Friday, July 28, 2006

Ad - Comm - HR - Learning - Training = NOT innovation creators

I've noticed a theme in my blog reading lately: Where does the innovation come from?  I can't remember the blog to link to it, but it was an ad/marketing/business blog that talked about why none of the technology innovation in adverstising comes from madison avenue.  They said something to the effect of..."these are the creative people, shouldn't we see more innovative stuff from them."  I'd have to say, no, and for the same reasons that learning/training don't create new technology innovations:  Its just not our job!  And I mean that in the sense that learning isn't about technology any more that advertising is about technology.  We just both use the existing technology to achieve our goals in certain instances.

Harold asks Where are open source learning applications? I say they are all over the place:  Google, Blogger, wikipedia, squidoo, Nuvvo, and all the others.  In my years as a training professional i can't think of one technology that was specifically created/invented for the purpose of learning that was any good.  Sure, someone had the bright idea to label an over-glorified database with the term Learning Management System.  But, come on, really, is any LMS a technology breakthrough?  Browsers we not created for learning, but there are awesome!  Flash was not created for learning but we use that as well. 

My point is that we don't need any specific open source learning applications.  That would be just another thing that people need to learn...another interface to learn...another login id and password to remember.  We are at our best when we evaluate the existing technologies and leverage them for the purpose of learning.  We are at our worst when we try to create our own little system and call it the Learning thingy.

As Mark Oehlert also gets at is that if systems were designed better then training wouldn't be necessary.  I've often pleaded...with software developers to put me out of a job.  Or at least let me focus on more important things than "training to the bugs".

Did anyone here need any training to work their iPod?


Anonymous said...

"That would be just another thing that people need to learn...another interface to learn...another login id and password to remember."

However, if one uses Yahoo, Google, Blogger, etc. then students need to learn all those interfaces and remember all those passwords. If one course uses google groups and blogger, another course uses yahoo groups and livejournal, another myspace and yahoo groups, etc. it might get pretty confusing for the students...

"Did anyone here need any training to work their iPod?"

However, many folks need training to make a podcast, and I will bet that if folks start to do online quizzes, uploaded assignments, and dicussion forums with their iPod, many of them will need training:-)>.

The idea of presenting all learning content within a unified interface, accessed with a single password, is one many students here request (and we just run two different LMSs, with one set of usernames and passwords:-).

Michael Penney

bschlenker said...

thanks Michael! You are right. But my point is that most people already have all of those other services which can be used for learning. So, it's not necessary for us (the learning technologists) to give them another one. The opensource community is also working on initiatives like OpenID and companies like SXIP are also trying to solve the multiple identity problem. Its not just students requesting it, the entire web user community wants it and would benefit from it.

However, my point goes much deeper than simply signon issues. I'm talking about tons and tons of content that is out there and as a learning community we continue to re-invent the wheel, dupblicating efforts, just to fill our own little "learning systems" with content. This is an issue at the macro level with the internet and education, but also at the micro level within each corporate intranet.
As for training on new technology, there will always be a need. But the products do continue to get easier and easier to use.
We will need to train the older generations within corporations how to work with systems that are second nature to younger generations as well.

Anonymous said...

There are thre epoints here.

Yes, much learning would be better supported through generic applications rather than learning specific applications. We need to weave learning into our work and life.

But, patents including the Blackboard patent pose a real threat to open source solutions such as Moodle. This is somehting we all need to think through. Patnets can lead to higher inoovation and a liquid market could lead to a flowering in research and rewards to innovators. At this point it looks more likely that patents will not be liquid and that they will channel control of innovations into large proprietary corporations.

And LMS are well established as administrative applications and they are not likely to go away any time soon. The same is true of courses. I personally do not learn well through courses (or conventional universities) but courses are deeply embedded in our culture and we are going to be more successuful if we try to supplement and provide alternatives and not to replace.