phone...

This is going to take forever if go through each month.  So here's some notes, highlights, thoughts.

Authorware officially dies (actually this post is from 2007) while Director11 is (re)born.

TWITTER
For the alpha geek community Twitter was the big story for 2007.  Since the eLearning community tends to lag a little behind I would have to say that twitter hit the eLearning community strongest in 2008.  I think EVERYONE started off creating an account and then thinking to themselves..."this is stupid...WTF?"  Now I think its safe to say we've all found our little community starting to grow via 140chars or less.  Yes, twitter, the darling of the micro-blogging goldrush is absolutely the big story of 2008. 

The million dollar question is how do we use it for eLearning.  Well, if your idea of eLearning is a click-next style multi-hour linear self-paced "course", then I can't help you.  But if you have accepted the new eLearning models of the 21st century then you probably already have a few ideas of your own.  All of the technology that has me excited about elearning is about Learning...period.  Its not about a course, or a module, or some predetermined event online or off.  I'll save that rant for another post. 

Twitter wins the 2008 "Big Story" award in my world.  Follow me!

links
Should be TWITTER face-to-face?
@KathySierra Learns Spanish via TWITTER
100+ eLearning Professionals to follow on TWITTER
How to Prepare for DevLearn08
TWITTER - Backchannel conversations
TWEARNING? 47 Awesome Twitter Tools

Visualization and eLearning
Visualization REALLY hit home for me this year.  I've always been a very visual person and I hate the text-heavy elearning that I've not only witnessed and experienced, but created.  My apologies to all who have suffered through these courses.  Not only is imagery becoming more accepted and popular, but we also have data to support the fact that the brain just works better with visuals.  At DevLearn08 I was honored to have Tim O'Reilly, Dan Roam, and John Medina as our keynotes.  It was a perfect trifecta for the year-end conference.  Tim handled Technology brilliantly. Dan wow-ed us with the simplisity of imagery for effective learning.  And Dr. Medina educated us on how the brain works and why our current instructional systems are designed in direct conflict with how our brain functions.

For so many years we've placed higher value on reading and writing than on creating images.  Why?  Shouldn't we be more interested in "effective communication" no matter what form it takes?  I'm sitting here writing this stupid blog post wishing I would have just drawn some pictures, scanned them, and posted those instead.  Oh well, maybe next year.

QR Codes

Okay, so this technology may be killer in Japan but its just not happenin' here in the states.  I started the year very frustrated that nobody had created an iPhone QR code decoder, but even when they started rolling in they were less than effective.  Apparently the scape goat is going to be the iPhone's low quality camera, but I'd say that the apps need a little work as well.  The other piece is implementation.  There MUST be a compelling reason to scan one of these codes or else people won't take the time.  Discount coupons are a great idea.  And using them in a real-world game (ARG - alternate reality game) would work as well.

They may take off if the technology improves, but its also starting to look like the location-based apps that utilize GPS might be better at triggering digital actions based on real world locations.

Links
Google Adwords Print Ads - QR Codes
QR Codes being tested in SF, CA
QR Codes - iPhone apps
Bar codes + Cell phones = Next big thing 2008

Mobile
This is an interesting area to be looking at these days.  While other mobile apps and tech are taking off, The eLearning Guild research showed that mLearning development was dropping!  Huh?  My guess is that its just not standardized enough yet for Learning designers and developers to create a mobile learning app that will play effectively on ALL possible mobile units within any given corporate environment.  The one possible exception is with sales force training.  You don't really have a choice but to make your eLearning available to ultimate road warriors. 

The iPhone started the app store, and we also now have the Google phone (G1).  Yes. I did stand in line, again, for the iPhone3G.  My wife got the handmedown iPhone...at her request ;-)  I'm curious about the G1 and held one for the first time at DevLearn08.  But honestly, this year, I've honed my Mac-abilities more and more.  Between the iPhone, the MacBookPro, and an iMac, I'm just livin' in geek heaven.  The only trouble being that it is a pain to review PC-only apps (like Articulate, or Flypaper)

Links
JotYou - Location-based SMS mobile eLearning
TONCHIDOT - Tagging the world

Generational Conversations
There has been lots of talk about generational learning styles and gaps.  Not sure if we've made much progress as a community except to know that its an important conversation to be having.  Personally, 2008 made me realize that it is VERY dangerous to generalize a generation of people.  Most people that I know online are late 30's and 40+ which is NOT matching the statistics I've seen.  I also know MANY kids 10-20 that don't have a clue about what's out on the Internet could be helpful to them.  Sure they all have cell phones, can txt, and have a Facebook account, but that's about it.  It never crosses their mind to feel the need to start a NING community or feel driven to start a blog.

If anything, 2008 has shattered the many myths of the Gen X, Y, and Millenial stereotypes.  There is a lot we still need to learn.  And with every business problem we need to do a new analysis of the specific audience.

Links
Great Introduction to Gen Y
Next Generation Workforce - video

Podcasts
I don't think podcasting is dead.  Actually I think its on the upswing.  The iPhone is getting much better at launching video from other apps including the browser and audio/video content continues to get cheaper and faster to create.  And with the 2.2 upgrade you can now get the latest podcasts downloaded over wifi.  This is VERY cool!  Just another little technology enhancement that will make delivering audio/video media content better faster and cheaper.  RSS without a doubt is the New Learning Pipeline.

Links
HBR Ideacast
Hardcore History
Huge list of FREE educational Podcasts

Overall its been a GREAT year for me and eLearning and The eLearning Guild.  AG|08 was great, as usual.  And Programming DevLearn08 was an amazing experience as well.  I also have a new respect for understanding hotel exit procedures during fire alarms at a general session.

And of course, the year ends nicely being named a Future Learning Leader in ASTD's Learning in 2020.  Thanks, ASTD and everyone who contributed.  I am quite honored to be among so many great names in Learning. 

Stay tuned for the mandatory..."What Next Year will Bring" post.



The eLearning Guild Annual Gathering 2009 | March 10-13 | Orlando, FL
Preparing You for the Next Evolution of Learning
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